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Steve Clifford: Hornets Have Two All-Star Caliber Players

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Despite the team’s recent slump, Hornets’ head coach Steve Clifford believes that two of his players are playing at an All-Star level so far this season: Kemba Walker and Nicolas Batum.

Walker is putting up 24.3 points per game (a career-high), along with 5.2 assists on 47 percent shooting from the field. Clifford believes that Walker has improved greatly on last season – a year which the coach also feels the Bronx native should have been an All-Star.

“I thought he could have been an All-Star last year,” Clifford said pre-game at Amdison Square Garden on Friday. “I think if our record was better at the All-Star break, I would think he would have been the next guy that didn’t make it.

“He had a terrific year last year, and he’s playing even better this year. I think if you’re around him everyday, he plays well because of the right things. He deserves it. He’s in a great routine, he studies constantly, he knows what his game is, and he’s always trying to find ways to get better, so, he’s a guy to cheer for.

“I think we have two All-Star caliber players – Nic also.”

The biggest improvement in Walker’s game has been his three-point shooting. He’s shooting a career-best 41.6 percent from distance, ensuring that defenders are now conscious of going under on screens when defending him.

Charlotte surprised the NBA by shooting out to a 4-1 record to start the season, but have since fallen back over the past 10 games, dropping six of those encounters.

Their record lies at 8-7, good enough for 7th in the Eastern Conference.


Feature Image via: USA Today

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