CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hornets coach Steve Clifford emphatically threw his support behind Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on Friday, saying the often criticized small forward is a significant contributor and will continue to start.
The five-year NBA veteran has been widely criticized for his offensive deficiencies and his awkward looking jump shot, but Clifford insists the former No. 2 overall pick makes up for it with his defense and other intangibles. He expects Kidd-Gilchrist to develop into one of the top 10 defensive players in the league this year.
"I think he's going to have a great year," Clifford said.
Clifford knows Kidd-Gilchrist's jump shooting is not his strength in an NBA game where spacing --and good shooting -- is vital. Kidd-Gilchrist shot 47 percent from the field last season and only 11 percent from 3-point range.
But Clifford said spacing "is not as important as being competitive, it's not as important as character, and it's not as important as just natural talent. He is a talented athlete, he has a feel for the game and he's a tough guy who cares about the team" (see full story).
Bulls: Payne out 3-4 months after foot surgery
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls say guard Cameron Payne had surgery on his broken right foot and is expected to be out three to four months.
Payne had surgery to repair the fifth metatarsal on Wednesday. The team says he will remain in a splint the next seven to 10 days and then spend six to eight weeks in a boot.
Payne was injured in a workout on July 18. Six weeks of rest in a boot was prescribed, but the team said recently a subsequent scan showed the bone did not heal "satisfactorily."
Payne also broke his right foot during the 2015-16 season with Oklahoma City.
Payne was acquired in the February trade that sent Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott to the Thunder. He struggled for Chicago, averaging 4.9 points in 11 games.