Their defense should improve. Charlotte slipped to 14th in points allowed per possession, unthinkable for a Steve Clifford team, and conceded more 3s than anyone. Expect a more conservative scheme, where help defenders don’t creep so far into the paint.
They were a playoff lock before Batum’s injury, and should still ease in if he returns on time. They dutifully execute Clifford’s schemes. They just don’t have the dynamism or upside of the teams above them.
“And all of it had come out of that Al Campanis book that Tommy Lasorda preached from. Not only how to play — how you had to take on 3-0, how you had to lay down a bunt — but also how to dress for BP and how to represent the team.
“My main job with Dave was to turn him into a major league outfielder. He didn’t need much help on offense, but he couldn’t throw very well, so we spent a lot of that summer long-tossing.
“Even then, he had great people skills. The other players gravitated toward him. There was one time, though, that I had to fine him. I caught him eating on the bench during a game. That was not the the Dodger Way. I felt bad about it, though. ‘Dave,’ I told him, ‘the other guys look up to you. You have to set an example.'”
It was in those early years in the Tigers’ farm system that Roberts acquired the nickname Doc. The reason had nothing to do with his mental acumen, though he did have that. It was just an offshoot of his initials: DR. And that led to Hit Doctor, which was shortened to Doc.