CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Paul Silas’ first practice as the new interim coach of the Charlotte Bobcats Thursday had one noteworthy twist.
Instead of practicing with a 24-second shot clock, the Bobcats worked with a 14-second shot clock.
It’s all part of Silas’ plan to play up-tempo basketball — a stark contrast to the style of his predecessor, Larry Brown, who was fired on Wednesday.
“I want to bring some energy to this ball club,” Silas said after being introduced as the fourth head coach in franchise history. “I want us to get up and down and let it all hang out. If they don’t want to get up and down, they can come sit down by me.”
The Bobcats currently rank 29th in the NBA in scoring, averaging 91.7 points a game. Only Milwaukee is averaging fewer points. The Bobcats have averaged just 80.2 points during their current four-game losing streak and have not scored 100 since beating Denver 100-98 on Dec. 7.
“We’ve got shooters,” Silas said. “We’ve got defenders. We’ve got shot blockers. We’ve got all the ingredients that you need. The guys just have to get out and play and believe in themselves and believe that I believe in them. I’ve found that if you have a confident player, it’s unbelievable what he can do.”
Guard Stephen Jackson welcomed the commitment to playing up tempo.
“It’s rejuvenating,” Jackson said. “The styles are like night and day. Hopefully this will bring some life to us and give us some confidence and get us playing well again. Up-tempo, we’ve got a great group of young guys and this fits their style. Hopefully we can do a good job at it and enjoy it because it’s definitely fun.”
Jackson was quick to say that the players had to shoulder the responsibility for the team’s 9-19 record and current slide. The Bobcats have lost three games by margins of 30 points or more this month alone.
“We have to take just as much blame as anybody for not playing well and causing Coach Brown to leave,” Jackson said. “We have a job to do now. We know that it’s not going to happen just because we have a new coach. We still have to go out there and play.”
Silas, 67, said that he would not have come out of retirement for any other job. A former coach of the Charlotte Hornets, he has maintained a permanent residence in Charlotte.
“It’s like a dream come true for me,” Silas said. “It’s very special being in this city I love and came back to. I just think this is a golden opportunity for me. I really believe that we can do something special. And that’s the whole key, that the guys believe and I believe.”
Silas was still assembling a coaching staff as of Thursday afternoon, but had made one hire — former New York Knicks and Bulls forward Charles Oakley. Silas said he expected to name other assistants by Friday. The Bobcats don’t play again until Monday, at home against Detroit.