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Bobcats’ Chris Douglas-Roberts filling needs filling in for mending Gerald Henderson

By Rick Bonnell
rbonnell@charlotteobserver.com

MEMPHIS, Tenn. Chris Douglas-Roberts has been just what you’d want in terms of professionalism. That figures to make this second shot at the NBA a fruitful one.

The Charlotte Bobcats signed Douglas-Roberts in December after Jeff Taylor was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. They did so in part because Douglas-Roberts was in the Los Angeles Lakers’ training camp the 2012-13 season. Now-Bobcats coach Steve Clifford was a Lakers assistant then.

“He just has a feel for how to play. I knew we could throw him in the games right away and he’d play fine,” Clifford recalled.

“He played a lot of NBA games when he was younger with the Nets. He’s confident, he’s a good competitor and when you watch him on the floor, everything he does makes sense.”

That’s how it’s worked out of late, with Douglas-Roberts filling in as a starter at shooting guard while Gerald Henderson mends from a calf strain. Douglas-Roberts has gone four straight games scoring at least 12 points. In that span he shot 10-for-17 from 3-point range, and the Bobcats need distance shooters.

But Douglas-Roberts’ recent success is as much about experience and precision as any particular skill. He played only six NBA games last season (for Dallas), but he was a regular the previous three seasons for the Nets and Milwaukee Bucks.

Clifford applauds what a professional he’s been here, both when he plays a lot or little at all. His mind doesn’t wander the way a younger player’s might.

“Our team in particular needs to play a very clean game to play well,” Clifford said.

“We can’t be high-turnover and that’s not just decision-making. It’s about guys quickly getting to their spots in case you don’t score out of the first option. He’s good at all of that stuff. And defensively he knows all the coverages and gives a good effort all of the time.

“When people give you that, you have a chance to be organized all the time.”

Douglas-Roberts, a college star at Memphis, had to work his way back to the NBA, playing in the development league among other platforms. It’s obvious he cherishes this chance to re-prove himself.

“I have a job to do that I take very seriously. My job is to perform,” Douglas-Roberts said.

“You never want to be a liability out there. They don’t pay for liabilities, they pay for assets. So you always want to be an asset when you step out there. That’s what I keep in my mind: Don’t make mistakes, know the game plan like the back of your hand. And be steady.”

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