ASHEVILLE – Charlotte Bobcats coach Steve Clifford says he needs rookie Cody Zeller to play well in order for his team to improve.

At the same time Clifford wants the 7-footer to ease into his NBA career and not feel the weight of expectations of a player picked fourth overall in this past summer’s draft.

Finding common ground between those two extremes will likely be a season-long work in progress for the new coach and his new player.

After Zeller’s strong showing in the NBA’s Summer League and an impressive first week of training camp, Clifford is convinced he has a power forward that can help the Bobcats for a long time.

But Clifford says it will be a process, joking that, “He’s so young, he’s still learning the rules.”