NBA players need to deal with criticisms from fans and analysts. The good news for Charlotte Hornets guard Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, someone is there to back him up. On Friday, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford expressed support for one of his starters.

The Associated Press mentioned that because of his offensive struggles and an unorthodox jumper, Kidd-Gilchrist is under scrutiny. Despite this, Clifford remains confident in him. He stated that the 23-year-old "makes up for it" with his defense. Looking at the numbers of Kidd-Gilchrist from last season, it appears that the defensive aspect of his game is his strong suit.

In 81 games (all starts), he averaged 9.2 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.0 block, and 1.0 steal per contest. His scoring is the third-lowest in his NBA career, though the stats on defense are impressive for a backcourt player.

Clifford believes that Kidd-Gilchrist will have a "great year." He also assured that the former Kentucky Wildcat will still start for the Hornets. Joining Kidd-Gilchrist in the starting lineup are Kemba Walker, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams, and Dwight Howard.

Injury woes

Perhaps another issue for Kidd-Gilchrist are the injuries he dealt with in the past. Every time it looked like he was going to have a breakout year, a health setback troubled him. In the 2014-15 season, he was limited to 55 games due to a right foot injury.

The season following that, he hurt his right shoulder and saw action in just seven games. Charlotte's previous campaign was the first time he played in 80 games or more.

Michael Carter-Williams still out

If Clifford was so sure with Kidd-Gilchrist, it is different for Michael Carter-Williams. Clifford is uncertain when Carter-Williams can return to the floor after undergoing a medical procedure to address knee pains.

The Hornets signed the former Rookie of the Year back in July and is one of their most prominent additions. The 25-year-old is coming off a quick stint with the Chicago Bulls.

Carter-Williams is expected to be the backup of Kemba Walker in Charlotte. Julyan Stone will likely step up if he needs to miss some games in the 2017-18 season.

Another option for the Hornets is rookie Malik Monk, who they selected with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. The only problem is that Monk was a shooting guard in his days with the Wildcats, which means he should adjust if Clifford uses him at No. 1.