Evaluating the Bobcats roster will be a difficult task this offseason as General Manager Rod Higgins and Team President Michael Jordan will have to sort through the wreckage caused by rookie coach Sam Vincent’s mismanagement. How much of the poor performance do you blame on the players? How much do you chalk up to Vincent’s bumbling? Bobcats Baseline attempts to breakdown the current roster going in to the offseason.
PART TWO – THE NON-STARTERS
by Adam S. Chin
6. Matt Carroll
After signing a new six year deal with the Bobcats over the summer, Matt Carroll finally achieved the financial and residential stability he’d lacked since leaving Notre Dame in 2002. Sadly, the new found stability eluded him on the court and Carroll’s numbers dipped from his ’06-’07 campaign.
Carroll had a difficult start to the season and that was probably a symptom of sporadic minutes. If you just look at his mins/game averages, there isn’t much of a difference between this season and last but there was a BIG difference in how those minutes were distributed. Carroll logged less than 20 minutes a game in twenty-six contests which included a couple of “DNP – Coachs Decisions” in February. Then, after Gerald Wallace started getting injured in the last half of the season, Carroll was promoted to the starting lineup and commenced to have his best stretch of the year averaging around 11ppg in around 30 minutes per during March and April. They say shooters need their minutes and Carroll certainly proved it.
Matt Carroll is not the typical “white guy shooter” that he’s sometimes made out to be. Yes, he hits an insanely high percentage of his three-pointers (over 40%) and has a nice catch-and-shoot jumper coming off screens but he also is a heck of rebounder for a guy his size. The official stats claim that he brings down 3 boards a game but when you watch him it seems like he’d collecting a lot more than that. Carroll doesn’t shy away from the paint and hustles on D.
MOVING FORWARD: With Carroll making around $4.5 million per for the next five seasons and Adam Morrison owed about the same amount next year, the Bobcats have two guys on the payroll who do basically the same thing with the same weaknesses. Morrison is taller, offensively more dynamic but doesn’t seem to have the toughness that Carroll brings on a nightly basis. The two players’ status as defensive liabilities prohibits them from being on the floor at the same time. Who’ll stay and who’ll be shipped off? We’ll likely find out by the end of next season.
STATUS: Solid Contributer.
7. Jared Dudley
The scouts were dead right about Jared Dudley. Post-draft all we heard was that this guy is smart, energetic, a little soft athletically but with a solid all around game. They said he’d be the next Shane Battier and if Dudley can spend some time during the next couple of seasons tightening his body and working on his three, that’s exactly what he’ll be.
Jared Dudley finished in the top ten amongst rookies with a 13.63 PER. He rebounded and scored well in limited minutes but his real value to the team was in versatility and “hustle stats.” Dudley played both forward positions and was always around loose balls, broken plays, steals, put-backs, and made the extra passes that benefited his team.
MOVING FORWARD: Even though Dudley was solid during his rookie campaign, he was still a rookie and he got beat off the dribble regularly. Like another famous Jared, #4 would do well to shed some weight. His three point shooting was atrocious at 22%. He could also use a hair cut. The Janet Jackson-on-Good Times thing ain’t working for a 6’7″ 220 pound dude, Jared. Overall though, Dudley was a nice value pickup for the ‘Cats in the late first round and he’ll eventually challenge for a starting role in the League.
STATUS: Solid Contributer
8. Earl Boykins
Don’t Tell Me No 2.0 decided to play hardball and test the free agency market after turning down a multi-year offer with his former Milwaukee club in July. It turned out to be bad move for the 5’5″ PG and he ended up hanging out at home until the Bobcats called him up on January 31st. He played the next night against Golden State and looked absolutely terrible and the rust wouldn’t come off for another month. In February Boykins shot a disastorous 26% from the field and dished out a whopping 2.2 assists per game. Just when it looked like Earl was going make fans long for the return of Jeff McInnis, Boykins turned it around with a decent March and April.
As one of the fastest guys in the League, Earl Boykins was billed as a “game-changer” and its hard to deny that fact. As soon as he’s in the game you’ll see his patented hard push up the floor, followed by the U-Turn once he gets to the baseline. Even though he regularly beats his guy down the floor, Earl hesitates hoisting a lot of fast-break layups–understandable when your are giving up ten-twelve inches and about 70 pounds on a nightly basis. Unlike his Charlotte predeccessor, Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, Boykins isn’t really that interested in getting his teammates involved in the offense. His career high assist average is 4.8 per and in his time with the ‘Cats he only managed 2.7 dimes a contest.
MOVING FORWARD: I’m a little torn on Earl Boykins’s future with the Bobcats because on one hand the little man brings a nice change of pace to the game and can score in bunches when he’s hot. On the other hand, the team has to reprogram its entire defense when he’s on the floor (imagine for a second a Bobcats lineup of Boykins, Carroll, Morrison, Sean May, and Jemario Davidson) and even though he’s both small and fast, Boykins doesn’t notch many steals per game. Add to all this that he’s your primary backup point guard who doesn’t distribute the ball very well and it looks pretty obvious. Boykins is probably one and done.
9. Ryan Hollins
The Bobcats have invested two seasons in 2nd Round project Ryan Holins and have just a little bit to show for their efforts. Hollins played in 60 games for the ‘Cats this season (33 more than last year) and provided an energetic big body for a team that was in desperate need of size. In one of Sam Vincent’s “master strokes” early in the season, the rookie coach had delusions of making Hollins his starter at center. This lasted (like many of Vincent’s ideas) for exactly one game before Hollins returned to his regular spot deep in the rotation.
Ryan Hollins is billed as a great shot blocker and his per 40 minutes statistics suggest that. They also suggest that at 1.6 personal fouls for every 9 minutes, he’d likely be the first player in NBA history to foul out of all 82 games.
MOVING FORWARD: With two years invested in developing him, I can’t see the Bobcats not offering him another year or two as an emergency big man. His high energy in his limited minutes likely translates to high energy in practice and in the locker room. Hollins also physically bulked up from his rookie year and one would hope that the young man could add yet another 20 lbs or so during the summer. The extra bulk would certainly help him hold his own against some of the League’s bigger 4s and 5s.
STATUS: Dispensible (but young and cheap)
10. Jemareo Davidson
For the second time in as many years the Bobcats used their second round draft selection on a raw, athletic big man. Aside from proving himself to be a credible face-to-the-basket scorer and rebounder, Davidson also helped Charlotte tie for the League lead in guys named “Jemareo.” (Ed. Note: Toronto’s Jamario Moon has been disqualified for mis-spelling the name “Jemareo”)
Davidson showed potential as a scorer and took on some of the League’s best big men in some legitimate minutes during his rookie season. Davidson’s favorite move is a robotic turn-and-shoot move from the mid-post that worked magic until the rest of the League started scouting him. Like Ryan Hollins, Jemareo was given a couple of starts during the season and showed that he is capable of playing in the NBA.
MOVING FORWARD: With a little seasoning, I could see Davidson as a poor man’s Chris Bosh–able to shoot a consistent 20-footer and flip hooks and fade-aways from the post. Like all under-sized rookie bigs, Davidson will need to add some muscle during the next couple of offseasons and by then he’ll hopefully will have gained enough experience to be a legitimate rotation guy.
STATUS: Shows Potential.
11-12. Derek Anderson/Othella Harrington
These guys are grouped here together because:
a: both provided little more than veteran presence to the clubhouse this season and
b: both will be gone next season.
Anderson at least was able to get on to the floor. He helped out in a pinch and will surely be able to use his year of experience under Sam Vincent as a “What Not To Do As An NBA Head Coach” lesson when he gets his first coaching gig.
Harrington was useless. He never fully recovered from offseason knee surgery and didn’t do much when he actually suited up. Stranger still was Vincent repeatedly using the local media early in the season to spur on a guy who couldn’t play (both physically and literally).
MOVING FORWARD: Gone and Gone. A little salary cap relief to go towards Emeka’s new deal.
NOTE: Sean May and Adam Morrison will be discussed in a column to be named later.