Why Is Everyone Hating on the Bobcats?

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stop hatin'

From the national media to the local press and back, it seems that everyone’s expectations are pathetically low for the Charlotte Bobcats as they enter the ’09-’10 NBA season.

[see also: ESPN The Magazine Eastern Conference Predictions | The Sporting News Season Preview| TSN's Shoals on the Bobcats "Mess"]

Am I missing something here?  Was there a secret meeting held somewhere deciding that all b-ball pundits reverse jinx the deepest, most talented squad in the Bobcats’ brief history?

Allow me a few points as to why the Bobcats are going to “BEAST IT” this year:

1. The team goes 2 deep at every position.

Gone are the days of depending on Jeff McInnis, Bernard Robinson, Adam Morrison and Melvin Ely to fill minutes.  As John Hollinger likes to point out in his team assessment, the Bobcats have historically relied upon a disproportionate number of “sub-replacement level” players to contribute.  By having players like McInnis, Morrison, Cartier Martin, and “Fat” Sean May sucking it up on the court, the ‘Cats have put themselves either in deeper holes or lost leads when they could have been staying in games.  That changes this year.

Even with Raja Bell out indefinitely with a gimp wrist, the ‘Cats can still go two deep at SG with Gerald Henderson and 6’4″ Flip Murray.  Henderson had a nice rookie preseason and Flip garnered some Sixth Man Award attention last year while playing with the Hawks.  Hardly Kareem Rush-caliber options in my opinion. Things get even better when Raja comes back into the mix.

At the Point, the Bobcats are set.  Raymond Felton, while not the world’s greatest PG, is a starter in the NBA and by all accounts a great leader.  His backup, D.J. Augustin, is probably going to take over the starting gig by midseason and looks like he could turn out to be a sort of a “Damon Stoudamire: EVOLUTION” when all is said and done.

The team’s best players start at the forward spots. Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace is the best forward combo the team has ever trotted out and you’d have to go back to the Anthony Mason/Glenn Rice combo in the late ’90s to find a more versatile, skilled frontcourt in Charlotte NBA history.  Unlike last season, when the ‘Cats had to basically add 10 points to the opponents’ score whenever the two starters went out, this season the team has real quality on the bench with veterans Vlad Radmanovic and Stephen Graham and youngsters Derrick Brown and Alexis Ajinca.  Last season ‘Lex was one of those sub-replacement guys.  This season?  If he keeps up what he started in the preseason, he might be a real contributor off the pine.  The rookie Brown also showed consistency and poise during the exhibitions season.  Either way, expect the Bobcats to go a reliable four deep at the forward position.

With all of the talk of salary dumps and downgrades at the Center spot, the ‘Cats still find themselves 3 deep in the middle.  While Nazr Mohammed and Gana Diop aren’t players that you want starting for a playoff team, as 15 minute role players they are huge upgrades over the Primoz Brezecs, Jamaal Sampsons and Andre Brown’s of the world.  Nazr has looked good in the preseason and I find it hard to believe that Diop won’t eventually play his way into shape come December.  Meanwhile, Tyson Chandler is healthy and should make up for some of Okafor’s lost offensive production with his extroverted exuberance and energy.

2. Larry Brown has history.  Don’t screw with history.

Brown has coached 11 NBA team during his career.  NEVER has one of those teams failed to make the Playoffs two years in a row.  I don’t think that this can be stated enough.  There is magic here. Maybe if that coaching factoid was something like “in 3 coaching jobs in the NBA, coach Jeff Van Gundy has never…” but no, we’re talking about ELEVEN.  Whatever Brown is doing it’s not accidental.  He’ll find a way to make this happen.  Watch and Learn.

3. The Sun Shines on a Dog’s Posterior Every Once and a While

It’s been five years.  The team has made so many poor business and personnel decisions and had so many bad breaks over the past half decade that their luck is bound to change, right?
This season, that luck will probably be reflected most in their draft selections.  Between 2005 and 2007, the team had 5 first round draft picks (#5, #13, #3, #8, #22) that, as of October of 2009, has resulted in the following players: Boris Diaw, Raja Bell, Raymond Felton and Vlad Radmanovic.

Alright, I apologize.  I realize that after reading that last fact, you’re probably contemplating a cyanide tablet. But here’s the brightside: The last four draft picks look like keepers.  Augustin, Henderson and Brown look like at minimum second contract guys and Ajinca could either be a stud or a bust, we’re not quite sure.  This is an upgrade from last season, of course, when we were sure – that he sucked.

IN CONCLUSION:

I challenge the fans, the bloggers and the local media to expect more from this team going into next week’s Season Opener.  This is the best team that the organization has ever assembled with the best coach and the best talent.  Expect them to be good.  Very good.

-ASChin

15 thoughts on “Why Is Everyone Hating on the Bobcats?

  1. BobbinNweavin

    the division should be very tough especially with Washington healthy, but you're right everyone is hating and i just don't see them finishing worse than last season

  2. Jackson

    Great arguments for why we're better than previous years. And on paper we look like a great defensive team, and return many of the personnel to keep that up. But national media has generally acknowledged that I think. Our real problem will be scoring points, and we'll be pretty dependent on our personnel executing and playing well together to do that. And this is in a conference and division that has gotten a lot better recently.

    I definitely agree that we're better than last year, and think we will almost assuredly finish with a better record (barring serious injuries). But how much better is the question? It's gonna be pretty tough for it to be more than just a 3-4 game improvement. I think we need more than that to make the playoffs in the East this year. LB's got his work cut out for him.

  3. spectre

    Aw AsChin…I was starting to hope that you were on a streak with putting up posts without taking a shot at Felton but I guess I should have known better.

    LOVE the graphic!

    I'm also right with you in your optimism. There's so many things to like about our team (strong PG rotation, borderline All Star SF, a point/forward, an aggressive leader at C, strong defensive mindset overall, great coach) that it befuddles me too on why everyone likes to hate on us.

    Since we follow the team religiously and most of the talking heads do not if I were a betting man I wouldn'g be going against us.

    And how about those rooks today? Talk about solid pickups. If Hendo can keep up the play he's been putting out the last couple of games I'm going to start being a believer.

  4. Inline with ESPN and The Sporting News, Yahoo! Sports has posted their Ball Don’t Lie Bobcats Season Preview. They have just about the same perspective on the Cats. No scorers, weaker defense, and tougher opponents.

    This year will be a big challenge for Larry Brown.

    Btw, I think that graphic is a great new sticker for trucks in the Carolinas. Folks are tired of seeing the Calvin peeing on Jeff Gordon’s #24. Now the Bobcats can be the target of it all.

  5. Ross

    The reason for all the hate towards the Bobcats is simple, too much stock in unproven players. Flip Murray could be a solid player but for all we know he could be another Khalid Reeves or Bryant Reeves for that matter. Ratmond Felton is a liabilty at PG, I think Augustin is the future and the future is now. Let GW and the other veteranesque players help bring him along. Felton has had plenty of time to est. himself as the main leader and face of the franchise. Further more if Felton was on a more competitive team he wouldn’t be starting. This Bobcats franchise wants to rise out of the lower tier they need to carry themselves that way. Stop putting players in critical roles that A)they aren’t familiar with and B)haven’t proven they can handle the role once they get there. I was anti Gerald Wallace once upon a time and he has proven he is at least a valuable leader and defensive asset to the team. This season is crunch time for the Bobcats.

  6. etothet

    The Bobcats need Raymond Felton because of the intangibles he brings to the table. I like DJ and think he will be legit point guard. He is not ready to be the future just yet. Raymond has his weaknesses as most players but he is an asset to this team. DJ went 1 of 11 today 0-4 from 3 point range, but that does not make him a bad player, but it was a bad game. Ray has improved his shooting so far this preseason and shot 46% today. I think they can both coexist and they both have good things to offer. The Charlotte Bobcats will decide who will be their point guard of the future. If you think Ray would not start on contender, then no point guard on the bobcats roster would either.

  7. Ross

    E- I wouldn't go so far to say that the Bobcats are contenders. Therefore lets not treat Felton like their success depends on him becoming a more complete player. He has had ample time to become an All Star caliber PG. If LB wants to have a more up tempo offense shouldn't it be run by a guy who ran an up tempo style in college. I'm just saying if 5 guys meandering around the court taking bad shots and playing soft 4th quarter D hasn't gotten you anywhere, try going with a new dynamic. With 5 secs left in the game, down 1, who would rather have creating Anthony Goldwire or Pooh Richardson?

  8. reggie

    very well written post.

    THIS bobcats team is truly a lot better than the national media makes them out to be, but they dont want to turn the page from the hornets chapter just yet.
    the cats just flat out get no respect, they have no market, and for the love of god, they have his airness as an owner.

    most of the negative criticism comes from the fact that the east (especially our Southeastern division) has gotten WAYYYYY better, and they discredit our ability to hang with elite teams–but just check out our record against the two premiere “elite” teams: LA and Boston.
    if we get in at 8, and Boston is up at 1, i foresee a repetition of the Boston/Chicago series last year.

  9. Jared

    Deesdale is right, there's been plenty of self-loathing Bobcats fans on this blog and on pretty much every other blog I read. The same people who used to argue that Ajinca had practically no shot of being an NBA player are about ready to wet their panties after a few double-digit scoring games in the preseason. The same people crying over the nightly double double (not to mention bad screens, turnovers, and lack of even a shred of end game presence)we lost in Meka' are now starting to accept Chandler on the team. Let's face it, for all intents and purposes, the Chandler deal was a lateral move at worst. Maybe we just all want to be optimistic at the start of the season? I know I do.

    One thing that I'm still having a difficult time wrapping my head around is that the same people who say we should get rid of Felton because he's not a good enough starter are ignoring the fact that D.J. has shown that he's nowhere near ready to be a starting PG defensively or offensively. He's had some good scoring games this preseason (and some horibble shooting nights). He certainly proved last season that he's a better scorer than Felts, but D.J. still doesn't run the offense or play D well enough to start. Am I the only one who believes having Felton for one more season is the best thing that we could have hoped for? Letting him walk would have meant starting D.J. before he's ready. Giving him a long-term deal would have been imprudent for obvious reason. At least you seem to be coming around to that idea Adam.

  10. RobC

    Some thouths on the Bobcats, that I think a lot of people (Bobcats Haters) have not even noticed:

    1.) Lets begin by the fact that Larry Brown is the Coach of the team.

    2.) This is arguably the most talented team, the Bobcats have had. They have a pretty decent depth and some solid players (Felton, DJ, Diaw, Wallace & Tyson).

    3.) Interesting statistical comparison from the 08-09 Bobcats

    a- Larry Brown Rebuilding Mode (Half of the Season)

    b- Final Defensive Efficiency 7th in NBA

    c- Final Offensive Efficiency 27th in NBA

    d- Final Pace 88.3

    Now look at the 03-04 Detroit Pistons w/L.Brown (NBA Champs)

    a- Larry Brown Team pretty much since the beginning

    b- Final Defensive Efficiency 2nd in NBA

    c- Final Offensive Efficiency 18th in NBA

    d- Final Pace 87.9

    This team is expected to score more than last year, since players already know what to expect from the Coach and their roles. Also, an offensive upgrade is expected from Wallace, Diaw, DJ and with Flip Murray; and the defense should be better plus we'll have it from the beginning of the season.

    I'm not saying that this is the same team than the 03-04 Pistons, but there are way to many similarities between both teams. Not great in offense, AWESOME in defense, Larry Brown and solid (not yet star players) on the roster. I'm just hoping for a De'javu, not the NBA Finals but the Playoffs are more than a real option for the 09-10 Bobcats.

  11. RobC-

    That's some really good stuff. And I like your comments over at the Observer about Stevie Graham vs. the Bobcats' next six competing SGs.

    Obviously the team will need to stay healthy but there IS without a doubt room for a stellar defensive team in the Playoffs and given the fact that Washington and Toronto haven't proven themselves yet and the fact that Miami's 2nd best player thinks that it's still the 70s (and that NBA player are supposed to be blitzed all the time), I really can't foresee the team not winning around 40 games by season's end.

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