2010-11 Bobcats Season Preview: The Class of ’09

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Bobcats Draft Basketball

Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown Could Be Very Good This Year.

To borrow words from the immortal Bill Walton: when it comes to the draft, the Bobcats have proven to be an absolute joke.  Year after year the team reaches deep into its stocking of goodies, invariably returning with lumps of coal in hand.  We’ve covered the subject over and over at the Baseline so I won’t get into it again here.  Instead, allow me (for perhaps the first time in our blog’s three year history) to write in praise of a Bobcats draft.

Last June, the ‘Cats made team history by selecting two collegiate players who were NOT:

a.) Marginally Obese

b.) Undersized

c.) former BMX Euro-Champs

d.) Clinically Depressed*

*Ok, so maybe Adam Morrison isn’t officially ill – but his #3 overall selection surely led to an uptake in Prozac use amongst fans.

Yes folks, in the summer of 2009 the Bobcats really did select two quality, highly athletic wing players who figure to play prominent roles in the upcoming season.

Gerald Henderson SG, Drafted 12th Overall

The Draft:

It’s tough to criticize the Bobcats for drafting Henderson at 12.  Sure, there were two ultra-quick PG prospects taken later (Ty Lawson at 18, Darren Collison at 21) but several other teams also passed and the Bobcats already had a diminutive point on the roster in D.J. Augustin.  “Psycho T” Hansbrough was taken by the Pacers immediately following Henderson but he looks to be at best a 10 year role player in the League.  Two high risk/high upside SFs were taken at 14/15 (Earl Clark and Austin Daye) but neither have shown to be anymore capable than the ‘Cats own Derrick Brown (more on Brown later).

The one player who’ll probably haunt Charlotte three years down the road is UCLA’s Jrue Holiday who was taken at #19 by the Sixers.  It’s hard to believe Larry Brown wouldn’t love to have a (barely) 20 year old lead guard on the roster who measures 6’4″ and could one day rival Rajon Rondo as the best defensive backcourt player in the game.

Year One:

Stephen Jackson’s November arrival all but insured Gerald Henderson 2.0 (or “The Sequel” as I call him) a seat deep on the bench last season.  JAX plays a metric ton of minutes and misses very few games and with the Playoffs within reach, Coach Brown elected to go with veterans Stephen Graham and Larry Hughes as backups down the stretch — though this is more the official story on Henderson not playing rather than the truth.  The real story goes something like this:

“Larry Brown believes rookies to be liabilities and Gerald Henderson did nothing to prove otherwise.”

Henderson played a total of 355 minutes in 43 games and averaged a meager 2.6 points on 35% shooting.

Scouting Report:

Most of those 355 minutes were played during garbage time and since I covered almost all of the road games last season (most of them losses) I witnessed at least 347 of them.

Gerald Henderson is crazy athletic.  He can block shots, jump the passing lanes for an occasional steal and drive to the paint with ease.  His (much documented) failing is his inability to hit a jump shot.  Watching Henderson last season reminded me of Crash Wallace’s first season in Charlotte — but much worse.  I’ve never witnessed a flatter, uglier jumper in the pro game.  You ever notice when professionals miss a jumper, the ball usually rattles out of the rim softly or bounces neatly off the square?  When The Sequel misses, it’s no different than when you or I brick a shot.  THUD.  Just ugly.  And his defenders play off, daring him to shoot.

As Henderson showed a decent ability to play in the post during July’s Summer League, I can only imagine how good he can be on offense (if?) once he figures out how to consistently hit a twenty footer.

On defense, Henderson is basically a clone of Tyrus Thomas/Young Gerald Wallace.  Brilliant help defender, suspect on the ball defender.  His athleticism demands that his opponent work for position but the intricacies of the game seem to have escaped him for now.  Opposing guards would often fake Henderson into going for a block or steal and high screens would flatten him.  Also, Henderson’s modest size and height for his position (6’4″) makes him a poor match for modern SFs.  He’s strictly a two guard.

Outlook:

Despite the fairly negative comments above, I have a lot of faith in Henderson going into the season.  He’s smart, has a great coach and comes from a basketball background.  When the Bobcats drafted him last year, my first comments to fellow Baseliner Dr. E were, “He’s a poor man’s Kobe Bryant.  From Philly, basketball playing father, privileged background and a Dookie.” (Remember that Kobe committed to Duke before bypassing collegiate ball for the NBA)

Henderson will need to channel some of Kobe’s dedication to excellence if he wants to succeed — he’ll be 23 in December so is starting much later in the pro game than Bryant.  Henderson’s jumper looked better in the Summer League (although he still shot only 39% in 4 games) and that’s really the one element holding him back.  He’s a solid free throw shooter (74%+) and can really drive to the basket, so if he could consistently hit a mid-range jumper (say ~44%), the rest of his offensive game will fall into place.  With Stephen Jackson one year older and both Hughes and Graham gone to free agency, the opportunity will be there.

Derrick Brown SF, Drafted 40th Overall

The Draft:

Drafted just behind second round phenoms DeJuan Blair (37) and Jonas Jerebko (39) and ahead of Marcus Thornton (43) and Chase Budinger (44) Brown has the potential to be the star of an excellent 2nd Round.

Year One:

Brown suffered under the Curse of Larry last season, accumulating 535 minutes in just 57 games even though he posted a solid 12.65 PER while scoring 3.3 points on 46% shooting.  By “The Curse” I again mean Larry Brown’s prejudice against playing rookies.  There were numerous games last season in which Derrick would check in, do something very good on offense, misplay a defensive switch and get yanked immediately.  Ninety seconds and out.  After the Bobcats acquired Tyrus Thomas from Chicago, Derrick was no longer needed as Boris Diaw’s backup and his minutes diminished even further.

Scouting Report:

At 6’8″ Brown is undersized to play the four but held his own last year, boasting a near identical PER at both forward spots (82games.com).  He rebounds well for his size and is a beast in transition.  Best of all, Brown’s body language suggests that of a ten year veteran.  The game just seems to come to him.  After seeing him for the first time last preseason, my only comment was “Robert Horry” (and yes, the best draft in Bobcats history netted “a poor man’s Kobe” and the next Robert Horry).

Outlook:

Derrick Brown absolutely dominated The Summer League (15ppg/7rpg/52%FGP) and has been one of the team’s most consistent players through three preseason games.  His biggest issue going forward is playing time.  The Bobcats best player (Gerald Wallace) plays the same position as Brown and the other forward spot is currently filled by Diaw and Thomas.

Brown’s season likely goes in one of two directions:

1.) Bobcats trade Diaw in a deal for a point guard, opening up a spot for Brown as the third forward in the rotation.

2.) Bobcats include Brown in a trade for a PG or Center — allowing the best value pick in Bobcats history to succeed on another team.

Either way, look for Derrick Brown to have a big year and a nice career going forward.

-ASChin

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12 Responses to “2010-11 Bobcats Season Preview: The Class of ’09”

  1. spectre
    October 12, 2010 at 7:06 am #

    Nice post ASChin.

  2. mike15
    October 12, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Derrick Brown is going to be awesome!
    He kills defenders coming down the left baseline, as he throws it down with his left hand. If they can get him to knock down a few short-range jumpers, he’ll be on his way to filling in for Crash just fine. I would have never thought the Cats could find a player to maintain the same energy and intensity as Wallace, but it will pretty nice to see Gerald stay fresh and rested with the help of Derrick Brown.

  3. Leroy
    October 12, 2010 at 7:05 pm #

    Dr.E

    so most of these players on the website now it's probably not going to be in the draft by that time??

    as i seen the list now. alot of PGs are around the 16th pick, even brandon knight.

    possibly pick up a PG for the future and trade DJ by the end of the season??

  4. Leroy
    October 12, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    http://www.nbadraft.net/2011mock_draft

    as of this year draft picks…
    do we have the picks as shown in the website?
    #16&#46??

  5. Dr. E
    October 12, 2010 at 9:01 pm #

    Yes Leroy, the Bobcats will have their 1st round pick this year (per NBA rules, you can’t trade away your first round pick in consecutive years) — and as of now, still have the 2nd round pick.

    We will probably be giving our 1st round pick in 2012 to the Bulls (from the Tyrus Thomas trade). I say probably because, if I recall correctly, it was “conditional”.

    The problem is, some in-the-know NBA folks think the 2011 draft will be weak because of the possibility of a lockout (i.e. college players will stay in college another year) and then the 2012 draft will be banging.

    So, another crap job by the Bobcats in regards to managing draft picks.

  6. Leroy
    October 17, 2010 at 10:59 pm #

    gotta give some credit to DJ Augstin, he is doing so far so good in the pre-season.

    vs DET 33mins 16pts 8asts 2 stls 4tos (2/5FG)(1/4 3P)(11/14FT)

    @ ORL 33mins 17pts 4asts 2 stls 2tos (5/8FG)(4/5 3P)(3/4FT)

    @ MIL 24 mins 11pts 2asts 2 stls 1to (4/10FG)(1/2 3P)(2/3FT)

    pretty decent stats. can't wait until shaun livingston comes back and have a good competition with him over the spot of starting PG of the team. personally dont like seeing sherron collins running around because of his size LOL

  7. matt
    October 21, 2010 at 6:46 am #

    It's been 11 days since the last blog post and the season starts in a week. In the words of Cris Carter C'mon man

  8. Leroy
    October 21, 2010 at 11:32 am #

    augustin is still doing well in the pre-season.

    its sad to see bobcats waived matt rogers and darius miles. they were decent during the pre season…

  9. Pepperz
    October 22, 2010 at 8:37 am #

    People need to stop with this trade DJ bullshit. Its retarded for the fact that we really havent seen how he plays when given a REAL opportunity.

  10. Ben
    October 24, 2010 at 5:56 pm #

    Leroy –

    Who were they going to cut? Sherron Collins and Derrick Brown are the only ones with guaranteed contracts, but we're already short on PGs and DBrown is too valuable to cut. Unless we were going to eat $5.4M over 2 years on Eduardo Najera, Rogers and Miles weren't going to land a spot.

  11. jhathwell
    October 25, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    Derrick Brown is the type of player who always does well in the Pros: Athletic, physical, and a tireless worker. Henderson, well I'd say the jury is out on him.

    Nevertheless, I like where this team is headed, and I've never been one to count out Larry Brown.

    Check out my Bobcats Preview:

    http://sonofsambowie.blogspot.com/2010/10/team-pr

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