2008 Draft Haunts Bobcats in Loss to Nets

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Lopez Dominates, Augustin Sits in New Jersey’s First Win of the Season.

The Bobcats have done a great job of illustrating the many different varieties of “EMBARRASSING” thus far during the ’09-’10 NBA season.  There have been road blowouts, home blowouts, needing three overtimes at home to beat the Knicks but tonight’s apathetic approach towards the winless Nets might be the most painful.  Just seventeen months ago, Bobcats management made the questionable decision to draft D.J. Augustin over Brook Lopez and this game demonstrated that it was the second worst draft day decision in franchise history.

AP recap here | Box score here

1. Fact: Michael Jordan Sucks in the Draft Room

Brook Lopez is a force in the middle for the Nets.  He’s currently averaging 18pts and 9rb and a little over 2 blocks a contest.  He has the best low post game of any center in the Eastern Conference and if weren’t for the fact that his team stinks, he’d be a sure-fire All-Star in just his second season.  Tonight Lopez exploded for 31 points and 14 rebounds and thoroughly dominated Tyson Chandler on the block.

Also in this game D.J. Augustin received his first ever DNP CD (Did Not Play Coach’s Decision).

Augustin has struggled all season and after showing flashes of brilliance during his rookie year, has never looked the same since coming back from an abdominal injury last Spring.  D.J.’s miserable 5ppg / 2apg averages are only surpassed by his 35% shooting from the field.  His current PER is just 7.  Lopez currently rocks a steady 19.

Why the Bobcats selected Augustin ahead of Lopez, I’ll never understand.  You can’t teach size.  We all know that.  And given Jordan’s pathetic draft record, why not go for the safe bet in Lopez?  Selecting D.J. over Brook and Adam Morrison over Brandon Roy (as well as the Kwame disaster in D.C.) are marks of either a gambler or a moron and I am very afraid that this franchise is being run by some horrible combination of the two.

Remember: If the Bobcats select Lopez, not only do they have their shot-blocking, rebounding, intelligent, low-post presence for the next decade plus, they also don’t have to move Emeka Okafor for an overpaid Tyson Chandler and could instead experiment with them together in the frontcourt or find a solid PG in exchange via trade.  Ugh.

2. Boris Diaw: “Rebounding is so bourgeois.”

Is Diaw passive-aggressively demanding a trade?  He knows what Larry Brown expects of him and injury or no, Boris needs to at least provide the consistent effort that he’s capable of or Brown will ship him out for someone who can.

Both Golden State and New York would love to have him and I’m sure the Suns wouldn’t turn him down.  There’s been some chatter of a Jared Jeffries/David Lee deal out there and I could definitely see the Bobcats jumping on that one provided they get a feel for Lee’s intentions going into a contract year this summer.  A Brandon Wright/Ronny Turiaf package from the Warriors might be enticing as well and Bobcats GM Rod Higgins seems to be running both front offices anyway so that might work.

Either way, when the team’s SF is outrebounding you 20-3 and you are averaging under 5 boards a game as an NBA starting PF, it doesn’t matter how good of a passer you are.  I’m a big fan of Motivated Boris but Lazy Boris?  He’s gotta go.

3. Silver Linings

Raymond Felton played a superb game going for 28 points on 11-14 shooting.  He only turned the ball over twice in just under 40 minutes and went on a personal 9 point run for the team when nobody else could score in the 4th quarter.  Again, Felton is not an elite PG but he’s starting to find his niche as a Derek Fisher-type who takes care of the ball and makes open shots.  Great effort by Raymond.

I mentioned it earlier but Gerald Wallace had 20 rebounds tonight.  Crash has never averaged more than 7.8rpg for his career and is suddenly pushing 12.  Simply outstanding.  Another incredible effort from The Original.

Stephen Jackson is doing exactly as advertised: 28 points tonight on a high volume 10-23 shooting over 43 minutes.  JAX makes baskets, plays good D and logs a ton of minutes.  Say what you want about Jordan’s drafts picks (THEY ARE WORSE THAN TERRIBLE) but his trading skills aren’t so bad.

IN CONCLUSION:

The sad irony in Larry Brown shortening his bench to just 8 players this evening is that he DNP’d all of his youngsters.  Neither Derrick Brown, Augustin or Gerald Henderson sniffed any PT.  This is especially disconcerting since the top six players tonight for the Nets were under the age of 26 and are paid a combined $16 million dollars.  The Nets top two players this evening (Brook Lopez and Courtney Lee, who exploded for 27 points and basically sealed the win with a steal late in the 4th) are on rookie contracts.  Chris Douglas Roberts and Josh Boone are late round draft picks.  Terrence Williams is this year’s lottery pick.  The Nets may be bad now but their future looks a heck of a lot brighter than the team they beat tonight.

Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans

-ASChin

Last Minute News, Rumors, Tidbits and Thoughts…

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Only about an hour away now. I’ve read so much Chad Ford in the past week that I think I deserve an honorary degree in International Conflict Resolution from BYU-Hawaii.

Here’s the way things are shaping up for the Bobcats:

  • Bonnell reported today that the Bobcats were (desperately???) working to line up a trade with Memphis to get their #5 pick. Presumably this would be to ensure that we can get Russell Westbrook, who may not be there at #9.
  • Would a package of #9 and #20 be enough to get this done? Both Bonnell and Chad Ford seemed to think not today. Bonnell specifically mentioned that Gerald Wallace was available as well, but Wallace + #9 is way too much to give up, and Wallace + #20 doesn’t seem like enough. And should we be giving up anything to move up, when Westbrook may be there at #9 anyways? Could Kevin Love actually be the target at #5?
  • I read somewhere today that there are some in the Bobcats front office who are high on DJ Augustin, and are pushing him for the #9 pick. Please God, no. Hopefully that one’s all smoke screen.
  • If we don’t make a trade to move up to #5, then two trades that happened today affect who will be left at #9. The Clippers and Supersonics have agreed to swap their #4 and #7 picks, with the Clips sending their 2009 pick along in the deal (with some protections). The Clips would pick Eric Gordon (good for us, we’re not interested). Then the Sonics would likely take Brook Lopez (also good for us). In another trade however, the Bucks picked up Richard Jefferson for Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons. This puts some doubt into the thoughts that Joe Alexander will be the pick for the Bucks (as Jefferson and Alexander are both SFs), and makes it more likely that the Bucks will be after a guard: Jerryd Bayless (OK, fine) or Russell Westbrook (Nooooooooooo!).
  • So here’s my last minute amended prediction about what the Bobcats’ draft board looks like this right now for the #9 pick: 1) Russell Westbrook, 2) Kevin Love, 3) Anthony Randolph or Brook Lopez.

We’ll know in a little over an hour…

-E

Bobcats Acquire 20th Pick

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hibbert

The Charlotte Observer is reporting that the Bobcats have traded the rights to a future protected first round pick to the Denver Nuggets for the 20th pick in Thursday’s draft.

This could be an effort by the Bobcats to acquire Georgetown center Roy Hibbert. The Observer previously reported the Bobcats approached the New Jersey Nets about the 21st pick. The NBA source with knowledge of those negotiations identified Hibbert as a likely Bobcats target.

The Bobcats have not specified what protection is involved, but typically teams try to avoid giving up future lottery picks.

Personally, I’m not a big fan of Hibbert.  When we last saw him in game action, the big senior led his #2 seeded Georgetown squad to an upset loss against Davidson in the second round of the NCAA tournament.  Hibbert managed only 6 points and a single rebound in 16 minutes before fouling out that game.  And that was against Davidson.  No offense, Wildcat fans, but Stephen Curry and company aren’t exactly the Detroit Pistons.

I also have a distinct memory of watching Hibbert live as a freshman in an NIT game versus South Carolina in Columbia.  I got a kick out of watching him struggle to make it into the frontcourt before most defensive possessions were over.  Giving him the ball on offense was just as smirk-inducing, if not moreso.  Of course, he’s come a long way since then, but I’ll frankly never be able to shake those images of him.

Of course, there’s an outside chance that Alexis Ajinca is actually the pick here.  It has been widely reported that Ajinca has been impressive on the workout trail, and that the Bobcats were one of the teams interested.

-E

A Waste of Time and Effort

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Over the past couple of days, sentiment around the internet regarding Thursday’s draft has turned rather sour. John Hollinger gave us a smug two-part statistical analysis on this year’s prospects, showing the objective evidence behind the slides of Anthony Randolph and DeAndre Jordan, among others. Yesterday morning, Rick Bonnell took a dump in everyone’s cereal bowl by declaring predictions about the Bobcats’ draft picks a “waste of time [and] effort” and gloating about agents “outsmarting” themselves by not allowing certain teams to work out certain players.

Even Bill Simmons and Chad Ford, two unabashed NBA Draft fanatics, sounded like they were writing a eulogy for the 2008 draft class today when they did their interactive mock draft. Eventually, the negativity seemed to get to Ford, and he came to his senses:

I think calling this a bad draft may be an overreaction. Typically every team starts hating the next draft by July 1. By March, everyone loves it. And by June, when it comes time to make a choice, every team is deathly afraid of everyone in the draft.

It’s a strange phenomenon — sort of the equivalent of dating. When it comes time for commitment, every wart starts to show. This is altar fever. A week from now, everyone will be talking again about how great this draft is.

So let’s get over our cold feet, have some fun and waste some time and effort!

Without further ado, here’s a list of potential outcomes for the Bobcats’ #9 pick in Thursday’s draft, with their respective percentage chances of happening. Continue reading

Bobcats Baseline 2008 Draft Preview Part Five: The Second Rounder

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2nd round

Welcome to Part Five of a five-part look at the 2008 NBA Draft from the perspective of the Charlotte Bobcats. Part One was a basic look at the Bobcats’ needs this offseason. Part Two took a detailed look at the draft lottery process which determines where the team will pick. Part Three examined the Bobcats’ options if they had lucked out in the lottery and moved up into one of the top three picks, while Part Four was a look at the team’s potential choices with the eighth or ninth pick. In Part Five, we will consider the Bobcats’ options with their second round pick, #38 overall.

With Charlotte having multiple needs this offseason, the second round pick is quite important. Good, even great players can still be had: remember that Gilbert Arenas, Manu Ginobili, Carlos Boozer, Rashard Lewis and Michael Redd were all second round picks. Just in the past couple of years, we’ve seen Paul Millsap, Daniel Gibson, Leon Powe, and Carl Landry quickly assume important roles on good teams. The Bobcats themselves have had decent luck with Ryan Hollins and Jermareo Davidson; both have stuck with the team so far and will likely be on the roster again next season to be given another year to develop.

If, as expected, the Bobcats use the #9 pick to select or trade for a big man, will there be any potential backup point guards available at #38? Or will Westbrook be the pick at #9, which would seemingly necessitate going big in the second round? Foreign? Take a chance on a guy who has slipped due to health/injury concerns? Or just go for the best player available? Continue reading

Only 6 Shopping Days Left!!!

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That’s right — less than a week left!  The 2008 NBA Draft is next Thursday, June 26th.  The deadline to drop out has passed, workouts are in full swing, and rumors are flying around at a dizzying pace.

Let’s take a look at some of the rumors that directly involve or affect the Bobcats.  Most, if not all, of this stuff comes from DraftExpress or Chad Ford on ESPN.comBobcats.com has also been delivering top-notch coverage of the workouts the Bobcats have conducted, complete with video. Continue reading