Tyrus Thomas Trade: Further Analysis

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tyrus-welcome

On a wild NBA Trade Deadline Day, the Charlotte Bobcats swung a deal to get the elusive athletic power forward that Larry Brown has been pining for all season.

The Cats have obtained Tyrus Thomas from the Chicago Bulls in exchange for Ronald “Flip” Murray, Acie Law, and a future first round pick.

I touched on Thomas in an earlier post; the knock on him is immaturity/lack of consistency.  More specifically, Thomas is infamous for “mental lapses.”  This makes him an interesting match with Larry Brown, who demands near-perfection and is a stickler for detail.

Most players in a Larry Brown system take awhile to “get it,” going through a process of assimilating everything before eventually settling back down and really showing improvement.  However, not all players respond, so this will either be the best thing that happened to Tyrus Thomas or a spectacular disappointment.

If Thomas does work out, it will be interesting to see what happens with Boris Diaw.  As we’ve watched Boris since he’s been a Bobcat, it’s clear that he’s struggled this season while playing with Steven Jackson.  Last year, prior to Jackson’s arrival, more of the offense ran through Diaw as he was able to utilize his “point-forward” skills.

Could Thomas eventually start, allowing Boris to move to the bench as a sixth man?  It’s not a perfect solution to the Jackson/Diaw conundrum, as Jack plays so many minutes that it’s inevitable that Diaw will play with him some.  But this way you could maximize the time that Diaw is on the court with the offense running through him, and not Jack.

Furthermore, we’ll be watching to see what happens with Thomas in the offseason (and Diaw, for that matter).  The Cats will be in pretty much the same boat with Thomas as they were with Raymond Felton this past offseason.  Thomas will be an unrestricted free agent, which means any other team will be able to offer him a contract starting at a qualifying offer of $6.2 million.  The Cats would then have a right to match.

But even with all the cap space out there, would any team in their right mind offer Thomas a contract for that much?  Might the Bobcats be able to sign him to a more reasonable deal instead?

Here’s looking forward to seeing Thomas in action for the first time soon; we don’t have any confirmation yet, but one would assume that the Cats will be trying to get Thomas suited up for Friday night’s tilt with the the Cavs.

That’s enough about Thomas for now, here’s a quick breakdown of what the Cats gave up to get him:

Acie Law

Acie Law was thrown in to the Stephen Jackson trade to make salaries match and because Larry Brown is perpetually auditioning “third point guards.”  However, Law had already been a bust in Atlanta, wasn’t getting any playing time in Golden State, and couldn’t break into the Bobcats rotation either.

The few moments that Law did get off the bench were primarily garbage time; even then he looked hopelessly overmatched.  His shot wasn’t falling, he didn’t seem quick enough, and didn’t show any real confidence or “game-managing” ability.

The one significant chance that Law got was in a December matchup against the Knicks in NYC.  Down 2 with seconds left, Law was inexplicably inserted into the game.  Furthermore, the play was drawn up for Law to get the ball on the final play — he took it coast-to-coast and forced up a layup that never really had a chance and was easily swatted away by Danilo Galinari to seal the Knicks win.

I would be willing to bet that Law will be out of the league and playing overseas next year.  He’s just not skilled or athletic enough to make it in the Association.

For Chicago, he simply represents a $2 million expiring contract as they clear room to make a splash in the Lebron/D-Wade/Bosh/Joe Johnson free agency sweepstakes this summer.

Ronald “Flip” Murray

Flip is the definition of a journeyman in the NBA.  The Bulls will mark Flip’s 8th NBA team in 8 years.  It isn’t exactly clear why this hired gun can’t stick anywhere or get a long-term contract.  Offensively, he’s an above-average, sweet-shooting, somewhat undersized 2-guard.  Though ballhandling and distributing are not his strengths, he can slide down to the point in a pinch.  This is how he’s been able to carve out a career in the league.

Defensively, he’s below average, due to his size and lack of elite quickness and athleticism.  This fact probably comes the closest to answering why Flip has, and will continue to have, a journeyman’s career.

Flip was signed to a bargain 1-year $1.9 million deal by the Bobcats prior to the season and was a good fit.  After sitting out several games to start the season, Flip joined the lineup and frequently provided a much-needed scoring punch off the bench.

He is currently averaging 9.9 points per game — exactly his career average, too — but is not shooting as high of a percentage as he had in the past.  Nonetheless, he will be missed.  While the Bobcats blogosphere is undoubtedly hopeful that DJ will step up and Gerald Henderson might even see some playing time, the safe bet is probably on Steven Graham filling in for the bulk of Flip’s minutes.

Ultimately, he was included in the trade from the Bulls’ perspective because he is on a one-year/expiring deal, but Flip will probably play an important role for the Bulls the rest of the season.  Remember, Chicago traded away John Salmons for more cap relief, so they have a hole at the 2-guard spot.

The Future First-Round Pick

This one is probably the hardest to part with.  As we’ve said over and over here at the Baseline, the best way for a small-market team to jump-start a run at a championship is to hit a home run with a first round pick (the Spurs and Tim Duncan are probably the best example, here).

But under Larry Brown, the Bobcats are clearly going about business another way.  And with Michael Jordan’s disastrous track record at making draft selections, maybe it’s a good pre-emptive strike to trade away picks for young veterans anyways.

Let’s remember a few things, though.  First, the Bobcats already owe a first-round pick to the Minnesota Timberwolves; second, you cannot trade away your first round pick in consecutive years and third, it’s not yet clear if there are any further conditions on the pick used in today’s trade.

The initial pick we have to give up was traded to the Denver Nuggets in the summer of 2008 (for their #20 pick in that draft, which we used on Alexis Ajinca — that’s a whole other story); the Nuggets have since moved it in another deal and it now is the property of the T-Wolves.

The pick is protected somewhat; last year it was protected if it was in the lottery, so we got to use it on Gerald Henderson.  This year it is only protected if it’s even higher, like a top 8 or 10 pick (Note: not exactly sure on that).  Whatever the case, barring a total collapse by the Cats, it looks like our first round pick this year will be the property of the T-Wolves.

So, given the rule about not trading away your first round picks in consecutive years, the earliest that the Bulls will get our pick in exchange for Ty Thomas will be 2012.  That’s a little scary, as Larry Brown will probably be gone by then, and who knows what the roster will look like.  It’s entirely conceivable that the Cats could return to the lottery by then and desperately need some help in the draft.

UPDATE: No sooner than I posted this and sat down for some dinner does Rick Bonnell come through to confirm that the future first-round pick owed to the Bulls for is indeed protected.  The exact nature of the protection is still unclear, but it is assumed to be similar to the protection that is attached to the pick that we currently owe to the T-Wolves (the exact nature of which is also unclear, but whatever…).

-Dr. E


POLL : TYRUS THOMAS TRADE REACTIONS

  • Great Deal for Cats
    (82%, 102 Votes)
  • Better Deal for Bulls
    (5%, 6 Votes)
  • Not Worth 1st Round Pick
    (13%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 124

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Breaking Trade News: Tyrus Thomas To Bobcats

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tyrus-trade

Multiple outlets are reporting that the Bobcats and Bulls are set to finalize a trade that would send Tyrus Thomas to the Bobcats.

It appears that the final deal will be Thomas for Flip Murray and Acie Law (both expiring contracts) and a future protected first round pick.

Thomas is currently in the final year of his rookie deal at $4.7 million this season.  He will be a restricted free agent this summer, due a qualifying offer of $6.2 million for 2010-11.

Thomas is a 6’10” super-athletic power forward who has had difficulty putting it altogether on the court since he was drafted #4 overall in the 2006 NBA Draft after a promising freshman year at LSU.  While he has shown flashes of brilliance, he is also regarded as still being quite immature.

While there have been no major transgressions, either off-court or on, the Bulls have undoubtedly grown weary of dealing with his lack of professionalism and consistency.  He was suspended for a game earlier this month for “conduct detrimental to the team” in what was likely the straw that broke the camel’s back.  Furthermore, the emergence of Joakim Noah likely further influenced the Bulls to trade him now to get an asset back.

Thomas is currently averaging 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this year for a career-high 16.7 PER.  He did miss a swath of games earlier this season with a broken arm; this injury was sustained in a weightlifting accident and does not reflect any chronic problem.

No doubt Larry Brown is geeked about teaching young Tyrus how to “play the right way” and “respect the game.”

We’ll have more posts to come on the trade this afternoon.  For now, here’s some bonus links:

-Dr. E


POLL : TYRUS THOMAS TRADE REACTIONS

  • Great Deal for Cats
    (82%, 102 Votes)
  • Better Deal for Bulls
    (5%, 6 Votes)
  • Not Worth 1st Round Pick
    (13%, 16 Votes)

Total Voters: 124

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Bobcats Destroy Heat For Ninth Straight Home Win

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Heat, 1/20/10

???

The Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Miami Heat 104-65 on Wednesday night at the Cable Box to improve to 21-19 and move into 5th place in the Eastern Conference.  AP recap here, box score here.  The win represents the largest margin of victory (39) and the least points allowed (65) in Bobcats history and caps off a perfect 6-0 home stand.  The Bobcats are 9-1 in 2010 and officially the hottest team in the NBA.

How weird is that to read?  It is extremely strange for me to type.  Not all 9 victories in the new year have been totally impressive (just Monday the Bobcats barely withstood a furious rally to eke by the Kings), but for the most part, the Cats deserve every bit of being called the hottest team in the NBA.  They are playing defense at a playoff, maybe championship level.  They have not just defeated some good teams (Spurs, Suns, Heat), they have destroyed them, broken their will.

Much like the win over the Suns last Saturday night, this one was essentially over after an amazing first quarter.  The Bobcats swarmed on defense and shot the lights out on offense for a 38-17 lead after 12 minutes (Jackson had 15, Nazr 10 of those 38).  The Cats shot 14-18 (82%) to set a franchise record for FG% in a quarter.   Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, sensing that his team was in danger of being totally overwhelmed, called 3 timeouts in the opening frame.  Alas, it did no good.  He could neither break the Bobcats’ momentum, nor get his own squad going.

The rest of the game was spent calmly watching out for a Heat run (ala the Kings game on Monday) that never came, then hoping that the starters would be able to get some rest down the stretch.  Indeed they were able to.  Stephen Jackson finished with 24 points (7-10 FG, 10-12 FT) in 33 minutes; Raymond Felton had 14 points (6-8 FG) and 5 assists in 27 minutes; Nazr Mohammed had 16 points (6-9 FG) and 10 rebounds in just 16 minutes.

You might look at Gerald Wallace’s line and wonder what all the fuss about his supposedly sprained ankle was for.  Wallace’s availability was the subject of several Bonnell blog posts in the past couple days and a couple of Tweets from me today, yet he went for 20 points (5-11 FG, 8-8 FT), 10 rebounds and 5 blocks in 36 minutes.  However, I will submit that Gerald was actually taking it a bit easy on the bum ankle tonight, especially on offense.  Seriously, he settled for several jump shots and was rather passive on that end of the court.  And still ended up with 20 points.  All-Star.

Bullets

  • No one showed up for the Heat.  Superstar Dwyane Wade was held to 16 points on 6-16 FG by Stephen Jackson.  He was further dismayed when he had to share the court with Joel Anthony and Dorell Wright at times.
  • BobcatsBreak has postgame video on lock.
  • Raymond Felton continues to play amazing defense.  Defense in the NBA is undeniably a team thing, but still, Raymond deserves particular praise.
  • Gana Diop had an intersting game: 17 minutes, 7 rebounds, a steal, a huge block and 6 fouls for the DQ.  And 0 points.
  • If you’re feeling scroogey and looking for any negative, look no further than Acie Law.  He played the last 8 minutes of junk time and was dreadful.  I don’t see any way he’s in the league next year.
  • Next game is Friday night in Atlanta, 7:30 PM start.  Good chance to measure ourselves against a team ahead of us in the standings.
  • Then the Cats are back home on Saturday night to face Superman and the Magicians (7PM start).  I am expecting the biggest crowd of the year — let’s sell this one out, folks.  We’ve got the hottest team in the NBA, we’re facing an elite opponent, and it’s the last home game before a Western Conference road trip — no excuse not to make it out to the game.

-Dr. E

An AK-47, A Burly Frenchmen & A Providence Panther

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Three Impact Trades for Power Forward Depth

Power Forward Depth

We’ve been talking about it since Training Camp and Larry Brown has been crying for it (via Rick Bonnell) for months: Rod Higgidy-Higgins needs to make a trade ASAP to bring in another Power Forward.

The Bobcats are playing the best ball in franchise history.  If they want to continue their push towards the top of the Eastern Conference, they’ll need another PF.  Here’s why:

  1. Even though Boris Diaw is regaining his ’08-’09 form, he’ll never be a rebounding force.  As much as we’d all like to see Gerald Wallace to win the rebounding title, logic dictates that he split ball-boards with another banger and save the wear and tear on his body for the Playoffs.
  2. Right now Wallace, Stephen Jackson and second rounder Derrick Brown are the backups.  You don’t want your two best players getting beaten up down low against bigger players.  The rookie Brown is giving up 20-30 pounds and a ton of experience on a nightly basis.
  3. Roster Imbalance.  The team features four point guards and five wing players.  Playoff teams need to be able to go big.

That brings me to the trades.  First off, let me establish the RULES:

  • No virtual trades with Eastern Conference Playoff contenders.  Let’s be realistic, why would a division rival and potential first round opponent like Orlando trade the Bobcats Brandon Bass for cap relief or a young player?  Makes no sense.
  • Virtual trades can only be made within the conference IF the other team is absolutely horrible with no chance at the Playoffs and wants to clean house or dump salary.
  • The Trade HAS TO MAKE SENSE FOR THE OTHER TEAM.  This automatically excludes 99.9% of the trades that you’ve seen posted on Bobcats forums and comment threads.
  • Don’t Mess with Chemistry: The Bobcats are playing great together right now, so you don’t want to trade away any player who is integral to this run.

Without further ado…

TRADE #1: Bobcats send Tyson Chandler and a Protected First Round Selection to Washington for Antawn Jamison.

WHY THE WIZARDS MAKE THE TRADE:
Washington ditches the last year of Jamison’s deal ($15 million in ’11-’12) and can move Tyson’s expiring as soon as this summer AND they get a late first rounder for their troubles.

WHY THE BOBCATS MAKE THE TRADE:
For one, the Charlotte Observer can kill two birds with one stone by writing updates on Jamison AND THE BOBCATS at the same time (we can only hope that the team can trade for Stephen Curry during the offseason as well).
Also Jamison could step in and either be the team’s electric frontcourt scorer off the bench OR start the game with an unselfish Diaw joining the lineup at Center as the sixth man.  Although Antawn isn’t known as an elite defender, he’s an above-average rebounder at around 9 per game over the past four seasons.
Finally, bringing Jamison home to Charlotte would likely do wonders at the turnstiles as the former Tar Heel/Providence Panther could combine his local celebrity with the promise of a suddenly formidable Charlotte NBA team.

TRADE #2: Bobcats send Gerald Henderson and Stephen Graham to Golden State for Ronny Turiaf.

WHY THE WARRIORS MAKE THE TRADE:
Ronny isn’t getting much PT in Oaktown these days as Don Nelson seems hell-bent on playing a five guard lineup.  The Warriors get another super-athletic two-guard with lots of potential and shave cap-space to boot.

WHY THE BOBCATS MAKE THE TRADE:
Larry Brown has fallen in love with the French.  He praised their national team this summer, drafted one of their youngsters in ’08 and traded for another last winter.  Turiaf would be a great complement to Diaw in Charlotte where he could spend 15-20 minutes (and six fouls) per game roughing up the opposing team’s low post players, blocking shots and taking up space in the lane.
Only two negatives with Turiaf:
1. (Mild Concern) Had open heart surgery in 2005 following the draft to repair an aortic artery.
2. (Moderate Concern) Once played at Gonzaga with Adam Morrison.

TRADE #3: Bobcats send Tyson Chandler, Acie Law and Gerald Henderson to the Utah Jazz for Andrei Kirilenko and a Protected First Round Selection.

WHY THE JAZZ MAKE THE TRADE:
The Jazz need to get out from under the luxury tax and Law (expiring), Henderson (rookie deal) and Chandler (two more years at a lower number) are infinitely more moveable than Kirilenko’s $16 million salary.

WHY THE BOBCATS MAKE THE TRADE:
Seriously, do you have to even ask?  Kirilenko is signed to MAX contract that may seem ludicrous now but in 2005 (PRE-CARLOS BOOZER), the big Russian was worth every penny.  Back then when AK-47 was playing his natural PF position, Andrei averaged 15ppg, 8rpg, 4apg AND 3.3bpg.  Once Boozer came to town and the Jazz decided to play Kirilenko out of position on the wing, things went south and Andrei never regained his previous form.  Putting a still young (28) Kirilenko on the same line with Gerald Wallace might destroy the League record (if there even is one) for Most ReDonkulous Weakside Help In Your Face Blocks in a season.  Add to this fact that Kirilenko has shown that he has no problem coming off of the bench and you have the makings of a perfect small-ball, ball-hawking, transition team set with Boris at Center, Andrei at PF and Crash at the the Three.

-ASChin

Bobcats Out-Sun Suns

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Suns, 1/16/10


.500

The Charlotte Bobcats decimated the Phoenix Suns 125-99 on Saturday night at the Cable Box, and it wasn’t really even that close.  AP recap here, box score here.  The Cats are now 19-19 overall and 15-4 at home.  They’ve won 7 in a row at home and 7 of their last 8 overall.

Unlike the night before, when the Cats played even with the Spurs before turning up the heat midway through the third, the Cats jumped all over the Suns right from the opening bell tonight.  Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson were both on fire.  It was 12-0 just 2 1/2 minutes in, 43-22 after the first quarter and 103-64 at one point in the third quarter.  Only a meaningless spurt by the Suns’ last-five-off-the-bench in the closing minutes brought the final margin under 30.

The Suns don’t play much D; the Cats took advantage of this while resisting the urge to do the same.  For the second night in a row, the Bobcats trapping defense took a top-notch, veteran Western Conference team out of their comfort zone.  The Cats scored 26 fast break points to the Suns 5 and scored 24 points off 15 Suns turnovers.

Gerald Wallace had 29 points (11-15 FG, 2-2 3PT, 5-6 FT) and 13 rebounds.  Stephen Jackson also had 29 points (11-17 FG, 4-6 3PT, 3-3 FT) and added 5 rebounds, 8 assists and 5 steals.  Perhaps most important is that both got to sit most of the 4th quarter with the game well in hand; Gerald played 31 minutes, Jack 29.

Everyone got into the act; literally.  Derrick Brown was in double-digits by halftime and finished with a career high 18 points.  Gerald Henderson played 10 minutes, and even Acie Law got a bucket in junk time.

Bullets

  • While attendance was not nearly the 17,574 that was announced, it was a really good crowd.  Probably the biggest crowd I’ve seen this season (note, I did not attend opening night).
  • So can we all stop clamoring for Gerald Henderson to get playing time over Flip Murray, or even Steven Graham?  Henderson’s 10 minutes tonight were not pretty.  I’m OK with him learning by watching at this point.  Jack and Flip are pretty good guys to learn from.
  • Both Jack and Amare Stoudemire scored their 10,000th career point tonight.
  • The Bobcats play next on Monday afternoon in a Martin Luther King Day special at 2PM ET.  Tyreke Evans and the Kings will be in town.

-Dr. E

Shorthanded Bobcats Fall To Knicks

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Knicks, 12/20/09

Wallace Sits, Jackson Leaves Early

The Charlotte Bobcats dropped another road game Sunday evening, this time 98-94 to the New York Knicks.  AP recap here, box score here.  Since defeating these same Knicks in Charlotte last Tuesday, the Bobcats have lost three in a row and now stand at 10-16 overall (1-12 road) and have fallen to 9th place in the Eastern Conference.  The Knicks, on the other hand, have won 6 of 8.

The big story for the Bobcats here is the Gerald Wallace was held out of the game after experiencing a severe headache.  Details are frankly sketchy, but it seems that Gerald must have complained of a headache sometime Sunday.  The training/coaching staff made the decision to hold him out, no doubt recognizing Gerald’s personal concussion history (along with the recent increased sensitivity to head injuries in the sports world in general).  Per Larry Brown’s postgame comments, Wallace (true to form) tried to convince the staff that he could play, but they stuck with their original decision.

Wallace looked OK on the bench, and at no time was it ever suggested that the headache was related to any recent blow to the head, so hopefully he’s back next game.  But it was certainly awkward for him to have to sit for a headache just a night after he questioned teammates’ effort.

With Wallace out, the Bobcats could have used big games from Stephen Jackson and Boris Diaw.  But Boris was limited due to foul trouble, and Jackson went out with back spasms in the third quarter.

Despite this, the Bobcats were able to hang around and make a run at it late in the fourth quarter.  The Knicks didn’t play particularly well, but they did take and make a lot of threes — 11-25 — which kept the Cats at bay.

Hot Mess Of A Finish

As noted, the Bobcats stayed within striking distance; and not surprisingly, the Knicks nudged the door open a little wider with several mistakes down the stretch.  Wilson Chandler threw the ball away with 30 seconds left and the Knicks only made 3-6 FTs after that.  But the Bobcats weren’t sharp enough to take advantage.  They didn’t close out on the Knicks’ 3-point shooters well, and Boris Diaw missed two threes with under a minute left, either of which would have been huge.

But the biggest boner was on the last play.  With no timeouts left and nine seconds on the clock, Danilo Gallinari made only one of two free throws to give the Knicks a two point lead.  Diaw had fouled out putting Gallinari on the line, so he’s done.  You want all your available penetrators and 3-point shooters on the floor in such a situation, right?  So maybe Felton, DJ, Flip and Gerald Henderson.  Probably one guy who could crash the boards, too, right?  Derrick Brown?

Instead, Larry Brown chose to take Acie freakin’ Law out of mothballs.  Not only that, but on the inbounds after Gallinari’s made free throw the Bobcats looked completely flummoxed and Acie Law ended up getting the ball.  Instead of getting it to Raymond, who had been very effective penetrating against the Knicks (lack of) interior D, Law took off.  Yes, the guy who has played 71 minutes all year and only 5 since being traded to the Bobcats a month ago is your go-to man with the game on the line.

Law weaved through traffic and made his way towards the rim, but never really got a great angle or enough separation from the Knicks’ defenders.  He also didn’t see Raymond Felton, who looked to be available for the kickout.  Law’s layup attempt was swatted away by Danilo Gallinari, who gladly atoned for his missed free throw.

In the postgame comments, Brown implied that Law was indeed supposed to get the ball, but that the hope was to penetrate and kickout for a game-winning three.  Really?  Acie Law?

Bullets

  • Jonathan Bender took a nice step in his comeback, playing 15 minutes and hitting 3-3 3-pointers.
  • DJ has maybe kinda-sorta snapped out of his funk: 2-4 3PTs and 3 assists in 20 minutes.
  • Next game is Tuesday night at the Cable Box, hosting the Pistons at 7 PM ET.

Sixers Take Care of Business, Send Lowly Bobcats Away in Final Seconds

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Philly 11/17/09

This game pretty much makes it official: The Bobcats are Terrible.  Coming into the game at 4-6 with a -5 point differential, the Philadelphia 76ers seemed to be playing at the same pedestrian level as Charlotte but we now know that the true pecking order would have the ‘Cats somewhere firmly beneath mediocre and slightly above The Meadowlands’ Finest.  Sixers win it 86-84 on a Lou Williams fast break layup with 3.1 seconds remaining.  AP recap here.  Box score here.

1. If This is Playing the Game The Right Way, Sign Me Up for The Wrong Way

I’m gonna hand it to fellow Baseline contributor Dr. E.  He was wary of Larry Brown from the start but I stayed optimistic and was hoping that the old man could turn the franchise around.  The Bobcats committed 16 more turnovers in tonight’s game and shot 42.3% from the field.  For those of you scoring at home, that’s 2.3% HIGHER than their season average of 40%, good for 29th in the League.  What if this poor performance isn’t a testament to the quality of the players on the court but, rather, to the antiquated coaching strategy of its leader?  We must face the possibility that the game has passed Larry Brown by and his insistence on “Playing the Game the Right Way” is really code for “Playing the Game the Way a 69-Year Old Man Thinks it Should Be Played.”  The Bobcats are forced into several HORRENDOUS shots simply because Brown demands that they hold the ball for 20 seconds of the shot clock and then force something up with time expiring.  Most players playing in today’s game simply aren’t used to a style of offense such as Brown’s and by passing up good shots with time left on the clock two MAJOR FLAWS in the Strategy reveal themselves:

  1. Players get used to passing up good shots and start intellectualizing their games instead of letting it flow naturally.
  2. The opposing team’s defense can pretty much coast for the first 15 seconds of the shot clock, knowing that Brown will chastise any player bold enough to shoot early.

Coach Brown’s goal is to slow down the game’s pace to prevent the other team from scoring.  It’s like when NFL teams play the Colts.  You know that if Peyton Manning is on the field, chances are that he’s going to put his team into scoring position so you remove him from the equation by keeping Peyton on the sidelines with a grind-it-out running attack on offense.  Tire the defense out during each drive, rinse and repeat.  Pretty basic stuff.  The problem with Larry Brown’s strategy is that the NBA isn’t divided into the ground game and the passing game so by holding onto the ball and grinding out the clock you are basically just constipating all of your players’ offensive (especially the younger players still growing into their games) at the expense of playing SLOW, BORING basketball.  And, ultimately, the only way you can win any game is by scoring points.  Brown seems to have forgotten that.

2. Short Endomorphs Who Can’t Shoot Don’t Make Great PGs

With Tyson Chandler sidelined during the 2nd half with a strained back, the Bobcats went small with Boris Diaw at center and Gerald Wallace at the four.  During most of this time Brown played D.J. Augustin and Raymond Felton in the same backcourt as he did for much of last season.  After Lou Williams beat D.J. on the block for the tenth time and Raymond over-complicated yet another simple pass, I caught a shot of Sixer backup guard Willie Green and it suddenly dawned on me why the Bobcats PG situation is in such disarray.  Green has a very similar body build to Felton: stocky with short arms.  And, like Felton, Willie can’t shoot (he’s a career 41% from the floor).  This is the fatal flaw with Felton and, at least thus far this season, with Augustin.  You can be an undersized PG and be successful in the NBA but you can’t be both undersized and a poor shooter, especially with a short wingspan.  The Bobcats simply can’t afford to have two guys like this on their roster and I would think that it’s A GIVEN that one of them will be TRADED between now and the deadline.  Especially now that the team has Acie Law on the bench who’s both taller and a better shooter.

3. The Stephen Jackson Thing Might Work Out After All

Watching non-Captain Jack hit shot after shot during the Bobcats improbable 4th quarter 14-4 rally reminded me of his value to the team.  No, not as a major cog to build around but rather as a player who could potentially be VERY VALUABLE on the open market around the trade deadline either this year or next.  Jackson can play.  He’s not a clutch-time shot maker (see 82games.com’s Clutch Player stats, JAX is below Felton on the list.  Ouch.) but going for 26 pts, 5 asts and 5 boards on 9-21 shooting is something that a lot of contending team’s could use at the SF spot come Playoff time.  I could definitely see Jackson shipped out in a deal that brought instant cap relief, draft selections and/or prospects once Larry Brown’s had a few months to re-polish the volatile forward’s image.

IN CONCLUSION

Bobcats lose a close one to a team they should beat if they ever want to sniff the Playoffs.  Milwaukee and superstar in the making Brandon Jennings up next on Friday Night.  Hang in there Bobcats fans.

-ASChin