2010-11 Bobcats Season Preview: The Next Move?

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Baseline contributors DR. E and ASChin discuss their thoughts on the Charlotte Bobcats roster.

DR. E-

The Larry Brown era in Charlotte has been marked by frequent and often dramatic shakeups of the roster. His “grass is always greener” approach to evaluating other players (and other coaching positions) around the league relative to his own is well documented. By and large, this tendency has been welcomed by a Bobcats front office in need of some expertise/direction/chutzpah. Meanwhile, the fanbase has been encouraged as the transactions have resulted in short-term improvement and the team’s first playoff berth thus far.

So it’s fair to ask, how long until the next roster shakeup? And what positions/players are most likely to be affected?

ASCHIN-

This is clearly a matter of when, not if. Larry Brown has nearly turned the entire roster over in his three seasons and we know he’ll kvetch until he can’ts kvetch no more in order to work fresh blood into the lineup.

I can see the next few months going in one of two ways:

PATH I:

D.J. is actually good.

In this scenario, D.J. proves that his Preseason numbers are for real (14ppg, 4apg, 55%FG, 63%3ptFG in 28 minutes per) and successfully leads the team as a score-first, defense-extending long range threat. Shaun Livingston comes back from the knee injury aggravation and gives the team another look for twenty minutes a night. Larry deems the PG situation as being acceptable and decides to stay put until a favorable deal for a starting center comes along.

PATH II:

D.J. is actually not good.

In this scenario, Augustin either struggles with his confidence (or his shot) during the Real Season and/or stagnates the offense with his lack of playmaking ability. Coach Brown decides that the team needs a veteran playmaker and starts working the phones. There are a few guys out there who could be had. I’ll let DR. E take the first stab. Who are your PG candidates?

DR. E-

Well, first let me say that I think a third scenario is more likely. I think DJ will be OK — not really good or really bad. I think the Bobcats could struggle a bit out of the gate (as Larry Brown teams usually do) and we’ll be debating how much of the blame can be laid on DJ. The result of this scenario is the same as your latter scenario, though. Larry’s eyes will start wandering.

So let’s just get the biggest, most ridiculous possibility out of the way first. Gilbert Arenas.

Arenas has the undisputed worst contract in the league at this point (4 more years, around $80 million total). No one is sure whether his knees are going to allow him to play at a high level any more. He continues to behave very irresponsibly. He’s positively radioactive at this point and the Wizards know it.

Yet, I refuse to rule him out. I’m still intrigued. What if he keeps his mouth shut (except for the harmless, kinda entertaining stuff), looks healthy and plays well to start off the season?

ASCHIN-

I agree that they’ll struggle early – Brown has a tendency to do that as he sacrifices wins in order to figure out his team during the first month. I just hope that they don’t dig themselves into last year’s massive hole again.

As for Arenas, you know me, I’ve been writing about this for months. I just don’t buy the fact that Orlando would take on Gilbert’s $80 million and only send Vince Carter’s expiring contract back in return (as it’s being reported). The Arenas contract is a HUGE risk and the only way the Bobcats do the trade is if they send a bunch of dead weight (Diop, Najera, Carroll) back. Agent Zero would take a great deal of the offensive load off of Captian Jack and extend the defense in a way the Bobcats have never seen before. I don’t absolutely love the move but if you could drop dead weight contracts, then do it.

Let me throw something else at you that I’ve yet to see mentioned anywhere. Derrick Brown has looked very, very good this preseason and in Summer League. Is there a chance that the Bobcats trade Gerald Wallace at some point during the season or next summer to hand the SF spot over to the youngster?

DR. E -

Whoa! Slow down there, turbo. We haven’t even resolved the PG issue and you’re talking about trading the cornerstone of the franchise. We’ve heard in the past that the Trailblazers covet(ed) Gerald Wallace, and this offseason, CBSsports.com’s Ken Berger has repeatedly mentioned that Wallace is on the Nuggets short list of players they’d like to fill their SF spot should they trade Carmelo away.

But we’ve also heard that the Bobcats have no interest in doing so. Presumably because goal #1 for the Cats again this year is to make the playoffs. So the only way I could see Gerald being traded is if the Bobcats start the season so badly that the playoffs are out of the question and the team starts looking ahead to the post-Larry Brown future. Maybe that would dovetail with the Nuggets getting around to trading Carmelo and the Cats would get involved in multi-team trade talks again.

In that case, the Cats would be looking for what all teams look for when they trade away a star and look to the future: a mix of cap relief, young talent and draft picks. So in short, I don’t think the Cats would be able to trade Wallace and retool on the fly/stay in playoff contention. It would be an admission that the season is a wash, Larry Brown is checked out, and we’re looking to rebuild. It would also be devastating for what fanbase the Bobcats do have.

ASCHIN-

Perhaps I’m approaching this from more of a NFL GM’s point of view but if at some point the Bobcats could get similar production from a guy who is making $4 or $5 million a year (after his extension) and get back either a prospect at a position of need or a high pick, wouldn’t you at least consider it?

DR. E-

Yes, that would be very Belichickian, and yes, the thought would cross my mind if Derrick Brown came on like a house afire this year. But (/begin bleeding heart fan rant) Gerald Wallace means a lot more to the Bobcats than just his statistics at this point. Not only would the fragile relationship this franchise has with its fans be severely damaged, the team would also lose its quiet, steady locker room leader.

ASCHIN-

Enough about trading away the face of the franchise, back to the PG issue. I believe one of the main reasons Larry hasn’t pulled the trigger on a deal yet is that there simply aren’t a lot of players in 2010 that can do what LB wants in his point guard. Coach wants a high percentage shooting, smart passing, strong defending team leader who knows how to manage the clock and who prevents his team from settling for bad shots. There just aren’t many players in the Association built like that these days. One guy who WE KNOW fits the criteria is Chauncey Billups and I have to think that once Carmelo is dealt the Nuggs will move towards getting younger and cheaper. If Ty Lawson comes out of the gate as strong as he did in his rookie season, I could see Denver working the phones at some point. Question is, what do the Bobcats give up for him?

DR. E-

I guess it depends on what Denver would be able to get first in a Carmelo trade, so it’s hard to say. It would also depend on what they were wanting to do; i.e. blow it up completely by taking back expirings and draft picks, or rebuild on the fly to maintain some competitiveness. At the very least, they’d probably want a PG back (Livingston or Augustin?) and an expiring (Mohammed?) as part of the deal.

Another question is whether Chauncey would accept such a trade. Remember, he’s a Denver native and was probably hoping to end his career there. He’s implied recently that if Denver rebuilds post-Carmelo, he’d have a hard time not “playing for something.” So would reuniting with Larry Brown and coming to Charlotte to play for the 7th or 8th seed in the East be enough to play for? And would having Chauncey convince Larry Brown to stick around in Charlotte a little longer?

ASCHIN-

Guess we’ll have to wait and see how this thing plays out. Jordan has just gone on record with Rick Bonnell about the roster churn, saying that it’s “less likely to continue” this season. As an experience gambler, MJ continues to put on a good poker face. Expect something to happen soon.

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

Fun With Media Day Portraits

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Gerald Wallace
Amidst the death rattle of the complex Carmelo trade (that would have netted us a legit starting point guard), the Bobcats began training camp with Media Day on Monday.

Media Day is a chance for the team to herd all the players together in order to take pictures, film video promos and bumpers for broadcasts, and give the local media ammo for puff pieces.  Maybe ammo isn’t the best choice of words…

Anyways, the best part of Media Day is the often ridiculous pictures that get taken.  The Bobcats official site has a quick gallery of some behind-the-scenes candids that probably deserves its own post (check out #13 featuring an inexplicable Stephen Jackson pose and #14 with an unfortunately chunky-appearing Sherron Collins), but what I’m more interested in are the portraits taken by the Charlotte Observer’s Jeff Siner, available here.

Portraits like these are inherently awkward; there’s a reason we gasp at our old school photos and snicker at others “Glamour Shots”.  The fact that these are grown-ass men in tank tops just makes it all the more awkward.

Lets go through these one by one.  Up above is Gerald Wallace — nothing to snark at here.  A solid photo befitting of the heart, soul and face of the franchise.  One of the few pleasures of being a Bobcats fan has been watching Gerald Wallace grow not just as a player but also as a professional comfortable with being promoted as the face of the franchise.

Jack

Stephen Jackson:  Again, nothing to snark at here, except for that souvenir ball from the team store.  Would it have killed them to use a game ball?  Also, note the not-so-subtle change to the collars on the jersey this year (compare to last years in the website banner above).  I’m guessing the all-orange is supposed to “pop” more or something like that.

DJ

DJ Augustin:  The likely starter at point guard gets the old “gimme a smile and a circus pass” treatment.  Probably also had to add “the trade fell through, you’re still the starter!” to get that smile.  Again, that ball — the UPC barcode is a nice touch.  Also a good look at the side vents showing the new material being used in NBA jerseys this year (click here for more on that).

Diaw

Boris Diaw:  Jeff Siner is truly a skilled photographer — Boris doesn’t even look fat in this pose!  Orange glow makes its first appearance in a big way.

Nazr

Nazr Mohammed:  Last year, Nazr morphed into a surprisingly competent solution at the 5 for the Bobcats.  This year, he’s apparently morphing into Lt. Worf.  Seriously, Naz, what’s going on with the forehead there?

Diop

Gana Diop:  Borrows the generic “big man pose” from Nazr, adds the orange mood lighting, and unsurprisingly managing to come off looking way more goofy.  Did we ever decide if Gana is Joey Crawford’s Avatar?

Derrick Brown

Derrick Brown:  Looks like he’s posing for a football card.  Could probably give the Panthers a lift at QB, come to think of it.

Gerald Henderson

Gerald Henderson:  Looks way too nice here.  Really needs to pose (and play) with an edge this year.  Maybe should have gone with Blue Steel.

Najera

Eduardo Najera:  Is anyone else getting a “Mexican Don Draper” vibe here?  Love the throwback dribbling posture — go get the ball out of the peach basket now.

Livingston

Shaun Livingston:  Skinniest arms in the NBA?  Skinniest arms in the NBA.  Also, is the clever arm positioning covering up the fact that he doesn’t have a number yet?

Crittendon

Javaris Crittendon:  If I was Jeff Siner, I would have printed out a couple of different pictures for Javaris, then placed them on a chair by his locker with a note that said “Pick One.”  I’m sure he’d think it was funny.

Ty Thomas

Tyrus Thomas:  I saved the best for last.  I love this photo — no joke.  Perfectly captures the potential that Thomas has.  Reminds me a bit of the famous 40 Year Old Virgin movie poster, with the innocence.  Now Tyrus the dude is no innocent — he’s had his share of professional indiscretions.  But his game is kinda raw and innocent.  Let’s hope he is as earnest as he appears to be in this picture when it comes to reaching his potential as a player this year.

Again, check out the full gallery of Jeff Siner’s photos at the Charlotte Observer’s website.

-Dr. E

What To Do with Dampier? – Part 1 (Addendum)

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Jose Calderon - Tres Points, Bee-octch!

Before I get to my second Dampier Solution, I want to throw one more possible option into the “Waive Him” category.  Last week we heard from NBA.com’s David Aldridge that the Bobcats were trying to get involved in the Houston/NO/NJ/INDY four team trade.  The ‘Cats wanted to squeeze yet another team into the mix (the Raptors) in order to send Dampier’s expiring contract to the Pacers for the Rap’s Jose Calderon.  Aldridge is and has been a top notch NBA beat guy for decades so I’ll take him at his word: The Bobcats are still interested in acquiring Calderon.

Here’s the thing that I don’t get: Jose is at best an overpaid part-time starter for the Lottery bound Raptors.  At worst he’s a salary cap albatross who’s paid like a top 10 point guard and will probably start the season on the bench behind the average Jarrett Jack.  So why are the Bobcats trying to trade a real deal asset (Dampier’s immediately expiring contract) for him?

The answer, of course, could be that the front office is clueless (and there are many signs that undeniably point that way) or perhaps this is just a smokescreen leaked by Toronto management in order to try to raise Calderon’s value throughout the League.

A Better Deal for Calderon

If in fact the Bobcats are interested in Calderon then why not offer up a more palatable combination of Gana Diop and D.J. Augustin?  Diop’s contract matches Calderon’s in length with Jose due around $6 million more over the next three seasons.

Sure, Gana hasn’t done a damn thing to prove he’s worth the League minimum (much less a full midlevel) contract over the past year but he’d be the biggest body on the Raps thin roster and he’s still young enough (28) to contribute.  Meanwhile, D.J. would add another shooter and speedster to Toronto’s open court game.  He’s also an expiring contract or a cheap trade chip if the Raps don’t want him back after next season.  On the surface, Diop’s deal would be hard to swallow but I’m not sure if Toronto will see a better offer for Jose and his 3 years, $30 million than this one.

For the Bobcats, the trade would be a solid double.  Calderon has his flaws and is flagrantly overpaid but a combination of Jose and Livingston at point guard could work.  Both players have size (Jose is listed a 6’3″) and Calderon’s shooting will come in very handy when Shaun struggles with his perimeter shot.

Diop’s absence (combined with the eventual waiving of Dampier and loss of Tyson Chandler) heightens the team’s need for depth at center.  With Shaq signing on with the Celtics for a little over the League veteran’s minimum, I can’t see a 36 year old Erik Dampier walking away from a two year $6 million dollar offer from Higgins & Co.

Ironically, taking on Jose’s $30 million would help the Bobcats with their financial situation.  By unloading a bad deal for a bad deal, the ‘Cats could solve their point guard depth while staying safely under the League’s tax number.  The team would still have another two million dollars or so to pickup a street free agent or veteran via trade for depth (see Ratliff, Theo) this year and be around $9 million under next season’s tax line.

But if I’m Rod Higgins and MJ, I don’t stop there.  It’s time for a double down.

Double Down Trade

In what would be perhaps the League’s biggest two player trade (on a pound for pound basis), the Bobcats could then ship Boris Diaw (recently spotted doing a Biggie Smalls impression at the World’s) coupled with Eduardo Najera to the Knicks for “Disorderlies” body double Eddie Curry.  From a talent perspective, this is a coup for the Knicks.  Sure, they’d have to sacrifice $11 million in cap space for next season (even with Diaw and Najera on the roster, they’d only have $33m committed) but D’Antoni would reunite with one of his favorite players from his Phoenix days and Boris, when in shape, is one of the most uniquely skilled players in the League.  The reason the Bobcats make this trade is to clean up their books for next season.  Curry’s $11 million deal expires  next summer and the ‘Cats would go into the 2011-2012 season (if there is one) $11 million under the cap and nearly $20 million under the tax line.

Bobcats Baseline - Salaries (Post Curry/Calderon Moves)

In the event that Eddie Curry gives a crap about continuing his NBA career, I can’t think of a better place for him than Charlotte.  Teaming with Mohammed and Dampier, Larry Brown will utilize Curry’s low post scoring in ways that D’Antoni’s system can’t.  Pairing Curry with an athletic power forward who operates from the perimeter like Tyrus Thomas or Derrick Brown would also help.

Bobcats Baseline State of the Roster - Calderon/Curry - Addendum

In Conclusion

Ultimately, this roster isn’t going to win the Conference Finals.  They could however push the team a few games up in the standings and make a run at the Second Round while giving the organization some breathing room to make some moves and build the team while remaining competitive for the next three to four seasons.

Until next time, Enjoy the Offseason Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

Lazy Sunday Links

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Sitting around waiting for a goal to be scored in the World Cup final on this sweltering Sunday afternoon?  Lucky for you, as is often the case on Sundays, there’s some pretty good reading out there.

LebronWadeBosh

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Brian Windhorst offers a must-read on how the stage was set for these guys to join forces in “South Beach.”  As the Sports Guy has pointed out, there’s way more to this story that will hopefully come out in time, but this is a great start:

Now that the move has been made, the veil of secrecy is being raised to a degree as people are beginning to talk. The Plain Dealer talked to numerous sources to piece together a picture of how James ended up in Miami.  It is still a somewhat fuzzy picture, but here are the broad strokes…

And if you haven’t had a chance to read any of the overwhelmingly negative national reaction to Lebron’s decision, here are two excellent pieces from Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Deadspin/New York Magazine’s Will Leitch.

Felton to Knicks

Details of Raymond’s deal with the Knicks are out.  Apparently the deal is for 2 years/$15.8 million.  There is a third year team option for a similar figure which could bring the deal in the neighborhood of $25 million over three years.  Raymond’s decision to pass up the Bobcats’ long term offer last summer is looking worse and worse from his perspective.  Still wouldn’t be surprised to see him finish his career back in Charlotte as a backup down the road.

Here’s Bonnell’s story for the Observer and some more quotes from a South Carolina paper.  You can tell it’s a South Carolina paper because of the headline: “Felton looks forward to bright lights of the Big Apple”.  Good grief.

Orlando Summer League

We’ve given the Bobcats’ mostly positive turn in last week’s Orlando Summer League short shrift here at the Baseline, but it’s not for lack of caring.  Look for a post on the subject in the coming days.  In the meantime, here’s Bonnell from the Observer with some thoughts:

Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown can be trusted with bigger roles next season… It’s dangerous to put too much weight on summer-league performances — you’re supposed to excel against D-Leaguers — but it was obvious Henderson an Brown are figuring out what it takes to be productive on the NBA level.

The national media outlets pay less attention to the Orlando Summer league relative to the bigger and better Las Vegas Summer League; and when they do cover Orlando, the rookies (Philly’s Evan Tuner and New Jersey’s Derrick Favors in this case) get most of the attention.  Despite that, there were several mentions of the Bobcats young vets looking good.

Michael Jordan in Charlotte

Scott Fowler has a nice article in today’s Observer on Michael Jordan’s increased presence in the city of Charlotte and the Bobcats front office since he, you know, bought the team:

In the three months or so since Jordan bought the Charlotte Bobcats from Bob Johnson and became the team’s majority owner, Jordan’s visibility both in the community and in the Bobcats’ offices has increased dramatically.

Jordan has bought a home in uptown Charlotte five minutes from Time Warner Cable Arena and plans to start living there part time in September…

There’s also a slideshow of pictures from the Bobcats Fantasy Camp mentioned in the article.  As I write this, the article is currently the “Most Viewed” on the Observer’s website, and I’ve already been part of an email thread amongst friends discussing it.

Clearly, people care about how engaged Jordan is with the city of Charlotte.  The Bobcats are aware of it; they included questions about “how important” it was to me whether or not Jordan purchased a home here in a survey sent to season ticket holders recently.  Seriously.

Hopefully, people at least see Jordan’s level of engagement with the city an indicator of how engaged he is with the team.  If so, fine.  I suppose it’s a reasonable proxy.

But I guess I’m just a different kind of fan (clearly, I have a blog).  I could care less whether Jordan buys a house in Charlotte, or bowls and eats at the Epicentre.  I don’t need to put on a “Jordan Brand” t-shirt and drool over him at a “fantasy” camp.

I’d be much more happy if the team made sound financial/personnel decisions, stopped whiffing on draft picks, and thus consistently put a competitive basketball team on the court.  They’ve had trouble doing that over the history of the franchise.

2010’s playoff experience was undoubtedly a positive thing, but I’m still dubious of the Cats’ chances for on-court success in the medium-term due to salary cap issues and a lack of elite young talent.

Don’t sell me a bunch of sizzling Air Jordan “value-added” side dishes when the main course needs work.

-Dr. E




Meet The Bobcats Summer League Squad, Starring Darius Miles!

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darius-miles

The Bobcats have announced their full list of Summer League Campers, and whoo-boy are there some fun names.

While most of the NBA will focused for the next couple of weeks on the machinations of a once-in-a-generation free-agency class (Lebron, D. Wade, Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amare, Carlos Boozer, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki), or the summer league debuts of their full-of-promise lottery picks (John Wall, Evan Turner, Derrick Favors, Wesley Johnson, DeMarcus Cousins), the Bobcats are going to be taking a hard look at Darius Miles.

After the Memphis Grizzlies played “the island” to Miles’ John Locke in the 2008-09 season (“Don’t tell me what I can’t do!”), Miles added some more paperwork to his knucklehead file with a marijana arrest.  That, and the fact that Miles apparently managed to corrupt OJ Mayo in the few months they shared a locker room led to Miles being out of basketball for the 2009-10 season.

But Miles resurfaced in May at a Bobcats Free Agent Mini-Camp, where Larry Brown gushed that he’d been angling to get Miles on his team since he came into the league.  Miles stated that the reason he wanted to try to come back was so his 2 year old son could see him play.  That’s nice, but I’ve seen enough Outside The Lines segments to know that it’s code for “I’m broke.”

Challenging Miles for the title of “Shadiest Character Wearing a Bobcats Practice Jersey in Orlando” will be Shawne Williams.  Williams was the 17th pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, but has bounced around the league his whole career, last playing 15 games with the Mavericks in the 2008-09 season.  Why, you might ask?  (Fast-forward to 5:00)

Larry Brown brushed off concerns about Williams’ shady past (present?) by focusing on his need to get in shape if he wants a chance at an NBA career.  Not selling drugs will help, too.

In addition to Miles and Williams, actual Bobcats Gerald Henderson, Derrick Brown and Alexis Ajinca will be in Orlando making their cases for expanded roles in the upcoming season.

And we’ve already touched on Sherron Collins, Denis Clemente, Tyren Johnson and Marquis Gilstrap in a previous post.

Rounding out the list are Alade “Yes, I’m Al-Farooq’s older, less talented brother” Aminu, Antonio “So Close, Yet So Far Away” Anderson (who nearly made the Bobcats roster last year and had two 10-days with OKC this past season), Brandon Bowman, Marcus “Gotta Have a Tarheel, Right?” Ginyard (who’s already bitching about the accommodations in Orlando), Brandon Hazzard, Nathan Jawai, Jerel McNeal, Jeremy Pargo, Pape Sow and PJ Tucker.

Those 19 guys will begin practicing in Orlando today through Sunday, July 4.  Several will likely be sent home before the Bobcats begin actual summer league games on Tuesday, July 5.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Sign Sherron Collins, Others To Summer League Roster

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Sherron Collins

After passing on the 2010 NBA Draft last week, the Bobcats have signed several undrafted rookie free agents to their summer league roster.  Ridiculous Upside is all over the topic; check them out to find out the destinations of all the other “worth a look in summer league, but not worth drafting” type of guys.

The biggest name attached to the Bobcats so far is former Kansas point guard Sherron Collins.  Despite a storied career at Kansas, Collins went undrafted mostly due to his size.  He’s a bit short for the NBA at 5’10-11″, and struggled with his weight and conditioning throughout his college career, sometimes pushing 220+.  Collins left a bad last impression when he played poorly as Kansas was knocked out in the second round of the 2010 NCAA tournament.

He then showed up at the NBA draft combine this spring weighing 217 pounds (not good when you’re supposed to be in the best shape of your life) and further compounded the problem when he weighed 229 pounds at a group workout in New Jersey a few weeks later.  The excuse of a nagging groin injury didn’t ease scouts’ concerns, and Collins’ draft potential was effectively torpedoed.

Nonetheless, he’s strong, surprisingly quick, and (2010 NCAA tournament aside) knows how to win.  KansasCity.com reports that Collins has signed a free-agent contract with the Bobcats, which gets him a spot on the summer league team and not much else.  Here’s hoping that Collins gets in shape and impresses.  Larry Brown always has room for another point guard (especially with Felton likely leaving via free agency).   Plus, if Collins makes the team, then we can recycle our old Sean May fat jokes!

The Bobcats have also reportedly gotten commitments from several other undrafted rookie free agents:

Another guy to keep an eye on is Mikhail Torrance, a 6’5″ PG from Alabama who impressed at the Portsmouth Invitational Camp this spring.  The words “6’5″ senior point guard” alone probably make Larry Brown start drooling.  Bonnell floated his name over a month ago; because of that and the fact that Torrance was widely expected to be a solid second round pick, I figured he was the target the Bobcats were aiming for when talking about buying a second rounder.

However, some sort of cardiac issue scared off GMs in the second round, and Torrance went undrafted.  He is now supposedly mulling multiple summer league offers, hopefully in addition to getting that ticker checked out.  Only the Miami Heat are mentioned, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that the Bobcats are one of the other teams interested.

After not fielding a summer league team last year in a sad attempt to save some of Bob Johnson’s cash, the Bobcats will again be a part of the Orlando Summer League this summer.  The Cats had previously confirmed that Alexis Ajinca, Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown will be a part of the summer league squad.  Games start on July 5th — just a week away — so be on the lookout for more news this week about a few more additions to round out the roster.

-Dr. E