Bobcats Baseline Season 9 | Week 2 Recap

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“Even good luck befuddles the fool.” -someone famous or something I just made up

“You can only play who’s in front of you.” -our friend Michael Raciappa quoting some random college football coach.

We should all be as lucky as the Charlotte Bobcats have been over the past week: Four opponents, four teams missing key players:

  • In last Friday’s 107-99 loss at New Orleans, the Bobcats couldn’t capitalize on Eric Gordon’s mystery knee injury despite Ben Gordon’s 34 off the pine.
  • The following night’s 101-97 OT victory versus the Mavs (first in franchise history) was due in large part to the absence of Dirk Nowitzki and Shawn Marion.
  • Tuesday’s 92-76 drubbing of the Wizards was certainly affected by Washington’s lack of John Wall and Nene Hilario.
  • Finally, in what should be the easiest road test of the season, Charlotte escaped Minnesota with a 89-87 victory despite playing a Wolves team minus five of their top seven players.

Of course, this is by no means meant to diminish Dunlap & Company’s accomplishments. Luck or no luck, you still have to execute and the Bobcats did so better than any Charlotte basketball team has in years.

Three Thoughts on the Week

#1 Byron Mullens MIGHT BE turning the corner.

We witnessed some great things from Mully over the past two games. He stayed (mostly) inside, showing off a sweet turn-around on the block. He drove. He rebounded (including 15 against Minny). He blocked shots. He proactively rotated. Did I mention he stayed inside? Big IF but if Mullens can continue this type of game going forward, we are all going to be very happy‚ most of all Byron himself, who’ll certainly enter into the world’s richest 1% come July.

#2 CHO-SANITY!

Longtime readers will know that I’ve been leading the Cho-parade from Day 1. And it’s not just the Asian-American pride. Cho represents the changing tides of pro-sports teams previously run by the “gut” (call it the Larry Brown method) into modern organizations run like successful companies. If Cho makes a move, rest assured it is always quantified in various terms of risk and reward. No move illustrates this more so than the amnesty claim for Brendan Haywood. Viewed as just another salary cap mistake in a long-line of overpaid Maverick big men, the Cats snagged Haywood for an amnesty bid of just over $2 million per season over three years. Think about it, Charlotte is getting 26-28 minutes a night of two-way, LEGIT NBA center production for $500k LESS THAN they pay Reggie Williams. Sure, he’ll be 36 when the deal expires but so what? A self-professed hoops junkie, Haywood at the worst will act as another coach by year three, at near veteran’s minimum rate. Forget Linsanity, Cho-sanity all day everyday.

#3 Help in the Half Court

With Gerald Henderson still out with a foot injury and Ben Gordon dealing with personal matters, the Bobcats’ offense devolved into transition buckets and shotclock bailouts for most of the last two games. Gordon should be back Saturday night versus Memphis but Charlotte will need to find more staple plays for easy buckets. Recently acquired Hakim Warrick may help – his one true skill, diving on pick and rolls, is something the Bobcats haven’t had on the roster – but I wouldn’t get too excited about another team’s 12th man revitalizing the offense. Ultimately, the Bobcats will need another weapon, either a post-up 4 or 5 or a dynamic SG, who can generate offense when the game slows down.

-ASChin

Bucks Take Down Bobcats at Home to Go 7-3

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Bucks Charlotte Bobcats @ Milwaukee 11/20/09

Bucks play another outstanding game tonight as they turn away a directionless Bobcats team 95-88 Friday night at the Huey.  The Bucks are now 7-3 for the season (good for 5th in the conference) and 6-1 at home.  Box score here.  AP recap here.

1. Be Thankful for Brandon Jennings

A Karmic Shift has occurred.  Not sure how it happened but after suffering through years of lackluster effort and constant rebuilding, the Bucks have finally seemed to put it all together.  We here at Bucks Baseline have been through it all, the injuries, ownership hijinks, salary dumps, coaching changes, pissing off the Chinese government, you name it but on June 25th, when the Bucks selected Brandon Jennings with the 10th overall selection, our luck finally changed.

Just six days ago, on November 14th, Jennings officially started “beasting it” (as our friend “eddie” likes to say, lol!) by dropping 55 points on the Golden State Warriors.  Brandon came into tonight’s game with the Bobcats ranked 9th overall in the NBA in scoring and bettered his 24.8ppg average by dropping 29 on the Bobcats (boo-yeah!) on 12-23 shooting from the field.  Jennings looks so smooth and natural out there scoring easy basket after easy basket.  It seems that his quickness, combined with his left-handed shot and total belief in his game just throws opposing defenders off.  No part of Brandon realizes that he shouldn’t be this good this fast!  I think he’s an All-Star this season for sure.  Basically, he’s the complete and total opposite of Charlotte’s PG combo (Raymond Felton/D.J. Augustin) as those two guys look completely mechanical and have no confidence in their jump shots.  I think maybe Larry Brown has been over-coaching them.  Glad I’m not a Bobcats fan!  It would be tough to watch those two guys try to lead a team for 82 games, that’s for sure.  In fact, maybe we should call them “Matthew” and “Fox” because they’re totally LOST (LMAO!).

2. Future’s So Bright We Gotta Wear Shades

Did I mention that the Bucks took out the Bobcats tonight despite playing with three of our starters?  That’s right, Andrew Bogut (16ppg/9rpg), Michael Redd (career 20ppg) and our best defender, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, all sat out with minor injuries.  Can you imagine how easily we would have dismantled this lottery bound Bobcats team if we had our full roster?  What’s best is that during the 3rd quarter (when the Bucks stretched out to a 16 point lead) I had a little time to compare salary cap situations between the two teams.  Did anybody realize that the Bobcats are basically capped out until 2013?  Ha!  Hey MJ, Isiah is on the phone, he wants his cap management strategy back (lol)!   The best part is is that the Bobcats don’t even have any All-Stars or potential All-Stars on that expensive roster.  Stephen Jackson, Boris Diaw and Gerald Wallace are nice veteran complementary players but neither of those guys will ever sniff an All-Star game before 20-year-old Brandon Jennings does.  Oh, and those three Bobcats players are owed a combined $90 million over the next four seasons (YOWSA!) while 25ppg scorer Jennings is only owed $10 million.  Just shows you that the teams that drafts well will always beat the ones who don’t.  And yeah, MJ, at least Isiah knew how to draft (HA!).

Our other young players played very well tonight as well.  Hakim Warrick came off the bench tonight to play 31 minutes in Bogut’s absence and scored 16pts and grabbed 9 boards.  He looked a little bit like a younger, more energetic, $3 million a year Gerald Wallace.  Our 2nd round selection, PG Jodie Meeks played some nice minutes in relief of Ridnour and Jennings by dropping 8pts (7 more points than that combined outputs of Bobcat lottery picks Gerald Henderson and Augustin).

Have to say that the Bucks immediate future (with the return of Redd/Bogut/a Moute) and long-term future (just $19 million in guaranteed salaries as of July 2011) look amazing.  Timbuk3 said it best: The Future’s So Bright (I Gotta Wear Shades).

3. Tale of Two Coaches

Scott Skiles and Bobcats coach Larry Brown share a lot of similarities.  They’re both former PGs who are known for their emphasis on defense.  Both have been accused of over-coaching in the past.  This season, Skiles seems to have turned it around though as the entire Bucks team looks loose and the offense looks as liquid-fluid as we’ve ever seen.  The Bobcats meanwhile look like they are thinking through every possession.  You would have thought that Charlotte would be less mechanical after trading Mr. Roboto himself, Emeka Okafor, during the summer but they look even more unnatural this season without him.  Sucks to be them.

IN CONCLUSION

The Bucks look like a guaranteed Playoff team come this Spring and when Bogut & Redd come back into the lineup to join the League’s newest Superstar Brandon Jennings, LOOK OUT!  Everybody have a great weekend, enjoy the win and be thankful that you aren’t a Charlotte Bobcat fan.

Peace Out.

C.S. Adams

10/20/09 Bobcats vs. Bucks (Preseason)

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Some quick thoughts and links after the Bobcats preseason win over the Bucks, 94-87 at the Cable Box on Tuesday night:

  • AP recap here, box score here, Bonnell’s Observer story here, Observer’s photo gallery here.
  • No Bell (more on that later), no Ajinca.  Chandler was suited up, though.  Cats started Ray, DJ, Crash, Diaw and Chandler.
  • Chandler only played 16 minutes and didn’t contribute much on the stat sheet, but looked fine.  Great energy cheering from the bench, too (for real, not facetious).
  • Box score lists the attendance at 7500 — amazing pie-in-the-sky number.  In reality, there were no more than 2000.  Even that may be generous.  It will be interesting to see the attendance for first Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday night game against a non-marquee Eastern Conference foe during the regular season.
  • Nazr was awesome in the second quarter, going for 12 points with several dunks and some o-rebs.
  • Gerald Henderson was easily the most impressive Bobcat, going for 14 points (on 7-8 shooting) in 14 minutes and a big +17 +/-.  He had a sweet baseline move with a great finish that the Observer photographer captured nicely — check it out in the photo gallery.
  • Bucks thoughts: check out Ridnour’s -24 +/- in 16 minutes — ouch!  I thought Hakim Warrick signed with the Bucks basically because he would be the default starter at PF — but he came off the bench for only 5 mins — just resting, or in Skiles’ doghouse already?  I was actually impressed with Brandon Jennings — that year in Italy may have done him some good after all.  Save one bad turnover in the first half, he played under control and did a seemingly good job running the show for the Bucks starting unit.
  • Referee thoughts: with word leaking to the media that the NBA is on the verge of coming to an agreement with the refs, the replacements are getting their last hurrah.  Aside from a couple of bad calls (Scott Skiles took umbrage a coupe of times, garnering a tech for his troubles at one point) I really couldn’t notice a huge difference with them.  As a matter of fact, it was nice that they were rather anonymous and that the vets/coaches were not palling around with them.
  • Raja Bell’s injury news casts a huge pall over the few positive bits in this preseason win.  After the game, Larry Brown revealed that Raja has a torn ligament in his left (non-shooting) wrist.  There is a chance he could rehab it and play this season, but he may need surgery that would require 2 months of recovery and 2 months of rehab.  That means we’d be without him for the bulk of the season.  Anyone want to bet on the rehab?  Because I’ll double your bet and place it on the surgery.  Raja’s going to a specialist in Chicago for a second opinion; a specialist whose specialty is to do surgery on wrists — what do you think his second opinion is going to be?  Good news if you’re Gerald Henderson or Flip Murray.  Bad news if you’re hoping for a playoff berth.
  • Speaking of playoff berths, here’s ESPN’s roster of “experts” predicting the season for the Cats.  While I don’t necessarily disagree that the Cats are going to struggle on the fringes of the 8th playoff spot, I just have to point out some of the more ridiculous assertions here: both David Thorpe and John Hollinger make me wonder what video/statistics of Emeka Okafor they have when they assert that losing Okafor hurts the Bobcats offensively.  Jalen Rose wonders if the Cats will re-sign Felton — I assume he means next off-season, which has no bearing on this season whatsoever.  Chad Ford has probably the most accurate take, and Chris Broussard the most biting.

- Dr. E