Charlotte Bobcats Draft Retrospective | Part Two

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Editor’s Note: In Honor of the June 13, 2014 Charlotte Hornets re-organization news, the Baseline presents an updated, re-published account of the entire Rod Higgins era.

Part One | Part Three

Part Two: ’07-’09 The Friends of Michael Era

On May 31st, 2007 Bobcats expansion architect Bernie Bickerstaff stepped down as both coach and general manager, replaced by former Golden State executive and longtime “friend of Michael” Rod Higgins. Higgins would preside over the next four Charlotte drafts to mostly awful results though it must be noted that many of his personnel moves were likely at the behest of either an absentee Jordan or a certain kvetchy, neurotic head coach. As with Bickerstaff, Higgins’ tenure started out decent enough but nosedived fast.

The 2007 Draft: Brandon Wright PF UNC, Jared Dudley SF Boston College, Jermareo Davidson C Alabama.

Wright (8th overall selection) never played a minute in Charlotte as Higgins used his connections with the Warriors to engineer a Draft Day trade. In exchange, the Bobcats received their biggest “name” player to date, Jason Richardson. A hyper-athletic, sweet shooting two guard, “JRich” had missed a big chunk of games during the Warriors’ Playoff run the previous season and coupled with the sudden emergence of Monta Ellis, was deemed expendable by Golden State management.

With the 22nd overall selection (from TOR via CLE) the Cats picked up blue collar small forward Jared Dudley. Jermareo Davidson, a 2nd round pick selected one spot ahead of future Bobcat Josh McRoberts, was sent to Charlotte as part of the Richardson deal.

How It Played Out: At the time the JRich trade made all kinds of sense for Charlotte. First, having whiffed on Brandon Roy in the ’06 Draft, the Cats desperately needed a floor spacing, high scoring two guard to pair with Gerald Wallace. Second, they needed someone who was ready to do this immediately as both Emeka Okafor and Wallace were already in their mid-20s primes. Finally, the local fanbase hadn’t exactly come out full force for a no-name, no-win team and needed someone at least vaguely recognizable as an NBA player to get excited about.

Jason Richardson Illustration by Mike S

As a two-time Slam Dunk champion and 20ppg scorer, Richardson was exactly what the doctor ordered. He started all 82 games for the Bobcats that season, averaging 21.8ppg on 44% shooting and a phenomenal 40% from downtown — phenomenal because he shot 599 threes on the year, making 243 of them (that’s more than Kemba Walker and Ben Gordon hit combined during the ’12-’13 season). Richardson rebounded at a high rate (5.4 per), made some spectacular dunks and played hard every night. So why aren’t we talking about JRich as one of the all-time great Charlotte ballers? The answer to that question is precisely what has plagued the Bobcats franchise from the beginning: coaching and management instability.

Earlier that summer, following the departure of Bickerstaff, Jordan began a search for what he called “the next Avery Johnson“, a former player, ideally a point guard, who could relate to and inspire young prospects to win big. His choice was Sam Vincent, yet another former teammate, whose biggest head coaching gig to date was with the Nigerian Women’s National Team. I swear I didn’t make that up. Vincent’s lone season with the Cats went much as you’d expect and less than a year later Jordan replaced Vincent with (very) old chum Larry Brown.

Cut to December 10, 2008: Larry Brown so despised Richardson’s efficient (18.6 PER), exciting all-around game that he sent Jason and promising youngster Dudley (aka the Bobcats entire 2007 Draft) to the Phoenix Suns for role players Raja Bell and Boris Diaw. Despite Richardson’s outstanding first season in the QC, the Cats class of ’07 never really had a chance to shine.

How it Should Have Played Out: It’s easy to say that Charlotte should have kept the 8th pick and selected Florida center Joakim Noah, who went one selection later to the Bulls. But at the time the organization was committed to Okafor long term and there were major questions regarding Noah’s role in the pro game. Had the organization resisted overpaying Emeka (again, they bid against themselves) and not kowtowed to Larry Brown’s every neurotic wish, Okafor would likely still be manning the middle for Charlotte today as a solid Top-15 NBA center. Had the organization stuck with their strategy and either retained Bickerstaff or hired a competent head coach who could work with the roster he was given, the JRich Draft Day trade would look a lot better in retrospect and it’s likely Richardson’s name would be synonymous with the franchise as much as Wallace’s has. The organization could have also given Dudley at least another year or two to blossom before trading him for a greater return.

2007 Draft Fun Fact 1: To date, only two of the twelve Bobcat first round draft choices have signed rookie deal extensions: Okafor and Dudley. That pretty much says all you need to know about the Charlotte Bobcats as a franchise.

2007 Draft Fun Fact 2: The Bobcats are so bad at drafting that picking Dudley one spot ahead of Wilson Chandler isn’t even worth mentioning. Just a run of the mill Bobcat screwup.

Grade: B+ (for the Draft Day haul), F- (for what they did with it)


The 2008 Draft: D.J. Augustin PG Texas, Alexis Ajinca PF France

Brown was hired just two months before this Draft and had already started making demands on Higgins and Jordan to get the players he wanted. Even though Brown had been both a point guard and a Tar Heel himself, he was not a fan of incumbant starter Raymond Felton and wanted the organization to draft a new point man whom Brown could mold from scratch.

The story is by now infamous. The Bobcats were on the clock with the 9th overall pick and had sent a representitive to the podium to relay the selection of Stanford center Brook Lopez. Larry threw a hissy fit at the very last moment and the pick was changed to Augustin, a five foot ten inch sophmore from Texas. But Larry wasn’t done yet. He was convinced that there would be another quality big available later in the first round so urged the Cats to make a blind trade with Denver for the 20th overall pick in exchange for a future first rounder. With that selection, Charlotte selected the great French BMX rider Alexis Ajinca.

How It Played Out: Classic Bobcats. They make a mistake and reach for a point guard in ’05 (Felton), assign him three coaches in four years and decide that he’s a bust. Learning nothing from the experience, they use another Lottery pick to reach for another PG (Augustin) three years later which creates an unnecessary controversy that ends up screwing up both of their careers. Presto! Ah-la-ka-FAIL!

D.J. had some nice moments in Charlotte early (43% 3pt FG percentage as a rook) but never really put it together. To the surprise of no one, Augustin’s size was a major liability on defense and unlike the handful of successful small lead guards, D.J. couldn’t finish anything at the rim. Once defenses figured out that Augustin could only punish them on the perimeter, D.J.’s shooting percentages tanked. Four seasons later, he signed on as the Pacers’ backup for the league minimum.

It is an extemely impressive feat that  Alexis Ajinca makes the Bobcats’ Mount Rushmore of terrible draft picks – the exclusive club that it is. What Brown and Higgins saw in Alexis is a mystery: He had no real basketball skills, just a tall lanky man-child who could occasionally hit a jumper. His attitude and work ethic were questioned from the start. Even fellow frenchmen and teammate Diaw seemed to distance himself from the kid. Long story short, Ajinca was jettisoned to Dallas less than three years later as part of the Tyson Chandler reverse salary dump, never to be seen or heard from again.

How it Should Have Played Out: The 2008 NBA Draft may go down as one of the greatest draft classes of all time. We’re only five years in and already have one MVP (Derrick Rose), five All-Stars, at least a dozen legit Playoff-quality starters along with another dozen ten-year career guys. The Bobcats had to try REALLY HARD to screw up a Draft like this – especially since they owned two of the Top 20 picks – yet somehow, some way, Brown and Higgins pulled it off.

Let’s start with the obvious. They should’ve drafted Lopez. It was just as obvious then as it is now: seven footers with skills like Brook’s are a lot rarer than mediocre 5’10” point guards. Case closed. And just how bad was the Ajinca pick? Here are the guys drafted immediately after Alexis: Ryan Anderson, Courtney Lee, Kosta Koufos, Serge Ibaka, Nicholas Batum, George Hill, Darrell Arthur. You could’ve picked a random stranger off the street, blindfolded them and had them throw a dart at the draft board and ended up with a better prospect. So yeah, instead of walking away from the decade’s deepest draft with Lopez/Ibaka, Lopez/Batum or Lopez/Hill, Charlotte reached for two guys who’ll be lucky to total nine seasons in the league combined. There are literally not enough F’s or minus signs I can give this debacle.

GRADE: F—————


The 2009 Draft: Gerald Henderson SG Duke, Derrick Brown SF Xavier

How It Played Out: Whoa! What’s this? Did the Bobcats find a way to not completely blow a Draft???!!! While I would’ve loved to have seen the team make an aggressive move up to take homegrown Steph Curry (7th overall), staying put at pick 12 and landing Gerald Henderson was as big a Draft win as this organization has had since its inception (a sad truth). Sure, passing on Jrue Holiday and Ty Lawson subtracts some points but the Cats already had two Lotto PGs on the roster and needed some youth at the wings. The best part about Henderson is that he was likely the organization’s second choice as rumors before the draft had Larry Brown very high on Louisville’s Terrence Williams (of course he was). Thanks to former Nets GM Rod Thorn, T-Will went 11th and the Cats dodged a major bullet.

This July, Henderson may very well be, wait for it, the THIRD Bobcats draft pick to sign a rookie deal extension!* It probably won’t be with Charlotte but beggars can’t be choosers. While it’s doubtful Henderson ever earns a trip to an All-Star game, as a plus defending, Rip Hamilton-lite, Gerald has become an honest to goodness NBA player.

*Editor’s Note: Henderson did indeed sign an extension later that summer (3yrs, $18m) – thus becoming the SECOND ever Bobcat draft pick to sign an extension with the team.

It didn’t start out that way. Coach Brown, likely still bummed that he didn’t get T-Will, benched Henderson for most of his rookie season while 2nd Rounder Derrick Brown stayed in the rotation. Midway through year two Coach Brown was ousted and “Hendo” saw his playing time double under new coach Paul Silas. In years three and four, Henderson was a proud co-Captain of Team Tank, providing some of the era’s rare highlights. His reward? At least $5-6 million annually from someone this July. Nice work Gerald, you’ve earned it!

How it Should Have Played Out: Ideally, the team would’ve used the 2010 pick that they swapped for Alexis Ajinca to trade up five spots for Steph Curry. One can only imagine how the QC’s favorite hoops son would’ve have ignited the fanbase new and old. Watching Steph swish deep threes while wearing his dad’s old Hornets #30 would’ve made even the most hardened of Charlotte NBA fans misty. Actually, no, don’t imagine it. It’ll just make you sad. And then angry. And then sad all over again.

GRADE: B


Rock Bottom

In May of 2010, the Charlotte Bobcats made their first ever Playoff appearance. The series wasn’t competitive – they were swept by the Orlando Magic in four games – but young franchises traditionally celebrate their initial break-throughs into the post-season, toasting their efforts as the first of many appearances to come. But this wasn’t the case with the Bobcats at all. In fact, the appearance signaled the beginnings of a very dark time in Queen City hoops history. A time the franchise is still mired in today.

In order to achieve their lone Playoff cameo, Michael Jordan and Rod Higgins had sacrificed the franchise’s future with short-sighted, cap-killing trades and draft pick give-aways while handing over whatever talent that was left to a senile phony of a head coach primed for sabotage. Suddenly, all of the franchise’s past blunders would collide, setting them on a collision course with rock bottom.

The 2010 Draft: No Pick.

How It Played Out: Want to know how the Charlotte Bobcats became the national laughingstock they are today? Let’s take a short detour back to the year 2010 and see how Jordan & Higgins demolished the franchise’s future in Four Easy Steps…

STEP ONE: The Bobcats didn’t have a first round draft pick that year because they had traded it two seasons earlier for Alexis Ajinca.

STEP TWO: The team traded ANOTHER future first round pick at the Trade Deadline for Tyrus Thomas. And since you can’t trade a future first round pick for a restricted free agent then have him walk, MJ and Higgins promptly signed Thomas to a 5-year $40 million contract that July.

STEP THREE: The Tyrus contract was bad news for 2005’s fifth overall pick (and starting point guard) Raymond Felton. The team was in major cap trouble and had another Lottery point guard (D.J. Augustin) already on the payroll. Just five years earlier the team had choosen the Felton/Sean May combination over Chris Paul and now both were gone via free agency netting zero compensation in return.

STEP FOUR: Having dedicated over half of their cap space to the legendary likes of Gana Diop, Nazr Mohammed, Boris Diaw and the noveau riche Tyrus Thomas, Jordan & Higgins decided to make a final major move to trim salary. Their solution: Trade Tyson Chandler to Dallas for the instant cap relief of Erick Dampier’s unguaranteed contract and over $20 million worth of Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera. The trade was ridiculed from the moment it happened and only looks worse with time. Let’s break it down:

Jordan & Higgins had painted themselves into such an unnecessary salary corner over the years that they had to choose Diop and Mohammed over future Defensive Player of the Year Chandler. That’s a tragically terrible move on its own but IN ADDITION to this devestation, they were somehow talked into taking on three more years of dead-weight, end-of-the-bench salary in the forms of Carroll and Najera. The trade was so lopsided that it actually swung an NBA Championship ten months later. It was simply the worst transaction in franchise history (which is no small feat) and possibly the league’s worst trade since Boston’s McHale/Parish heist of Golden State thirty-five years earlier.

Now back to the 2010 Draft…

How It Should Have Played Out: Had the Bobcats not traded their pick, they would have selected 16th overall. Kevin Seraphin, Eric Bledsoe and Avery Bradley were picks 17, 18 and 19 respectively. None are likely to be All-Stars but each is a bonafide rotation player and are drastically more talented and valuable than Alexis Ajinca ever will be. Between his lowly Drafts, questionable trades and a blatant display of nepotism (wasting a roster spot on his son Cory over two seasons), it is absolutely ASTOUNDING that Rod Higgins still has a job in the league – with the same team no less! All I can say is, those compromising photos of MJ better be worth hiding.

GRADE: F- (for the Draft),
F————————————-(for the Higgins Era)


NEXT UP IN PART THREE: MJ HIRES A SMART PERSON TO PRESS RESET!

- AS Chin

Read More:  Charlotte Bobcats Draft Retrospective | Part One


POLL : Best Bobcats Draft Pick

  • Emeka Okafor (9%, 27 Votes)
  • Kemba Walker (62%, 188 Votes)
  • Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (11%, 32 Votes)
  • Raymond Felton (4%, 13 Votes)
  • Gerald Henderson (14%, 41 Votes)

Total Voters: 301

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Bobcats Get Gutsy Overtime Win In Phoenix

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Suns 1/26/10

Running diary-style, like usual for these late-starting Western Conference road games.

The Suns come in 26-20, in 7th place in the Western Conference.  Leandro Barbosa is out after wrist surgery, Grant Hill will sit tonight with a heel, Amare Stoudemire is on the trading block, and I’ll be trying to catch my Gamecocks as they attempt to hang with John Jesus Christ Wall and the Wildcats on ESPN during commercial breaks.  Let’s go.

In pregame, the crew mentions that Boris Diaw still owns a house in Phoenix, and got a haircut in his old hometown today.  What, you can’t get a decent buzzcut in Charlotte?

First Quarter

Well, this is not quite like the start of the last Bobcats/Suns matchup — just 10 days ago at the Cable Box the Cats blitzed the Suns right out of the gates for a 43-22 first quarter on the way to a 125-99 win.  Looking back, that was my favorite home game of the year so far.  Here it’s 33-26 Suns after one — and the Suns are already 4-7 from 3PT range.

Boris led the way for the Cats with 12 points on 5-6 FG in the quarter.

Second Quarter

42-36 Suns, 6:29 left and Amare picks up his 3rd foul and has to come out.  Time for the Cats to make a run, and Jack gets a 3-point play on the ensuing possession — 42-39.

Ooof, after his great start to the season, Nazr Mohammed has really come down to earth over the last week or two.  He’s 0-7 FG right now and I’m actually starting to look forward to seeing Tyson Chandler get back in the lineup.

Nice little kerfluffle between Raymond and Channing Frye as they draw double techs after jawing at each other.  I’d take Raymond in a heartbeat in that one.  Channing Frye does not want any of the pride of Latta, South Carolina.

Well, that’s no good.  Despite holding Steve Nash and Amare Stoudemire to a combined 2 points/0-8 FG in the first half, the Cats find themselves down 54-48.  The Suns are 7-15 from 3-point range; the Cats are 0-4.

Meanwhile, Gamecocks/Wildcats is a far more compelling game at this point, despite my Gamecocks’ best efforts to slow the game down and ugly it up.

Third Quarter

Nice little 7-2 push to open the second half for the Cats as they cut the Suns lead to 56-55, but can’t get over the hump and the Suns (Dudley, specifically) hit another three.  And Nash with yet another three, 62-55, just like that.

And now its’ the Bobcats turn to heat up: Jack and Felton with back-to-back threes to cut it to one again — 62-61.  But again they can’t get over the hump with a turnover, then giving up a Stoudemire layup on the other end.

Huge highlight there as Gerald Wallace smokes J-Rich on a behind-the-back-dribble from the left wing, then stuffs it on Stoudemire, who wisely didn’t challenge.

Wow: 8 times tonight the Cats have either cut the lead to one or tied it, only to see the Suns respond with a three.  Amazing, just happened again with Nash, 72-69 Suns.  Suns now 11-20 from three-point distance overall.

Bobcats hanging around – Stephen Jackson with another basket (14 so far this quarter) to make the score 77-73, but Amare gets Gerald back on the other end with big dunk.

Cats can’t break through, but Suns can’t pull away, either. 83-77 after three.  By the way, Stoudemire gets 10 in the quarter, Nash 9 — shoulda kept my mouth shut.

Fourth Quarter

Cats again cut it to one early in the quarter, 83-82, and yet again can’t get a stop on the other end, as the Suns get two straight buckets to bump the lead back out to 87-82.  So frustrating…

And the Cats FINALLY do it.  6 straight to take the lead 88-87 and get a stop on the next possession.  Only to give up back-to-back Nash and Frye threes soon after.  Flip with a three to tie it back up 93-93 — back and forth.  Fun finish on the way?

Gerald Wallace fouls out on a shaky offensive foul call with 3 minutes left.  Ouch.  Derrick Brown will get some key minutes.

Nash killing us here, with a big three, a big two and a steal.  Suns up 3, 98-95 under a minute left.  Jack with a big three!!!  Tie game!!!  Dudley misses a potential game-winner at the buzzer and we’re going to OT – 98-98.  What a finish!

Overtime

The Cats get the first two buckets of OT on a Jack jumper and a Felton drive; meanwhile, they turn up the pressure on the defensive end, getting multiple stops.  Dudley answers with a three to make it 102-101, but Boris turns in two big plays in a row, hitting a runner for 104-101, then blocking Nash’s jumper on the other end.

Flip then gets a huge three for 107-101 to give the Cats some breathing room.  Free throws from here on out could ice it.

And that’ll do it.  Raymond hits 2-2 FT for a 114-109 lead with 9 seconds left; Nash can’t hit and that’s ballgame.

Postmortem

Huge win given the Bobcats’ struggles on the road this year (and combined with the Gamecocks’ upset win over Kentucky, I’ll be sleeping easy tonight).  Even bigger considering that the Cats didn’t ever have a lead in this game until under 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter.  The Cats are now 1-1 on the Western Conference road trip so far, and back to .500 overall (the wallpaper lives another day!).

In overtime, the Cats did a nice job of playing to their strength — they tightened up on defense and forced a couple of turnovers, which led to a big clutch three from Flip to seal the deal.

Jack ended up with 30 points on 11-23 FG/4-8 3PT with 9 rebounds, 5 assists.  Boris gets a double-double with 24 points/11 rebounds, and Gerald had 21/9 before fouling out.

The most glaring differences in the box score are turnovers (Bobcats 12, Suns 18) and points in the paint (Bobcats 54, Suns 36).  The Suns ended with 15 threes to the Bobcats’ 7, but the Cats made up the difference by getting 25-30 FT to the Suns 16-17.

The Cats get a couple days off; next game is Friday night at 10:30 PM ET against the Warriors.  I would say “let the slobbering over Steph Curry by the Charlotte media begin” but it already has.

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats Season In Review – Part 3

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Trades & Acquisitions

The All New, All Improved Bobcats

Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and Vlad Radmanovic

The Charlotte Bobcats made three major in-season trades during the ’08-’09 season involving eleven different players. Coupled with the free agent signings of Juwan Howard, Cartier Martin and assorted other D-Leaguers, Charlotte suited up a total of 24 players – most in the League. One anonymous fan commented on SI.com that “the Bobcats make more roster moves than a fantasy team.” It sure seemed that way.

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Charlotte Bobcats @ Mavs 12/11/08

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1. The shorthanded Bobcats lose again tonight, 95-90 on the road to the Mavs.  Cats drop to 7-16, Mavs improve to 12-9.  This also moves the Cats to 0-10 all time versus the Mavs.  AP story here, box score here.

2. Apologies for the lack of a post on last night’s game versus the Hornets.  Suffice to say, the game was an afterthought yesterday for us here at the Baseline.  Apparently, it was for the Cats, too, as they looked shellshocked and got beat soundly.  Perhaps the most disappointing thing was that neither Shannon Brown, Matt Carroll or Adam Morrison (especially Adam) were able to do anything with the extra minutes they were given.

3. And now for a few leftover thoughts on the trade:

a) I’m not gnashing my teeth over the loss of Jared Dudley as much as many others are.  Yes, he was a decent player who was on a cheap rookie deal.  But I think his contributions have been overrated because he is a low-maintenance/dirty work/hustle stats kind of player that us internet geeks tend to fawn over.  He was also almost frighteningly unathletic, and I think that’s going to prevent him from having much of a career.  Lastly, he isn’t nearly as funny as he (and Bobcats PR) seem to think he is.

b) It’s laughable how ill-informed some people who are paid to know and talk/write about the NBA actually are.  I know there’s a lot of pressure to fill up space with words, but don’t make stuff up just because it sounds good.  Couple of examples: last night I caught Bobcats color guy Henry Williams extolling Boris Diaw’s rebounding prowess.  Oh, really?  Hint: scroll all the way down and you can see that Diaw is one of the worst rebounding PFs in the league.  And in Tom Sorenson’s blog post on the trade, he speaks of Diaw’s “athleticism” and “leaping” ability.  Are they mixing up Diaw with Josh Smith, or Tyrus Thomas?

c) Along those same lines, I got a chuckle out of some comments from hopeful Phoenix fans around the internet.  They think that Jason Richardson is going to be an explosive scorer, a beast finishing on the fast break, and a go-to guy at the end of the game.  Reality: Jason Richardson occasionally has some explosive quarters, but he’s not an elite scorer.  And it’s really looking like the second half he had last season was flukey – most of his numbers have regressed to his career means this year.  His athleticism has diminished considerably over the past couple of years; and it was limited to begin with.  Because he was primarily a 2-footed power jumper and not a 1-footed leaper, he really wasn’t that great at slashing, driving, or finishing on the break.  He needs space and time to plant and jump of two feet – space and time are at a premium in the NBA.  And if anything, he’s shown during his time with the Bobcats that he’s anything but a go-to guy down the stretch.  From last year’s botched inbounds pass that allowed Ray Allen to hit a heartbreaking, game-winning three, to the two missed free throws with 30 seconds left against Miami on Monday night, he’s been a bit of a choke artist for us.

d) All that said, the Suns definitely got the better of this trade.  That extra year on Diaw’s contract (2011-12) is the killer that puts it over the edge in a bad way for the Cats.  All we can hope for is that Diaw is somehow motivated by the change in scenery and recreates his contract year for us.

4) Back to the Mavs game: this one wasn’t as pitiful as last night’s game in New Orleans.  I missed the first quarter and a half and was surprised to see the Cats up by a few points midway through the second.  But they were never able to pull more than a few points away from the Mavs, and I spent the rest of the second half just waiting for the other shoe to drop; or rather, for Dirk or Jet to drop in a back-breaking three.  Dirk eventually dropped two such threes: one with six minutes left to give the Mavs a six point lead, and another with 30 seconds left for a four point lead.

5) The Cats started each half with an odd lineup of DJ, Felton, Carroll, Okafor and Hollins.  Okafor also played with Mohammed for a stretch as well, and from what I could tell, it seemed like Mek was matched up on Dirk quite a bit.  Was this a bit of foreshadowing for the rumored acquisition of a “true” center and Okafor’s move to PF?  I hope not, as I’ve made my thoughts on the proper usage of Emeka quite clear in the past; but at least for tonight, Okafor seemed to acquit himself just fine to playing the 4.  He also had another intriguing offensive game, going for 27 points on 12-17 FGs, while adding 17 rebounds.  While Okafor has had a several good outings recently, I’m not about to get excited about it.  I’m sure he’ll drop back into one of his funks soon enough.

6) With a bit more production from the any of the guards tonight, we might have been able to pull away from the Mavs at some point and finally win one against them.  But Felton and Augustin were a combined 9-32 from the field, while Carroll, Morrison and Shannon Brown combined for just 19 points between the three of them.

7) On a positive note, Ryan Hollins scored 7 points on just 2 shot attempts.  He made both those attempts (both dunks) and hit 3-4 FTs.  I love to watch Hollins dunk, because he does it with the exuberance that my friends and I did when we were 16 and lowered our driveway baskets to 8.5 feet.  He seems to get the same simple, childlike pleasure out of it that we did, too.

8) Next game is a home match against the Pistons Saturday night at 7:00.  Diaw and Bell will likely be in the lineup, and if Gerald hasn’t been traded, he should be too.  At least it’ll be interesting…

-E

STATE OF THE ROSTER: Post JRICH Trade 12/10/08

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Phoenix Suns

Well…

There are a couple of ways of looking at this trade.  Let’s start with the negative…

1. The Bobcats trade their most recognizable and most offensively explosive player to the Phoenix Suns for two rotation players.  They didn’t get Steve Nash, nor Amare Stoudamire, nor Barbosa, nor Shaq, nor did they receive any draft picks or significant cap space.  They got a sometimes productive starting power forward in Boris Diaw and an aging defensive ace SG in Raja Bell.  And to top it all off, they have to send the Suns a 2nd round draft pick and include everyone’s favorite “Hustle Stats” hero in Jared Dudley.  Diaw has battled conditioning problems over the past few seasons and has regressed mightily since his Most Improved Player award in ’05.  The good news is is that Sean May now has an “Eatin’ Buddy” and (being French) Diaw can now instruct young, emaciated PF Alexis Ajinca in the fine art of American Obesity.  “First you must layer ze mayonaise gently on ze baguette.  Zen you add ze lump crab meat.  Voila!  Zat is what makes le magnifique Crab Bread!”

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TRADE!

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JRICH a BOBCAT NO MORE

UPDATED 12/10 10:38pm

The Bobcats traded Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley to the Phoenix Suns today for Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and rookie PG Sean Singletary.

SI.com story here.

ESPN.com story here.

Bonnell’s blog post here.

Pro Basketball’s post here.

ESPN.com Shootaround video breakdown here.

Hollinger review of the trade here.

Charlotte Observer: Scott Fowler’s reaction here.

Charlotte Observer: Tom Sorenson’s reaction here.

Arizona Republic: Bob Young’s reaction here.

What does this mean for the Bobcats?  More to come from Bobcats Baseline…

-ASChin