Is All the Losing Worth It for the Bobcats?

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So what would be worth a record-settingly uncompetitive season of losing? As a fan, it’s really tough to justify why the Bobcats would be so terrible. The chance to select the next mega-talent in the 2012 Draft is nice. Freeing up some cash to sign one or two upper-tier free agents wouldn’t be so bad, either. Maybe, someone could argue that playing time for some of the Bobcats’ youngsters will  develop them into solid players down the line. It’s all kind of hypothetical, so let’s hope the Rich Cho Rehab Plan works out.

It’s All On Cho

After seeing the Oklahoma City Thunder absolutely dismantle the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, I can only dream that we see the Bobcats shine so bright on national television in the future. The Thunder are the success story, while the Sacramento Kings or Washington Wizards might show you the other side of the coin. Hopefully, Rich Cho’s involvement with the Thunder/Sonics right before they got it going will result in the same amazing kind of turnaround for Charlotte’s suffering franchise.

Ease the Pain

When it comes to free agency, we should just take two steps and jump straight to the point. Dwight Howard’s not coming. Deron Wiilliams wouldn’t be worth the trouble even if would join the club. No superstars are targeting the Queen City, but a load of mid-level talent could find a a club like the Bobcats a good place to show their skills if they can be sold on the team’s direction. Some role player types like Matt Barnes, OJ Mayo, or Marco Bellinelli might see the Cats as a good fit for their career if the team shows that they’re putting the right pieces into place. If the front office could pull the strings, they might even land a player like Nicolas Batum or Ersan Ilyasova that could breakout and veer toward All-Star status one day. So, rather than betting it all on the NBA Draft Lottery ping-pong balls over the next few years, a few smart steps in free agency could leave the Cats with a bit more control over their destiny.

Alternately, an argument could be made that a star player would be well worth this embarrassing season. Honestly, the Bobcats could really use some luck in this game. Despite their regular appearances in the Draft Lottery, Charlotte just can’t catch the big one. It’s a shame to think that Dwight Howard, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Kevin Love, Blake Griffin, and Derrick Rose have all landed in the league since the Bobcats’ first tip in 2004, and Charlotte didn’t snag one of them. Will Kentucky’s Anthony Davis prove to be worth this embarrassing season? He’s putting on a show right now in the NCAA Final Four. As Bobcats fans, we’re probably all hoping to catch a legendary performance in Monday night’s Championship game. Could Davis suit up as a Bobcat, and play like the next Chris Bosh? Would that scenario make us all forget about how bad the Bobcats were this season? And if the Bobcats don’t get the coveted first pick, does any other player help to ease the pain? Davis’ teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Connecticut’s Andre Drummond wouldn’t be bad consolation prizes. Whoever the Bobcats might pick, the team will need him to be a guaranteed starter and a potential All-Star – someone that can sell jerseys and win games. That’s not so much to ask, right?

POLL : Does a Top Draft Pick Justify This Season?

  • Definitely Does (38%, 56 Votes)
  • No Way (34%, 50 Votes)
  • Hope So (28%, 46 Votes)

Total Voters: 149

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Wallace Tip-In Gives Bobcats Win At The Buzzer

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Charlotte Bobcats vs Grizzlies, 1/9/10

Whew!

Gerald Wallace tipped in the game winner at the buzzer to give the Charlotte Bobcats an 89-87 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at the Cable Box on Saturday night.  AP recap here, box score here.

After a roller-coaster fourth quarter that featured two huge Flip Murray threes, some inexcusable missed free throws by both teams, and an amazing Gerald Wallace block of an OJ Mayo layup, Mayo was able to hit a game-tying three with 8.8 seconds left, 87-87.  Out of the timeout, the ball went to Raymond Felton.

Felton started his move on DeMarre Carroll with a few seconds left, but Carroll played tough D, pushing Raymond to his right and never allowing him into the lane.  Felton had to throw up a wild runner that missed everything long, but Gerald Wallace was crashing the boards from the opposite side.  Crash timed his jump perfectly, rose up over everybody, caught the miss cleanly and dumped it back into the basket before time expired for the win.

The Bobcats were frankly lucky to have the opportunity to win this one.  Some old bugaboos came back into play: turnovers (18) and missed layups (at least 10) were aplenty.  Stephen Jackson had a poor game statistically (6-20 FG, 0-3 3PT, 6 turnovers) and the bench (save Flip Murray) didn’t play all that well.  The Cats were down by as much as 13 late in the second quarter; they chipped away during the third and finally evened things up halfway through the fourth.

The Grizzlies are one of the league’s pleasant surprises thus far and they showed why tonight.  Even without starting PG Mike Conley (Marcus Williams got the start) they looked good.  OJ Mayo, Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol looked like a cohesive bunch.  Hasheem Thabeet even made himself useful with a couple of blocks and a perfect 2-2 FG/2-2 FT night.  The bench is kinda bare, though.

Bullets

  • The Cats improve to 13-4 at home, 16-19 overall; that’s good for 7th place in the Eastern Conference.
  • Any Baseliners struggling with their weight might want to get up with Marc Gasol.  Dude’s personal trainer/nutritionist/chef situation is on point, as he’s gone from Stanley Roberts-esque to Pau Gasol-esque since last year.
  • Tweet of the night comes from Nazr Mohammed: “I’ve played on a couple of teams & with a few allstars. G Wallace is having that type of season. It would b a travesty if he doesn’t make it”  Right on, Naz.
  • Next game is Tuesday night, the Cats are hosting another pleasant surprise from the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets at 7PM ET.

-Dr. E

Charlotte Bobcats vs. Grizzlies 1/21/09

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1.  Sleepy, sloppy win for the Bobcats at the Cable Box tonight, 101-86 over the Grizzlies.  AP story here, box score here.  The Bobcats move to 17-25.

2.  This one bore some superficial similarity to the Bobcats win over the Grizzlies in Memphis a few weeks ago, in that the Bobcats cruised to a relatively easy victory against a listless, overmatched Memphis squad both times. It’s really nice to see the Cats continue to take care of business against the handful of teams in the league that they’re actually better than.

3.  After some nice crowds recently, attendance was pretty down tonight — and for the first three quarters, the fans that were there didn’t have much reason to get excited.  This game was not played at a high level from an energy or execution standpoint.  The two teams combined for forty turnovers and generally looked like they had agreed to a secret pact before the game to play at half speed.

All that said, the Bobcats were clearly the better team, and were able to pull away in the fourth quarter by tightening up their defense and getting some easy buckets of offense.

4.  Through those first three slow-played quarters, Raja Bell was the only Bobcat who could get anything going.  He hit mid-range jumper after mid-range jumper to pace the Cats with 25 points.  And in another similarity to the fist time these two teams played, Bell hounded OJ Mayo into a distinctly below-average game.

5.  The rest of the Bobcats starters had solid games: Emeka Okafor had a man’s game, with 20 points (6-9 FG, 8-12 FT), 15 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 steals and 3 blocks.  Diaw was sorta quiet, but ended with a patented 8 point, 8 rebound, 7 assist game.  Wallace had a Diaw-esque game with 13 points, 9 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals.  Felton shot the ball pretty well (7-13 FG for 19 points) but had an unsightly six turnovers.

6.  And that’s about it for the Cats tonight.  The bench was pretty awful — just look at the +/- numbers on the boxscore.  DeSagana Diop made his debut for the Cats, playing three quiet, forgettable minutes after receiving a nice hand from the crowd.  Adam Morrison played 13 brutal minutes, shooting 1-3 and grabbing five rebounds, but committing three turnovers (two on travelling violations) and two fouls.  He’s passing up decent shots and basically looking skittish out there.

I hate to have to say this about a rookie (he shouldn’t have this much pressure on him) but the team is really missing Augustin’s scoring and leadership off the bench.  With Carroll gone, Morrison a mess, and Augustin likely to move into the starting linuep if/when Felton is traded, I shudder to think about our backcourt depth down the stretch.  Here’s your opportunity, Shannon Brown.

7.  Re: the Grizzlies?  Now granted, I have a biased sample to go on (2 losses to the Bobcats) but this team plays with no heart whatsoever.  Rudy Gay is very talented, but the knock on him coming out of college (doesn’t have the temperment/personality to lead) is proving to be true.  He disappears from games far too easily.  OJ Mayo works hard and is very fundamentally sound, but has looked very pedestrian in the two Bobcats games.  And they’re a mess at point guard — Mike Conley looks OK, but had a frightening -23 +/- tonight.

8.  Man, watching Darius Miles in person made me hate the Trailblazers even more for what they tried to do to him.  He’s clearly still an NBA player, and for a guy who’s still working his way back into game shape, looks pretty springy out there.  I’m just impressed that he’s been able to keep his mouth shut about the raw deal the Blazers tried to give him — I’d be spewing all sorts of vitriol their way if I were him.  Congratulations, Trailblazers: you did the impossible and turned Darius Miles into a sympathetic figure!

9.  Next game should be a good one — Friday night at the Cable Box against Phoenix.  Though they’re no longer playing D’Antoni’s Seven Seconds or Less style, the Suns are still a marquee team with Nash, Stoudemire and Shaq.  And there’s the added significance that, since the big J-Rich for Diaw & Bell trade, both teams are playing their best ball of the season.

Go Cats!

-E

Charlotte Bobcats @ Grizzlies 12/19/08

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1) Surprisingly easy win on the road tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies, 112-83.  AP story here, box score here.  The Bobcats get just their second road win of the season, improving to 9-18 overall.  The Grizz, who had won 5 of their last 8, fall to 9-17.

2) Another day, another trade rumor for the Bobcats.  Thursday morning, Rick Bonnell reported that the Warriors and Bobcats were talking about a Raymond Felton for Anthony Randolph OR Brandan Wright deal.  Though I’m an avowed Raymond Felton fan/apologist, the play of DJ Augustin and the potential of both of those young Warrior forwards had me saying YES YES YES just like Rufus on Fire was.

Later Thursday, ESPN’s John Hollinger included this comment in his “Insider Gems” column:

“…the Warriors would be absolutely nuts to trade Wright. His 20.23 PER is among the best at his position, though achieved in limited minutes. He also played well in his rare opportunities last season and had a strong freshman year at North Carolina. All the evidence samples are small, but combined, we have three data points that suggest he should play and none that argue against his playing.”

Nothing’s gone down yet, but Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury news reported Friday afternoon on his blog that things in Warrior-land are very tense right now; anything could happen.

3) Gotta call out Bobcats TV analyst Henry Williams, who was rocking an awful, pea-green, Craig Sager-wannabe number tonight.  Awful — words can’t do it justice.

4) So anyways, a great game by the Bobcats tonight.  Probably the best game they have played all year — everything was working.  Midway through his fantastic first quarter, Emeka Okafor got two straight buckets to give the Cats a 15-10 lead, and they never looked back.  The Cats won every single quarter, and save for a short stretch late in the third where we settled for some marginal shots, always looked in control.  The Cats finished the game shooting 65.8 % (a franchise record!), dominated the boards 41-23, and had 35 assists.

5) Okafor had yet another strong game, with 25 points on 11-16 FG, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 1 block.  He made several strong post moves (against the Grizzlies admittedly underwhelming duo of Darko Milicic and Marc Gasol) and got a bunch of easy buckets on putbacks and feeds from Boris and Raymond.  Okafor is really playing well with Diaw; let’s keep an eye on this going forward.

6) Speaking of Diaw, he has to get player-of-the-game honors tonight, going for 26 points (11-13 FG, 4-4 3PT), 10 rebounds and 3 assists.  He has looked more motivated since coming to the Bobcats than he has in years, and is an immense upgrade over the Sean May/Jared Dudley PF-by-committee that we had been seeing.

7) Great to see Gerald Wallace back in the lineup: 22 points (9-11 FG), 9 rebounds and 4 steals.  The Cats didn’t need much else; Matt Carroll was the only other Bobcat in double figures with 10.  DJ only shot 3 times tonight, and ended up with 10 assists versus 2 points.  Not often you’re going to see that kind of ratio from DJ.

8) First good game for Raja Bell tonight, as he absolutely shut down Memphis super-rookie OJ Mayo. Mayo went 2-10 for 7 points in 28 minutes, well under his gaudy 20.8 PPG average.

9) Memphis has real trouble at their PG spot.  They started Kyle Lowry, but gave more minutes to Mike Conley — neither were effective.  At one point in the second half, Conley nervously passed up an open look at a three, which drew the ire of all 17 Grizzlies fans in attendance.  Conley’s still just a 21-year-old second-year player; nonetheless, the Grizzlies have to be disappointed that he hasn’t shown much progress.

10) Next game is Saturday night, hosting the Warriors at the Cable Box at 7:00.  Another Saturday night in December, another holiday party — which means I’m passing my tickets to Mom & Dad again and will be DVRing the game (that is, if my dubious Time Warner cable box cooperates).

Could be interesting, what with the Bobcats playing so well tonight and the Warriors in the midst of a tough stretch in their schedule and apparently at DEFCON 2.

-E

Bobcats Baseline 2008 Draft Preview Part Four: Pick #8 or #9

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

Now that it’s the eve of the lottery and we’ve fantasized about moving up into one of the top three picks in the upcoming draft, let’s take a look at the more likely scenario: the Bobcats picking at #8 or #9. As I established in Part Two, there is a 72.5% chance the Bobcats will end up picking at #8 and a 16.8% chance for #9 — combined that’s almost a 90% chance we will be picking at #8 or #9. Continue reading

Bobcats Baseline 2008 Draft Preview Part Three: Picks 1-3

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Welcome to Part Three of a five-part look at the 2008 NBA Draft from the perspective of the Charlotte Bobcats. Part One was a basic look at the Bobcats’ needs this offseason. Part Two took a detailed look at the draft lottery process which determines where the team will pick. In Part Three we will examine the Bobcats’ options if they should luck out in the lottery and move up into one of the top three picks. Part Four will be a look at the team’s possible choices if they stay in their spot with the eighth (or ninth) pick, while Part Five will consider the Bobcats’ second round pick.

We’ve established that the chances of moving up into one of the top three picks in this year’s draft are slim (2.8% chance for the #1 pick; 3.3% chance for #2; 3.9% chance for #3) but we’re an optimistic sort here at Bobcats Baseline. Let’s consider the choices the Bobcats would have in each of these situations. Continue reading