Quick Start to Bobcats Preseason News

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preseason-09-si

It seems like the long drought of non-NBA action was so long ago now that NBA Preseason is underway.  The Bobcats have shown some good signs of growth as they’ve put together two competitive games so far against the Cavs (loss) and the Hornets (win).  For anyone who caught the last, local TV broadcast on the FS Carolinas nextwork, it may have seemed like a surreal Charlotte-NBA concoction.  The list of oddities is tough to summarize, but I’ll try –  The Hornets played against the Bobcats in Greensboro’s teal saturated arena, both wearing pinstriped uniforms, with Steve Martin and Dell Curry calling the game for the TV broadcast.


BOBCATS PRESEASON NEWS

  • Emeka Okafor has always presented himself as a great professional and has conveyed as much sophistication as any athlete.  He told reporters that we was surprised by the trade that sent him from Charlotte to New Orleans.  Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer has more on Okafor’s return to NC this past Wednesday.
  • Brian Hendrickson of Sports Illustrated has written an encouraging piece about the Bobcats current situation.  Rarely does SI shed a positive light on the organization, but Hendrickson seems to see the team getting past all of those errors and obstacles.  Read it at SI.com.
  • The Bobcats have finally posted real images of their jerseys on the online team store.  I have to say that the home uniforms are looking great.  The road jerseys might take a little more time to settle in.  This Diaw jersey might be a good purchase.
  • Lastly, the free agent of much Bobcats Baseline adoration doesn’t look so glowingly perfect nowadays.  Memphis Grizzlies guard Allen Iverson looks to be sidelined for the entire Preseason after injuring his hamstring.  Iverson told the media that his leg “popped” when he “stopped on a dime.”  But wasn’t Dime where we read that Iverson had a deal with Charlotte?



NEXT GAME

Cavs vs Cats in Charleston, SC on Saturday night.  No Boris Diaw, Tyson Chandler, Delonte West, or Jamario Moon. . . but there will be plenty of Shaq and Lebron for ESPN to show us afterward.

-Mike

TKO from OHIO

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Lebron James Knocks Out the Bobcats

It took the Bobcats about six minutes to lose to the Cavs on Saturday night.  It was a tough one to watch from the stands.  The games are usually packed when the superstars come to play and this was a Saturday with Lebron in town.  With all of the folks that have relocated to Charlotte, the arena had more Ohio people than you’ll find at an outlet mall shopping strip.  It was like going to a Cavs home game.  Anytime King James touched the ball, the crowd hushed to wait for his next monster dunk.  Unfortunately for anyone with sympathies toward the local team,  Lebron delivered with some serious offensive moves and a notably athletic block on Raymond Felton.

It was a little odd to see Michael Jordan on the Bobcats bench, just watching the game as a . . . Witness.  His Cats had nothing going right and the Cavaliers had everything running well.  The Bobcats weren’t ready to play a team of that caliber.  I’m sure that Larry Brown could lead this squad to a series sweep over the Bakersfield Jam in the D League finals, but the Cavs are playing like a real NBA contender.

D Wade and the Miami Heat are on the slate for Monday Night.  The Bobcats could help themselves become a bit more relevant if they could pull out a win on the road.  Okafor certainly needs to reassert himself with this game.  Sean May might miss the game due to consistent knee trouble and Gerald Wallace could be absent while away for a family funeral.  Larry Brown will need to scheme hard to keep it competitive without those two involved.  Let’s hope that Ajinca doesn’t see much time in this one.  He could easily become the most visible white flag of surrender in the league. 

Blow It Up

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The Bobcats look horrible this season.  Three Wins, Seven Losses.  Only 30%-40% of the arena seats are filled.  Even the cable broadcasts are screwed up this year.

There’s nothing to do but blow the whole thing up.

Larry Brown’s “system” just isn’t cutting it.  Perhaps, the personnel is lacking?  Perhaps, the game has changed too much for this old man?  Whatever the answer may be, the Bobcats have put a sad product together and shoveled it out onto the floor this season.  That much must be recognized.

The embarrassment suffered last night to the Dallas Mavericks was the last straw for this ‘Cats apologist.  This team will find little success until major changes are made.  Whether it be changes to the roster or the coach’s offensive philosophy, the Bobcats need a shakeup.  Until then, the Playoffs are a fantasy.  The Mavericks were once the laughing stock of the league (for about a decade).  Then, they got it together.  It’s about time for the Bobcats to cut the fans some slack and get it together.  Seriously guys, I know Jason Richardson was out but no team’s starting line up should feature Matt Carroll.  

Let’s review who has been Entirely Worthless vs. the players who have only been Somewhat Worthless.

ENTIRELY WORTHLESS:

  • Sean May (hungry, hungry hippo)
  • Matt Carroll (c’mon man, get it together)
  • Andre Brown (he played in the opening game. . . then?)
  • Linton Johnson  (Jermareo was released to pick up this guy – for what?)

 

SOMEWHAT WORTHLESS:

  • Emeka Okafor (Not quite a top-tier big man, but his contract would fool you)
  • Nazr Mohammed (We’ve rarely seen this guy)
  • Alexis Ajinca (Such a work in progress)
  • Ryan Hollins (While he’s energetic, he doesn’t fill the huge hole that the Cats have)

 

The question must be asked – “Why are all of the Bobcats’ big men worthless?”  Primarily, this is due to their inability to rebound or score in the paint.  Secondly, no big man has arisen as a defensive presence this season.  Okafor has been serviceable, but not quite 72 million dollars worth of service.

We should expect some sort of trade for a real big man or a change to the starting line up in the next few weeks.  Maybe, this is just an overreaction?  Maybe not? Stability is often important, but the Pistons and Nuggets seem to be doing okay after their recent swap.  Ryan Hollins’ willingness to play ball inside the paint and run the floor with intensity might just give him a shot at starting a few times this year.  Maybe a Hollins / Okafor / Wallace / Richardson / Felton lineup wouldn’t be so bad.  It sure beats starting Sean May or Matt Carroll.  

Additionally, don’t get fooled by the stat sheet that shows record of DJ Augustin’s big point total against the Mavericks.  Augustin didn’t actually succeed as a point guard in the game, he simply racked up a lot of “garbage time” points.  The entire game could be considered garbage time for the ‘Cats.  Dallas was up by so much and the starters were off of the court for about 40 minutes of the match.  When a team loses by such a big margin and their point guard has a big scoring night, it’s safe to surmise that he wasn’t “facilitating the offense” with any success.  Maybe the Bobcats have found their identity.  The Lakers used to be called “Show Time!”   Now, the Bobcats can reserve – “Garbage Time!

 

-Mike S.

 

Okafor Leaving Charlotte?

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Emeka Okafor

With Elton Brand’s departure from Los Angeles, the market for a free agent Power Forward has just skyrocketed. Considering the money available to the Clippers, it appears that at least one player will receive larger contract than they anticipated this off-season. While Emeka Okafor was a priority to for the Bobcats, his price tag may rise considerably with an offer from the Clippers.

If a huge contract is prepared for Okafor by Los Angeles, would Charlotte be able to match it? Would it be wise to do so? If they don’t, what are the alternatives?

At the moment, Charlotte is struggling to find the right Power Forward to compliment Emeka. If he leaves town, that formula is obsolete. The ‘Cats will then need to find a starting Center and Power Forward. It’s going to be hard to find that kind of talent before training camp. Okafor’s departure would likely result in a full reconstruction of the team’s roster. This might be a bit more than Larry Brown had hoped to instigate.

In the case that the Bobcats do match a hefty contract that the Clippers are likely to offer, they risk entering quite a commitment to Okafor after such a disappointing season. He was the face of the franchise during the expansion season, but a lot of faces have left since then. There’s really not a lot of nostalgia around the ‘Cats organization these days. Does he stay or does he go?

FIRST ROUND DECISION

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Ninth Pick

“With the Ninth overall selection in the Two-Thousand Eight NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats. . . ”

Well, what exactly happens won’t be known until a week from now. We can narrow down a few options, though.

Option A: The Bobcats select an inexperienced big man that they draft entirely on potential, but have not seen in personal workouts (SI.com / Charlotte Observer). None of these guys have a recognizable name, so there’s no simple choice.

Option B: Charlotte drafts a point guard that may or may not fit their new system (Augustin/Westbrook/Bayless)

Option C: The ‘Cats make a big trade for a veteran talent.

Option D: Jordan and the crew choose to move down in the draft and make an exchange with a team for a player with a cap relief contract or position themselves for a move later in the off-season.
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