Charlotte Bobcats Draft Retrospective | Part Two

Standard

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

Loading ... Loading ...

Herrmann Returning To The Bobcats?

Standard

Herrmann In His First NBA Run With Charlotte

Will The Legend Return?

After browsing through the Baskonia section of noiciasdealava.com (Alava Daily News’ website) yesterday, I noticed a headline about former Charlotte Bobcat Walter Herrmann.  It looks like Herrmann has had talks with the Bobcats and could be returning to the NBA this fall. He’s a free agent and will likely come at a price that the Bobcats can fit into their payroll.

Here’s a link to the Google translated version of the story :
Water Herrmann terminated his contract and could return to the Charlotte Bobcats (English Translation)

For those that read Spanish a bit easier than I can:
Walter Herrmann rescinde su contrato y podría volver a los Charlotte Bobcats (Original Spanish Article)

Herrmann’s first NBA opportunity with Charlotte in 2006-2007 showed flashes of brilliance and potential. The following season, Herrmann was stuck on the bench by the bumbling head coach Sam Vincent. He was shipped off to Detroit with Primoz Brezec and played sparse minutes with the Pistons. There were certainly a few fans that loved Herrmann during his short stint with the Cats. To some, the “what could have been” speculations of Walter Herrmann became a kind of legend. It was the type of legend to add on top of the pile of other Bobcats mistakes. His physical abilities, energy and long-range shooting settled into a sore spot for everyone that questioned the Nazr Mohammed trade.


If Walter Herrmann does return to Charlotte, does this signal another roster move at the Power Forward spot?

Also we have to wonder, will Walter Herrmann will be the best NBA Player ever?

Eastern Conference Finals Prediction:
D-Wade / Lebron / Bosh vs. Jack / Crash / Fabio

He Earned It

Standard

Young Gerald Wallace © SlamOnline

The inaugural Bobcat is the team’s inaugural All-Star.

Six years ago the Sacramento Kings thought so little of Gerald Wallace that they let him walk via the 2004 Expansion draft.  The Bobcats received a player who couldn’t shoot from the field or from the line and whose lone defensive skill was to overplay the passing lanes and steal the ball before his man could score on him.  Young Gerald was Raw.

Some fans might not remember that the ‘Cats almost let Wallace leave via Free Agency twice before signing him to his current long term deal.  Somehow it all worked out and even though Gerald had to weather the incompetent storm that was the Sam Vincent Mistake, he never stopped improving his game, adding wrinkles every season: blocked shots in Year 2, then a long range jumper in Year 4, free throw shooting in Year 5 and – this seasonElite rebounding.

The old Charlotte Hornets told us to “Bee-Lieve.”  Gerald Wallace Bee-Lieved when nobody else did and now he’s making his first All-Star game in his 9th season at the age of 27.
Thanks Crash.  Thanks for working your tail off for five and a half years on a nobody team in a nobody city and showing us that if you keep Playing the Game the Right Way, eventually you become a Star.

-ASChin

UPDATE :

Gerald Wallace comments on his All-Star selection over at the official BobcatsBreak.com

The Future of The Bobcats (What to Expect)

Standard

BOBCATS ON COURSE TO REPEAT (LAST SEASON)

What Are They 'Gana Do Next?

What Are They 'Gana Do Next?

The Charlotte Bobcats have played their first first 8 games and have shown their small cult much about what kind of team they will be watching this year.  This first stretch of games represents nearly one-tenth of the full 82-game season and their current record looks to fall in line with many of the media projections of about a 30 – 35 win total for the season.

STYLE OF PLAY

Most anyone that’s watched the Cats play this season seems to be struggling to characterize the team and their style of play.  Early in pre-season, chatter leaked from the club about pushing the tempo and running a bit on offense to boost their scoring output.  As the training camp concluded, it seemed that the team was simply trying to get their players back from injury and everyone adjusted into the mentality that led to their few successes last season. Defense was to be a cornerstone of the Bobcats team play and the offensive formula was trusted to Larry Brown’s basketball genius.  So far this season, no one has seen Charlotte exhibit any sort of expertise on offense or defense.  The few periods of solid basketball have come in short bursts, while the slumps of poor play have dragged across games.

Seasons ago (Sam Vincent Era), the Bobcats had several talented players but seemed to lack a core identity as a collective unit.  During the installation of the Larry Brown scheme, the concerns about the team’s identity were forgotten.  Now, in Brown’s second year, that question returns.  What kind of basketball team is this?  Right now, they are a slow, sloppy, and generally bad NBA product.  Coach Brown probably didn’t plan to lead the league in Turnovers and sit last in Field Goal Percentage.  These traits don’t really fall into his “Play The Right Way” philosophy.

In brief, the 2009-2010 Bobcats team can be described by their slow-pace, low scoring, consistent turnovers, and lack of on-court leadership.  Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton may be team Captains, but their doing little to motivate or assist their partners.  The “Right Way” offense lacks any true centerpiece at this point of the season, so defenses have yet to find any difficulty stopping the Bobcats.

THIS SEASON AND BEYOND

For this year and the next few along the horizon, this will be a team and roster in transition.  The organization surely wants the club to improve and  begin turning some measure of profit. After five years, no one has discovered what it will take to make that happen. Owner Bob Johnson has all but surrendered his efforts to improve the situation and there’s really no need for the Bobcats basketball operations to spend beyond the salary cap to patch this clunker of a team.  The Cats should seriously consider any potential option to unload some of their big contract baggage (Mohammed, Diop, Radmanovich, Diaw, Wallace) to pave the way for some future opportunity toward improvement.  This year’s team doesn’t look to be on course for that elusive post-season goal, so this would be the period where a team’s organization begins to maneuver for better positioning toward the future.

In the short term, the Cats have several young players that could benefit from their time with Coach Brown.  This year or the next may  be his last season, so the men that stay with the team after his departure will be young, well-coached, and preparing to hit their prime.  Most of the team’s currently trade-able players should benefit from their season with Larry, and continue on toward the peak of their careers with another club.  Right now, the organization would do well to get the most in return for their “assets” and begin planning for the future.  There are no real stars like Wade, James, Bosh, or Durant on this team on which to build a foundation.  Their best bet is to acquire one via trade or free agency in the coming years.

For the long-term, the Bobcats should aim for two big-picture goals.  First, they need to get their house in order, financially.  This team needs to unload bad deals, even if that means throwing in one of their better players (Bell / Diaw / Wallace).  Charlotte’s team is nearly unbearable to watch right now, so they can’t really get any less entertaining this season – can they?  Secondly, the team will benefit greatly from the wave of fresh, positive energy with a new ownership group.  Though, things won’t magically become prosperous for the Cats once Bob Johnson finds a taker.  There’s still a lot of work to be done to create a solid, marketable on-court product.  Hopefully, the next owner will be up to the superhuman task of winning the favor of Charlotte’s public (who have outright despised their previous two NBA club owners).

WE’RE DEALIN’

Upon the shock of seeing how disoriented the team looked at the onset of this season, tons of fans have hit their keyboards in order to suggest potential fixes for the team.  Most of those suggestions are trades, so it’s worth taking a quick look at what the team has available. With the look of the Cats so far, no one is untouchable. If the Bobcats have any truly desirable assets for other clubs, here’s the top of the list :

Gerald Wallace  (Pros : Skills, Stats, Best Talent on the Team / Cons : Big Contract)

Raja Bell (Pros : Great Defender, Expiring Contract / Cons: Serious Injury)

Raymond Felton  (Pros : Expiring Contract, Young Guard / Cons : Skill Level)

Boris Diaw (Pros :  Shooting, Passing / Cons : Big Contract)

DJ Augustin (Pros : Young, Shooting, Talent, Contract / Cons : Poor Passing, Unproven)

Vladimir Radmanovich ( Pros : Shooting, Size / Cons : Big Contract )

Charlotte Bobcats Season In Review – Part 1

Standard

The Coaching Change

The History of Charlotte NBA Coaches

The History of Charlotte NBA Coaches

From Baseline Contributer ‘ASChin’
Somebody get John Hollinger on the phone because we need some new coaching stats.  Even though the ’08-’09 Charlotte Bobcats only managed to win 3 more games than last year the improvement in play was much, much greater than the relatively small nominal increase.  Although these new Bobcats limped out of the gate (again wasting a front-loaded home heavy schedule) they eventually figured out which pieces fit and which didn’t and Charlotte basketball fans were treated to something they haven’t seen in a very long while.  Good, solid NBA basketball.

The root cause of success?  No question it was new head coach (and behind the scenes assistant GM) Larry Brown, a professional who took over after the Bobcats wasted an entire season under the guidance of amateur coach – or should I say “basketball enthusiast” – Sam Vincent*.  Under Brown’s leadership the ‘Cats did things never before seen in their previous four seasons.  For one, they ran actual plays.  Some of them were questionable – like the famous Raymond Does Dallas play – but hey, they ran plays!  And even though Gerald Wallace’s head almost exploded midway through the season, the team eventually grasped “playing the game the right way” and it was beautiful.

I’m not sure that we, as Charlotte pro basketball fans, really understand or appreciate what it is that we have in Coach Brown.  Before I go any further, let me present you with the following list:

  • Dick Harter (settle down class, no snickering)
  • Gene Littles
  • Allen Bristow
  • Dave Cowens
  • Paul Silas
  • Bernie Bickerstaff
  • Sam Vincent

This is a motley collection of what I call “Michael Redd Head Coaches,” meaning guys who would make (and in some cases have made) excellent assistant NBA coaches but for whatever reasons (budgetary, convenience) were thrust into the role of top dog.

Larry Brown does not fit on this list.

Consider the following:

  • Phil Jackson
  • Pat Riley
  • Larry Brown
  • Greg Popovich
  • Jerry Sloan

Did you even blink when Coach Brown’s name showed up amongst the recent NBA coaching greats?  Of course not.  He belongs there; he’s one of them.

You see, as Charlotte NBA fans, we’ve been conditioned to accept 2nd rate, budget shelf head coaches because Hornets owner George Shinn and (for a while at least) Bob Johnson refused to pay for anybody worthy of a head coaching position.  So we became conditioned to settling for the Allen Bristows of the world.  Imagine dating nothing but trashy Myrtle Beach skanks your whole life and then one day finding yourself in a healthy relationship with Giada De Laurentiis.  You’ve grown to expect that your skank wife will sit on her butt all day, watch soaps, eat Klondike Bars, have an open affair with the UPS guy, and forget to make Johnny & Sarah their lunch or pick them up from school.  Now that Giada’s in town, you come home to a dinner of Crispy Soft Shell Crab with Green Papaya & Zesty Mango Salad, Johnny’s having his piano lesson and Sarah is studying business Mandarin.  It’s that big of a jump.  And I’m not sure that Charlotte NBA fans fully have a grasp of it yet.

Under Coach Brown, Gerald Wallace became a complete NBA player.  He shot 80% from the free throw line this season.  Again, so you know it’s not a typo, 80%.  Once the Raja Bell/Boris Diaw trade happened in December, the Bobcats ranked in the top 5 in Defensive Efficiency.  Larry Brown repeatedly called Emeka Okafor out publicly and y’know what, Emeka respects him enough that he will come back next season as the most improved Bobcat.

Coach Brown has brought hope to this franchise and they are only a year and a player or two away from becoming contenders in the East.  Props to both Michael Jordan and to Bob Johnson for making the investment.  The team is finally on the right path.

-ASChin



From Baseline Contributer ‘E’
There is no question that Larry Brown is the best coach in Charlotte NBA history.  The idea of having an NBA coaching legend on the bench is a great one.  But I did have some significant concerns going into the season.  Some of them have been answered, one has not.

One concern was exactly how Brown would reshape the roster.  We all know that Brown wants and gets a lot of input into the personnel matters of the teams he coaches, and that he’s a “grass is always greener” kind of guy.  Combine that with the fact that the Bobcats roster was ripe for an overhaul, and it could have been a recipe for disaster (New York Knicks, anyone?).  But it seems like Higgins and Jordan did a good job of keeping Larry’s whims in check; it’s hard to argue with any of the trades that were made.  We’ll cover them in more detail in an upcoming post.

The next big concern was that Larry Brown’s coaching philosophy is a known, static commodity that had recently shown signs of being long in the tooth.  Brown is not going to come in and adapt his philosophy and strategies to the core players or the times.  He’s going to make them conform to him.  He thinks he’s got basketball all figured out, and prior to the last 4-5 years, it looked like he did.  But his last two jobs (with the 2004 Olympic team and the ’05-’06 Knicks) had resulted in major disappointments.  You had to wonder if his “system” was still viable.  But with the way the Bobcats performed after the trade for Diaw and Bell, I think this question has been answered.  Coach Brown can still get it done.

My last concern hasn’t been answered yet.  Another famous, and deserved, criticism of Brown is that he doesn’t put down roots anywhere.  He rarely coaches for more than a few years in any spot and has left teams somewhat high and dry in the past.  Combine that with Brown’s advancing age, and there’s a good chance he could be ready to leave at any time.  This concern obviously bears watching…

-E



From Baseline Contributer ‘Deesdale’

I have more expectations than concerns for Mr. Next Town Brown.

Charlotte does seem to be Coach Brown’s last stop and he has always been the guy who enjoys building the structure of a team (even though he inherited his championship team). Therefore, I would assume that each season of his four year contract would improve upon the previous. And by improve I don’t just mean win/loss percentage. I mean things like consistent game play; cultivating or acquiring a player that averages over 25 points a game; and getting to the second round of the playoffs.

However, the most important benchmark of his Bobcats tenure will be measured by the condition in which he leaves the franchise. Internally, he must create a culture where the owner doesn’t cheap-out when it comes to staffing an organization. Externally, the Bobcats need to become embedded into our city. Not just a sideshow to the Panthers or known as the reason for higher property taxes.

Charlotte needs to be Larry Brown’s last place to ‘root down’. Hopefully he doesn’t bail and leave expectations unfulfilled.

Charlotte Bobcats Christmas Wishlist

Standard

Bobcats Fans Wishlist

 

The Charlotte Bobcats Fans’ Wishlist:

Wish #1: The Bobcats will soon find their identity as a team.

Wish #2: Win games on the road

Wish #3: Win games at home

Wish #4: Season Ticket Books that resemble the quality of other NBA season tickets.

Wish #5: Less Racists on the Charlotte Observer’s NBA blog comments

Wish #6: Gerald Wallace will stay through the end of his contract

Wish #7: Season Ticket Packages won’t be devalued due to ridiculous ticket specials

Wish #8: Fox Sports Carolinas / SportSouth will be available in HD in Charlotte

Wish #9: An injury-free 2009 season

Wish #10: Matt Carroll and Adam Morrison will remember how to make shots

Wish #11: The Bobcats office can learn how market their team and sell tickets

Wish #12: Julius Peppers will be signed as a key reserve at Power Forward

Wish #13: The Bobcats find an All-Star or Olympian to lead the team, and its appeal to fans

Wish #14: Larry Brown will win more games that Sam Vincent (This is a real concern)

Wish #15:  Bobcats will still have the budget to play again for the 2009-2010 season.