Henderson Dazzles as Bobcats Close Up Shop in NJ

Standard

Charlotte Bobcats @ New Jersey 4/12/10

As Fake Sinatra said to Steve & Edie: “Listen, it’s up to you.  You can either open for me at the Meadowlands or headline at the Tick-Tock Inn!

The Meadowlands (recently renamed The Izod Center) closed up shop after nearly 30 years Monday night with the Charlotte Bobcats taking care of business against the cellar dweller Nets 105-95.  With Miami winning on the same evening, the ‘Cats are now locked into the East’s 7th seed and will take on the Magic in Orlando on Saturday after wrapping up the regular season against Chicago on Wednesday.

AP recap here | Box score here

Welcome to the NBA, Gerald Henderson

The Bobcats get an amazing 50 points from the bench in this one as Gerald “The Sequel” Henderson led the way with 14 on 6-9 shooting in just 21 minutes of action.  This wasn’t garbage time folks (well, unless you consider any minute played against the Nets “garbage time”).  Henderson filled in nicely for Crash by throwing down a couple of monster dunks, connecting on an acrobatic, double-pump reverse layup, rejecting a Brook Lopez shot and grabbing seven boards.  Nothing against Terrence Williams, who was taken one spot ahead of Henderson and who had an excellent game himself (21 points, 13 boards and 6 assists in 41 minutes) but for the first time all season it seemed as if Henderson belonged in the League.  He looked confident and asserted himself at both ends of the court.  This looks promising.

The rest of bench brought their A-game as well.  DJ shot the ball well again (5-7) and dropped a beautiful 18 footer over Lopez’s outstretched as if to say “I know you should have been the pick but not on this play!”  Stephen Graham had his bi-monthly Stephen Graham baseline drive and dunk, Tyrus Thomas shot the ball poorly (he did have a semi-cast on his thumb) but played hard and got to the line (5 attempts) in 20 minutes of action.

Center Rotation

Theo Ratliff got the start tonight and really affected the game on the defensive end early.  Dude blocked two shots in two minutes (after the Nets TV team referred to him as a previously effective defensive player) and pulled down three boards.  The problem with too much Theo Ratliff is when he starts affecting the game from an offensive standpoint.  Theo was credited with only one Turnover but I counted three.  If Gana Diop and Emeka Okafor started a “Big Man Hands Camp,” Theo Ratliff would be their first product.

Nazr Mohammed got a little burn afterwards and looked slow defensively and out of synch offensively.  We might not be seeing the Nazr from earlier in the season again, folks.  At least not until next year.  Fortunately Tyson Chandler has looked very solid in the last few weeks and it looked like Larry Brown was saving Chandler’s legs for the first round matchup with Superman.

Bullets

  • Brook Lopez is just plain awesome.  Why the Bobcats passed on him for Augustin I’ll never know.  My only guess is that the organization didn’t realize how well he ran the floor as a college prospect.  Lopez is the anti-Rasheed.  At 7’0″, he’s running baseline to baseline on very play.  Lopez ran the break on one possession in the third quarter as he tossed a beautiful transition alley oop pass to T-Will for the jam.  Lopez has the body type to be doing this for a while too; he’s built kind of like a David Robinson or a taller Hakeem.  Bobcats will be paying for the 2008 NBA draft for a long time.
  • The Nets broadcast network ran several “Key Moments in Nets History” packages in tribute to the Meadowlands final game.  Seeing Jason Kidd tear it up with Kittles, Van Horn and KMart against Reggie and the Pacers made me realize how long Kidd has been in the League.  Drafted in ’94, Kidd has played against the likes of Charles Barkley, John Stockton, Michael Jordan, Skinny Shaq, Fat Shaq, Amare Stoudamire, Lebron James and Tyreke Evans.
  • Game’s Biggest Surprise: Yi Jianlian isn’t terrible.  He’s not great, don’t get me wrong but offensively he definitely belongs in the League as a seventh or eighth man off of the bench.  He’s got a nice jumper from 20′ feet plus and the size (7’0″)  to pull down boards over smaller forwards.  Not bad for 35 year ol-, pardon me, 22 year old prospect.

Until next time, Enjoy the Win Bobcats Fans…

-ASChin

2008 Draft Haunts Bobcats in Loss to Nets

Standard

Lopez Dominates, Augustin Sits in New Jersey’s First Win of the Season.

The Bobcats have done a great job of illustrating the many different varieties of “EMBARRASSING” thus far during the ’09-’10 NBA season.  There have been road blowouts, home blowouts, needing three overtimes at home to beat the Knicks but tonight’s apathetic approach towards the winless Nets might be the most painful.  Just seventeen months ago, Bobcats management made the questionable decision to draft D.J. Augustin over Brook Lopez and this game demonstrated that it was the second worst draft day decision in franchise history.

AP recap here | Box score here

1. Fact: Michael Jordan Sucks in the Draft Room

Brook Lopez is a force in the middle for the Nets.  He’s currently averaging 18pts and 9rb and a little over 2 blocks a contest.  He has the best low post game of any center in the Eastern Conference and if weren’t for the fact that his team stinks, he’d be a sure-fire All-Star in just his second season.  Tonight Lopez exploded for 31 points and 14 rebounds and thoroughly dominated Tyson Chandler on the block.

Also in this game D.J. Augustin received his first ever DNP CD (Did Not Play Coach’s Decision).

Augustin has struggled all season and after showing flashes of brilliance during his rookie year, has never looked the same since coming back from an abdominal injury last Spring.  D.J.’s miserable 5ppg / 2apg averages are only surpassed by his 35% shooting from the field.  His current PER is just 7.  Lopez currently rocks a steady 19.

Why the Bobcats selected Augustin ahead of Lopez, I’ll never understand.  You can’t teach size.  We all know that.  And given Jordan’s pathetic draft record, why not go for the safe bet in Lopez?  Selecting D.J. over Brook and Adam Morrison over Brandon Roy (as well as the Kwame disaster in D.C.) are marks of either a gambler or a moron and I am very afraid that this franchise is being run by some horrible combination of the two.

Remember: If the Bobcats select Lopez, not only do they have their shot-blocking, rebounding, intelligent, low-post presence for the next decade plus, they also don’t have to move Emeka Okafor for an overpaid Tyson Chandler and could instead experiment with them together in the frontcourt or find a solid PG in exchange via trade.  Ugh.

2. Boris Diaw: “Rebounding is so bourgeois.”

Is Diaw passive-aggressively demanding a trade?  He knows what Larry Brown expects of him and injury or no, Boris needs to at least provide the consistent effort that he’s capable of or Brown will ship him out for someone who can.

Both Golden State and New York would love to have him and I’m sure the Suns wouldn’t turn him down.  There’s been some chatter of a Jared Jeffries/David Lee deal out there and I could definitely see the Bobcats jumping on that one provided they get a feel for Lee’s intentions going into a contract year this summer.  A Brandon Wright/Ronny Turiaf package from the Warriors might be enticing as well and Bobcats GM Rod Higgins seems to be running both front offices anyway so that might work.

Either way, when the team’s SF is outrebounding you 20-3 and you are averaging under 5 boards a game as an NBA starting PF, it doesn’t matter how good of a passer you are.  I’m a big fan of Motivated Boris but Lazy Boris?  He’s gotta go.

3. Silver Linings

Raymond Felton played a superb game going for 28 points on 11-14 shooting.  He only turned the ball over twice in just under 40 minutes and went on a personal 9 point run for the team when nobody else could score in the 4th quarter.  Again, Felton is not an elite PG but he’s starting to find his niche as a Derek Fisher-type who takes care of the ball and makes open shots.  Great effort by Raymond.

I mentioned it earlier but Gerald Wallace had 20 rebounds tonight.  Crash has never averaged more than 7.8rpg for his career and is suddenly pushing 12.  Simply outstanding.  Another incredible effort from The Original.

Stephen Jackson is doing exactly as advertised: 28 points tonight on a high volume 10-23 shooting over 43 minutes.  JAX makes baskets, plays good D and logs a ton of minutes.  Say what you want about Jordan’s drafts picks (THEY ARE WORSE THAN TERRIBLE) but his trading skills aren’t so bad.

IN CONCLUSION:

The sad irony in Larry Brown shortening his bench to just 8 players this evening is that he DNP’d all of his youngsters.  Neither Derrick Brown, Augustin or Gerald Henderson sniffed any PT.  This is especially disconcerting since the top six players tonight for the Nets were under the age of 26 and are paid a combined $16 million dollars.  The Nets top two players this evening (Brook Lopez and Courtney Lee, who exploded for 27 points and basically sealed the win with a steal late in the 4th) are on rookie contracts.  Chris Douglas Roberts and Josh Boone are late round draft picks.  Terrence Williams is this year’s lottery pick.  The Nets may be bad now but their future looks a heck of a lot brighter than the team they beat tonight.

Enjoy the Loss Bobcats Fans

-ASChin

With the 11th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft

Standard

the Charlotte Bobcats select…

g2

Gerald Henderson

Consensus here at Bobcats Baseline is that, by selecting Terrence Williams at #11, the Nets may have saved the Bobcats from making a mistake.  Though T-Will has an intriguing range of skills and is going to be a lot of fun as a personality, Henderson is a better fit.  He is an equally good defender, and has a much higher ceiling as a scorer.

Welcome to the Bobcats, Gerald.

-E


Bobcats Draft Rumors – Roundup

Standard

T-Will at 12?

Editor’s Note: We’ll continue to post updates to this thread as we head towards Thursday’s Draft.  It’s a blog within a blog!

MJ shooting down T-Will?

According to ESPN.com, Michael Jordan nixed the Terrence Williams “Promise” after the Henderson/T-Will workout Monday and would rather have the team trade the pick or select Wake Forest’s James Johnson.

T-Will going 11th to New Jersey?!?!?!

ESPN NBA Draft God Chad Ford updated his mock draft twice on Wednesday — he’s up to v6.2 as I write this.  Unfortunately, Ford has New Jersey taking probable Bobcats target Terrence Williams with the 11th pick, leaving the Cats with Gerald Henderson (or the possibility of trading down).  Ford speculates that even though Williams skipped a second look with the Nets on Tuesday, the Nets have him above Henderson and Hansbrough on their draft board.

So does this make the Nets like a teenage girl who sees her old boyfriend with a rival female, then goes all psycho-bitch and becomes obsessed with getting him back?

ESPN NBA Underlord Chris Broussard offers a few more tidbits about the Nets draft preparations (scroll down to the June 24, 5:53 PM update).  Apparently, Brandon Jennings was great in that Tuesday workout (the one that T-Will bailed on), but will nonetheless slip by due to the feeling that he’s a few years away from really contributing at the NBA level.  Broussard offers that the Nets do like Hansbrough, but probably not enough to spend the 11th pick on him.

In other words, (continuing the teenage girl comparison) they like Hansbrough, but don’t “like-like” him.

Raja to Golden State?

Golden State appears to be exploring possibilities to improve on the defensive end in hopes of making a strong run to the playoffs next season. One trade that has reportedly been offered by the Charlotte Bobcats that may help on that front would involve packaging Kelenna Azubuike and Marco Belinelli in exchange for Raja Bell. The Warriors are pondering the offer, but would have to get Azubuike’s consent to make the trade unless they decided to wait until July 24th.

Reported at DraftExpress.com.

Bill Simmons & Chad Ford like Iverson, Williams and the Bobcats as a Playoff team in ’09-’10

In the latest episode of “The B.S. Report” Bill Simmons and Chad Ford end the show with a bit on Iverson/Coach Brown/Terrence Williams and the Bobcats future.

Download the podcast here.

Dalembert Trade?

The Dalembert rumors don’t seem to want to go away.  This report from Philly has the Bobcats sending Radmanovic, Mohammed and the 12 pick to Philly for Dalembert and the 17.  Not sure how Samuel fits in with Okafor so if this deal were to go down, look for a blockbuster Emeka trade post-moratorium.

Rod Higgins gives Promise Ring to T-Will?

ESPN.com reports that Terrence Williams has pulled out of his workout scheduled today with the New Jersey Nets citing an “ankle injury.”  Rumor has it that T-Will was pulled aside yesterday after his one-on-one workout with Gerald Henderson and given a promise that if he’s there at number 12, the Bobcats will take him.

Seems like the Coach Brown, MJ, and Higgins agree with Jay Bilas.

Gerald Henderson shouldn’t feel bad though as the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bulls are trying to trade up into the lottery for him.

Also, Bonnell just reported that the Bobcats are not extending a qualifying offer to RFA Sean May.  We saw this one coming.  Don’t be surprised if May is brought back at a lower number later next month.

Charlotte Bobcats NBA Draft Preview: Part 3

Standard

090622_draft_68

In Part 2, I talked about some strategy that the Bobcats could possibly use in making the 12th pick and made some generalizations about which players may or may not be available at #12.  In Part 3, I’ll go into more detail about the players that are likely to be available to the Bobcats at pick #12.

A quick review: There are eight guys who will definitely be gone: Blake Griffin, Hasheem Thabeet, Ricky Rubio, James Harden, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, Jordan Hill and DeMar DeRozan.

Then there are three guys who will probably be gone: Jrue Holiday, Jonny Flynn and Brandon Jennings.  In this point-guard heavy draft, these guys have been searching for a safety in the mid-to-late lottery.  In Chad Ford’s latest Mock Draft, he has them going in the 8-11 range.  But with the Nets at #11 supposedly in need of a big (and with this draft being described as underwhelming and unpredictable in general) I think there is a small, but not irrelevant, chance that one of these guys could be available to the Bobcats at #12.

Could the Bobcats use a lottery pick on a point guard who didn’t work out for them for a second year in a row?  I suppose anything is possible (especially with Jordan and Brown making the pick) but have to guess that they wouldn’t.  With the Bobcats having been pretty clear that they intend to keep Raymond Felton and DJ Augustin, point guard is a relative strength on our roster.  We have other needs that are more important.

Lets turn our eyes to the players that we’re pretty sure will be available at #12:  Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark, Austin Daye, Jeff Teague, DeJuan Blair, Eric Maynor, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, BJ Mullens, Ty Lawson, DaJuan Summers and Sam Young.

To cull the list even more, we’ll strike Young, Summers and Johnson — #12 is just too much of a reach for these guys.  I’ll also strike Teague, Maynor and Lawson because they’re all pure point guards.  Mullens is intriguing, but one 7-foot-plus project on the roster (Ajinca) is enough — off the list.

I’ll strike Hansbrough for a couple of reasons: one, the Bobcats can’t be eager to reinforce the perception that they’re actually the Charlotte Tar Heels; and two, they have to be wary of a white player who was dominant in college, but has questionable athleticism for the NBA (coughAdamMorrisoncough).  James Johnson is out of the discussion; he did work out for the Bobcats, but is an out-of-shape forward tweener who has no buzz going right now.  (Update: as I prepared to post this, just saw Bonnell’s blog post from tonight which informs us that Johnson is coming back for a second look on Wednesday.)

DeJuan Blair is intriguing, as the Bobcats have a need for depth at the power forward position.  However, he’s a relatively unathletic rebounding specialist who relies on a wide frame to grab those rebounds, has played at a heavy weight, and has known knee issues.  Sounds a little too close to Sean May for me.

Austin Daye is an interesting talent; everyone compares him to Tayshaun Prince and the feeling is that he’ll be picked somewhere in the middle of the first round.  But he’s extremely weak and a little raw for the NBA.  In a few years he might make a good hybrid forward, but the Bobcats need help now at other positions — off the list.

Earl Clark is the first guy on the list that I think the Bobcats could potentially pick at #12.  He’s a long, athletic forward who’s similar to, but more ready to contribute than, Austin Daye.  Clark is most often compared to Lamar Odom, as opposed to Tayshaun Prince, to give you an idea of the slight difference between Daye and Clark.  Clark is just the kind of player whom Brown likes, and would only be a minor reach at #12.

Now we get to the two guys who are obviously at the top of the Bobcats draft board: Gerald Henderson and Terrence Williams.  The Bobcats invited these two back for a second look on Monday with Micheal Jordan in the house to observe.  Here’s the breakdown for these two.

Gerald Henderson played three years at shooting guard for Duke.  He goes 6’5″ and 215 pounds.  He increased his scoring average from 6.8 to 12.7 to 16.5 ppg over his three years at Duke.  He is considered a pure shooting guard, with tremendous athleticism and an improving outside stroke.  He plays great defense, and seems ready to contribute right off the bat.  Here’s video of Henderson after the workout, with some comments from Larry Brown towards the end.

Terrence Williams played four years at shooting guard at Louisville.  He goes 6’6″ and 215 pounds.  He averaged 8 points as a freshman, then 12, 11 and 12 his last three years of college.  That stagnation is probably the biggest concern on Williams’ resume (the other is his, ahem, eccentricity).  While he’s clearly a shooting guard, he’s considered more versatile than Henderson.  Williams has better ballhandling ability, is a better passer and can probably play a little small forward in a small lineup.  Similar to Henderson, he’s considered a great defender and will likely be ready to contribute in his first year.  Here’s video of Williams from the workout.

Here’s a great breakdown by DraftExpress.com on the shooting guards in this draft, with a bunch of great info and statistical analysis that helps to differentiate between Henderson and Williams.  Rumor has it that Williams really impressed Larry Brown at the workout, met with team officials afterwards, then pulled out of a Tuesday workout in New Jersey with Henderson, Hansbrough, etc.

So as I wrap this up on Tuesday night, all signs are pointing to Terrence Williams as being the guy as long as the Bobcats don’t trade the pick.  Seems like Williams would be OK with it.  Hell, judging by the interest he had in Jordan’s gear at Monday’s workout, he may even pay Michael to wear Jordans.

282-bobcats_monday_05standaloneprod_affiliate138jpg251-bobcats_monday_03standaloneprod_affiliate138jpg

-E

Charlotte Bobcats 2009 NBA Draft Preview: Part 2

Standard

060904_draft_012090615_draft_44

In Part 1, we established several team needs.  Most of all, the Charlotte Bobcats need a superstar — position be damned, we need an alpha-male, a go-to scorer, a box-office draw, a crunch-time killer, et cetera, et cetera.  Since that’s not going to happen at #12 (the best #12 pick this decade is probably Thaddeus Young), let’s just forget about it.

The team needs that we should realistically be looking at filling in this draft are at backup SG and backup PF.  Of the two, the backup SG spot is more pressing.  Raja Bell was pretty brittle down the stretch this year, and probably only has a year or two left as a legitimate starter in the league.  So the “backup” we’d be looking for needs to have some potential to become a starter within that time frame.  #12 seems like a good spot to find a guy fitting that description.

On the other hand, Larry Brown has recently opined that drafting for need isn’t the best draft strategy.  He seems to think that, even at pick #12, talent should rule the day.  I think we can all agree that talent should rule the day if you’re talking about a top 3 pick; but beyond that, the argument that you should pick with team needs in mind makes a lot more sense to me (and Greg Popovich and Jerry Sloan, apparently).

Fortunately, Chad Ford rendered this debate meaningless a few years back by revealing a draft strategy commonly used by successful GMs.  It’s called the tier system, and it basically allows you to combine both approaches in a rational manner.  Ford just posted this year’s edition of the tier column on Wednesday.

The “strategy” goes like this: you group the first round prospects in tiers, as opposed to trying to rank them in some exact order.  Within the tiers, you loosely rank the players according to your team needs.  When your pick comes around, if there’s a player from a higher tier available, you pick him, regardless of position — even if he doesn’t fit your roster well, he’s too good of an asset to pass up.  If all the players available are in the same tier, then you pick the player that matches your team’s needs the best:

Here are Ford’s tiers for this year:

Tier 1: Blake Griffin

Tier 2: Ricky Rubio, Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden

Tier 3: Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Jordan Hill, Jonny Flynn, Jrue Holiday

Tier 4: Brandon Jennings, Gerald Henderson, Terrence Williams, Earl Clark, Austin Daye, Jeff Teague, Dejuan Blair, Eric Maynor, Tyler Hansbrough, James Johnson, BJ Mullens, Ty Lawson, DaJuan Summers, Sam Young

Per Ford: “a number of GMs say this draft really goes 10 deep.”  So the chance that someone from Tier 3 falls to the Bobcats at #12 is infinitesimal.  Tyreke Evans or DeMar DeRozan would be ideal, but it’s just not going to happen.

A quick look at the list of guys that the Bobcats were able to get in for workouts validates Ford’s tiers.  Most of the guys in Tier 4 visited the Queen City.  The only guy from Tier 3 to grace Larry Brown with his presence was hometown boy Stephen Curry, who basically used us as a practice interview.

So we’re left with the mishmash of Tier 4.  Again, per Ford: “Theoretically, teams are saying you can get the same quality player at 11 that you will get at 24.”  Ouch.

Coming soon in Part 3 of the 2009 Draft Preview, I’ll sort through the guys in Tier 4 in detail.

-E