When Michael Jordan officially announced the Bobcats name change on Tuesday, it marked a brief respite from the unending horror of being a Charlotte basketball fan. At least for me. I’ve always hated the Bobcats name, and not just for its narcissistic origins with former majority owner Bob Johnson. I’ve hated it because an actual bobcat is not even remotely threatening as an animal; for me, the immediate image of a bobcat is of a helpless, half-starved, feral creature in a cage, wide-eyed with terror, the product of an animal control team response to several complaints of garbage cans being knocked over in the local trailer park. There’s a reason Lord Cornwallis never referred to Charlotte as a “veritable bobcats’ litter of rebellion,” and so with apologies to Ohio University alumni, “bobcats” is a fearful little quivering nickname that I for one am happy to release back into the wild of college mascots.
Congratulations are in store for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who somehow landed the top pick in the NBA Draft for the second time in three seasons (rigged!). While that should leave a warm, fuzzy feeling in the heart’s of many a Cavaliers fan, Charlotte Bobcats fans are left disappointed and disgusted.
Once again, despite having one of the worst teams in the NBA, the Bobcats are stuck with something other than the number one overall selection. In fact, the closest to the top spot they’ve ever gotten was #2, where they had to settle for Emeka Okafor after missing out on Dwight Howard, who went #1 overall to the Orlando Magic.
And here we go again.
Need a refresher? Over the years, Stern and his
clearly rigged lottery have managed to position the Bobcats one slot behind Dwight Howard, Chris Paul and Anthony Davis. Join us in the chat room Tuesday night to mourn with us as we get screwed out of Nerlens Noel.
Well, that was quick. Mike Dunlap is one and done as the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats after a disastrous season. He did have some potential, but it was in flashes and overall you’d have to admit he just wasn’t hacking it. However, if Dunlap can get dropped after one abysmal year, Bobcats fans could probably argue the entire team could, as well.
I kid, I kid. The reality is, Dunlap was inexperienced and it showed. However, these Bobcats do have some talent on the roster, and with a likely high lottery pick in the June 2013 NBA Draft, they’ll look to add another elite talent that hopefully can help turn this ship around.
But before they can even begin focusing on the draft, Charlotte needs a legit head coach who can come in and shape this team, and arguably most importantly, give them an identity.
Let’s take a look at the potential coaching candidates and pick the one that is the best fit:
Collins preaches defense and team offense, and he’d at least get the Bobcats to compete on a regular basis. There would be order and a clear identity under Collins. However, he’s up there in years and he seemed to have lost the 76ers’ attention in 2012.
I had signed off my previous entry by saying I’d be off until either the lottery or the draft. How stupid of me to forget an annual ritual that’s more regular than Angelina Jolie obtaining a small brown foreign baby: a Bobcats coach firing. My initial reaction to the news that Coach Dunlap was let go like a fart in a junkyard was, “Huh.” But after careful reflection, I realized, “Hmm.”
Actually, I think the most puzzling reaction to have is anything strong one way or the other. I’m equally confused by the “good riddance” people and the “that’s not fair” crowd. I also don’t see how this is an indictment of the Rod Higgins/Rich Cho GM tag-team (or whatever’s the opposite of an indictment—a non-indictment? A Paul Kevin Curtis?). The team spent almost no money on Dunlap, and they signed him for just two years. Throwing him to the curb like a stack of Highlights for Children from 1987 isn’t going to cost anything, nor does it represent some grand failure, nor does it mean the team has suddenly turned a corner. It means nothing. It’s like getting offsetting penalties in football or landing on the “Free Parking” square in Monopoly (assuming you’re playing by the letter of the law and not doing the popular “Free Parking = Win the Lottery” version); it’s a totally neutral move.
The Charlotte Bobcats have fired their rookie head coach, Mike Dunlap after only one season. He came in out of nowhere (St. John’s assistant), said the right things, started hot (7-5), didn’t freak out when things went bad, tripled the win total from the previous season and got fired.
I’m not crying over this. I don’t completely get it but I’m sort of ok with it. Not knowing details and honestly, completely spit-balling here, I sort of could see how a one-and-done hire worked for Dunlap. He never really, truly impressed me as a coach. I’m not really the one he was aiming to impress, Michael Jordan, Rich Cho and Rod Higgins were, but he never made me think “Wow, this guy has his stuff together and knows where this team is going.”
Dunlap was charged with player development. I believe he was a place-marker but a good one, from the beginning. He wasn’t going to lead this team, in 3 years to the Playoffs. Coach Dunlap was here to take younger players and give them tools that would lead to success down the road. He did that and to me, that’s a huge reason to be upset with this firing. He did what was expected and asked of him, and still lost his job at the end of one crappy season.
With Oklahoma State star guard Marcus Smart dropping out of the 2013 NBA Draft, the crop of elite prospects for the Charlotte Bobcats to snag this year just got lighter. However, on the bright side, Smart no longer being in this year’s draft class makes it much more likely Charlotte won’t be foolish and draft a guard with what figures to be a very high lottery pick.
Anthony Bennett’s Strengths
They could still surprise us, but the odds are good that the Bobcats try to get bigger, stronger and more talented down low. With that line of thinking in place, we’re moving on to yet another big man that could interest the Bobcats come June. UNLV’s Anthony Bennett has been sky-rocketing up draft boards, and could be a serious threat to be a top-five pick if all goes well.
Let’s take a closer look at his strengths and weaknesses and decide whether or not he’s a good fit for the Bobcats:
An offensive dynamo. Has imposing well on the blocks and is extremely efficient inside. Has excellent range on his jumper – extending out to the NBA three. Has really nice athleticism for the NBA 4. Rises over defenders with ease and finishes strong around the rim. Very good ball handler for his position. Smart player who knows angles and can draw fouls and charges with the best of them. Takes care of the ball and is very much a team player. In just one season of college ball he’s displayed a great feel for the game and a ton of upside. There is a lot of untapped potential here.