What a great time to be a Bobcats fan! Exciting trades, fresh new faces, and no 30-point losses to remind you of how catastrophically disastrous it was to choose this team to root for—one of many ill-fated decisions you’ve made in your troubled existence that will haunt you night and day, with the only relief being your own inevitable death. It’s great! With that in mind, I’ve created my own Summer League Awards:
Best Coaching Move: Mike Dunlap’s 2-2-1 press.
Coach Dunlap believez in the trap, be-lievez in the trap. And at least for the Summer League, I was totally with him. The biggest reason for the Bobcats’ 4-1 record in Vegas was because their defense harassed more than Clarence Thomas, forcing 113turnovers in five games. I understand the importance of developing players in a more realistic defense rather than coaching for wins, and 99 out of 100 times I would argue the same thing. But coming off a 7-win season is that 100th time. Besides, even Dunlap doesn’t argue that they’re going with this look full-time when the regular season starts. “When you get into the season, we can take it off; we can do it at times versus certain teams,” he said in Friday’s ESPN Daily Dime. So long as he can switch defenses as nimbly as he switches speaking in the second person to the first person, we’re all set.
Biggest Bummer: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist’s injury.
So hero-starved are Bobcats fans that Kidd-Gilchrist’s bravura debut against the Kings was borderline sexually arousing. 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, 8 boards, 5 assists, 4 steals, +28 for the night. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better…it didn’t, because he tweaked his knee and we never saw him again! Still, I don’t care if it’s Summer League, I’m anointing Jesus Gilchrist as my personal savior.
Worst Announcer: Sam Mitchell.
Lord, he was born a ramblin’ man. I kid you not: the following is a direct transcript of a Q&A he had with Rich Cho, who joined the announcing team during the Cavaliers game. If you don’t believe me, fast-forward to 8:46 of the third quarter. Then go grocery shopping, lawn-mowing, and sky-diving, and when you come back, Mitchell should be just about wrapping up. This was just one of many “questions” he asked that left fans begging for the wisdom and clarity of Reggie Miller.
Mitchell: “Now how do you keep—okay, you have Gilchrist, he just won a national championship, Kemba Walker…You’ve got guys on your team who’ve won in college. Now they come into the NBA, and it’s going to be a rocky road, because you gotta upgrade your talent, you know as well as I do, you don’t just win overnight in the NBA. But in that process, how do you keep these guys mentally strong and make them understand…I know when I played in Minnesota with Kevin Garnett, I used to always tell him when we would get beat, ‘Remember these beatings. Let these beatings fuel us to keep working to get better.’ What’s the mentality and what’s the message for these guys, because it’s a process and you’re not going to probably make the playoffs next year and it may even be another year before you finally start getting to where you want to be?”
Cho: (Passes out due to lack of oxygen)
Best Rationalization: Michael Jordan hasn’t amnestied anyone because he’s cagey, NOT because he’s cheap.
First of all, note that this rationalization comes in handy for a lot of MJ’S managerial decisions, such as the Mike Dunlap hiring. But anyway, for the second year, the amnesty deadline came and went and the Bobcats didn’t exercise it. This is curious, because it’s certainly not like we don’t have some ghastly contracts. The three years and $26M remaining on Tyrus Thomas is easily the biggest eyesore of the bunch, and in fact I can barely type those demonic figures without turning the same complexion as Kristen Wiig in the food poisoning scene at Bridsemaids. But he’s still young and that IS a lot to pay him right now to go away. So I imagine the thinking is to run him around for one more season, threaten to throw him in another locker if he acts up, and then cut him loose next year. Matt Carroll, on the other hand, has $3.5M coming to him this season, and he serves no purpose on this team with the addition of Ben Gordon. Actually, he served no purpose LAST year with the addition of Reggie Williams; now he’s really obsolete. What is keeping him here?
And yet those two aren’t even the biggest non-amnesty mystery—literally or figuratively. That would be Gana Diop, whose whose remaining $7.4M couldn’t be defended by the Avengers. I understand that we need a backup-backup center, but how about Jason Collins, Aaron Gray, Hamed Haddadi, or even Ryan Hollins? True, I may or may not have once given Hollins the affectionate nickname, “The Biggest Waste of Athletic Talent of All-Time,” but I would take him or any of the other three dudes (all unrestricted free agents) over Diop. More importantly, a phone call with any of their agents would go as follows:
GM Rich Cho: Hello, we’d like to offer Ryan Hollins a contract for one year, two mil-
Agent: He’ll take it.
So I’m just assuming that Jordan (or more accurately, Cho) has some master plan involving free agency next season, and so that’s when they’ll do some cool amnesty jujitsu. The alternative is that the team doesn’t have the will or the funding to aggressively get the best players out there, which is just too depressing to contemplate. So I’m deciding to go with the former, which will no doubt be one of the many splendid decisions I’ve made in my life, providing me with wonderful memories night in and night out, until my eventual ascent to heaven.