Moral victory! Whoooo Hooooo! Kept it between 3-15 points for the entire game. After shooting 0-11 to open the game, it’s quite a feat. I woke this morning and found a new thread here on BobcatsPlanet, “I’m officially done with Larry Brown.” Larry’s schtick has grown tired round these parts. His affinity for middle talent “hard working” players like Dominic McGuire, while players that have a lot of potential, like Derrick Brown or Tyrus Thomas are given fewer minutes. Even the oft maligned Nazr Mohammed is relegated to the bench after a mere 18 minutes. Nazr is third on the team in field goal percentage, Probably brought down from last night’s 0-4 performance. #1 and #2 on that list, Derrick Brown and Boris Diaw respectively.
Last night was a bit of an anomaly. Atlanta is 17-11 on the year, good enough for 5th in the East. They had been without Joe Johnson, their best and highest paid (by a lot) player for the past two and a quarter weeks according to ESPN (what is a quarter of a week? 42 hours, not sure how much work their put into finding out when he went under the knife but, whatever). Losing 3 of their last four, they looked to do what Boston and Memphis did, which was get a big win over the Bobcats. The Bobcats came in without Gerald Wallace, who injured his ankle and was missing his second game. On the surface it looked to be one of those games where you weren’t sure who would show up in what capacity, but I never thought Charlotte would miss their first 11 shots, going scoreless for the first 4 minutes (almost 3 shots per minute, compared to the season average of 1.5 FGA per minute).
Somehow Atlanta never pulled away and DJ Augustin and Boris Diaw kept the ‘Cats in the game with 22 points each. Stephen Jackson went out near the end of the first quarter with some sort of forearm/elbow injury, had x-rays and came back after halftime. His shot was off, hitting on only 3 of his 14 attempts. It was alright, even Larry was a bit cheerful saying “Oh, yeah, I can live with that.” ”You know me, I would never have a problem when we play that hard.”
Gerald Wallace took on the role of head cheerleader and 5th assistant coach. Decidedly different from his posture and moping the previous game against Memphis, spending most of his time at the end of the bench. With Jackson hampered, it was nice to see DJ and Boris step up. While we all can complain about Dominic McGuire and his insertion to the starting lineup, he did have 17 rebounds…
This team seems to be still rudderless but with their two captains out or at least in a diminished role, I look for more of this “step-up” excitement from the guys who see action. When you look at the numbers, which is a dizzying way to spend 20 or so minutes when you’re groping for a storyline, you see some interesting leaders. As stated, Derrick Brown leads the team in FG% but is 8th in attempts and 45 behind 7th. When you look at points per 36 minutes (basketball-reference.com looks at 36 rather than 48, probably because players rarely play 48), Tyrus Thomas leads the team. I’ll say that again: Tyrus Thomas, leads the team in points, per 36 minutes. They simply divide points by # of minutes played and multiply it by 36 and Tyrus leads of Stephen Jackson by 3. So why doesn’t he play more? You could say it’s his turnovers, he’s 3rd on the team per 36 minutes…but I really don’t see it statistically other than that.
Who else might surprise you? Nazr Mohammed again, with 16.9 points per 36 minutes! What is going on? I don’t know about this per 36 minutes stuff. Let’s look at PER. WOW! Take a look for your self: http://www.basketball-reference.com/teams/CHA/2011.html (at the bottom under advanced, click PER…that’s right!) Tyrus is #1 and Nazr #2! Tyrus Thomas is #16 on Hollinger’s listing and Nazr #68.
Win shares, another odd stat that I don’t completely understand, per 48 minutes, Tyrus leads the team again, followed by DJ Augustin, Nazr and oops who is that? Derrick Brown? Have you heard of this guy? He must suck if he can’t break Larry Brown’s rotation.
So what’s the point? Gerald is out, might be for a while. Jackson’s elbow is messed up and his shooting might be off for a few games. Who do you turn to? If you’re sitting on that bench in the giant Phil Jackson chair, what would you do? Personally, you can trot damn Dominic McGuire out there, let him get his rebounds (leads the team per 36 minutes). You need rebounding and he certainly brings it. But why not, just on a hunch…no hell no it’s not a hunch, it’s stats, plain as day! You need to get Tyrus Thomas in your top 3 in minutes per game over this stretch with Gerald out. You need to leave Shaun Livingston on the bench and let him rest his bionic knee and the real flesh that may or may not surround it. You need to rest Boris a bit, but put his ass on the stationary bike when he sits, he isn’t bringing you win’s (8th on the team in winshares per 48). Play Derrick Brown, play Nazr until his old ass legs are about to fall off, he needs more touches, and for God sakes play Tyrus Thomas until he gets his ass in foul trouble!
Atlanta was a flukey deal, Larry was happy with it, I wasn’t. You don’t have moral victories and your guys are pros and I promise you are working hard every game. Shake it up! Might not happen until there is a new coach in town however…ponder on that one for a bit.