Tonight, I forgot there was a game. Apparently, so did the Charlotte Bobcats. That’s a bad joke thousands of people make all the time. I often make it. My dear sweet, long suffering mother often asks, “Are the Bobcats playing tonight?” I respond with the incredibly ingenius “Well, they were scheduled to, but they forgot the playing part,” or something along those lines.
I tuned to the game with about 3 minutes left, thinking “Oh good, it’s Sacramento, they’re in big trouble,” and was quickly stunned to see 76-117. Sacramento gets a lot of attention lately, mostly for being rudderless and lost, whether they’ll be sold and then moved, sold and stay, or just suck forever. They’re playing in a no-name arena in front of a few people. Hell, they made a trade just before the deadline, trading the #5 overall pick, Thomas Robinson to Houston in basically a salary dump. There have only been maybe 6 top 5 picks traded in their rookie year, so this is truly historic rolling over. Still, they put up 119 points against the Bobcats.
I was almost certain this year wouldn’t be like last year but the last few games have proved me wrong. 98-68 loss at the Jazz. 106-84 to the Clippers. Coach Mike Dunlap is saying things like “This one just scooted away from us,” ”Trying to stay upbeat, we have a game tomorrow and it’s all about playing with energy…team basketball.” C’mon man, let’s get serious here.
I don’t want to bash our first year coach, that came in with so much promise through the first few months of the season. It’s not a huge Mike Dunlap problem, it’s a huge problem. I read and hear a bit here and there about Dunlap being the issue, hell there are quite a few threads on this message board calling for his head. I never have been a good judge on how much a coach adds or costs a team. I know he pissed me off tonight with this “Aww, shucks,” interview with Stephanie Ready (who keeps getting better and better looking).
When I tuned in Reggie Williams hit a three, Gana Diop hit a midrange jumper and Josh McRoberts almost had the most athletic alley-oop dunk of the season. That flying whitey from Duke had his head up near the backboard on that horrible pass attempt from Williams. It was weird.
It seems like this team and several individuals are regressing. For toots and giggles, I clicked through a few links on SheridanHoops.com and saw that #2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has fallen all the way to #10 on his rookie rankings. Kemba Walker has regressed in the past few games, as far as stats go anyway. Many people saw him as a border-line All-Star and he came back from being “selected” in the Rising Stars Challenge on a bit of a streak, posting several 20 point games in a row. Gerald Henderson came on a bit as well, going on a string of 9 games of double figures with highs of 24 in the last month. All of this, nothing without wins or progression.
At this point in Bobcats history, wins don’t matter quite as much as progression. I’m worried that the recent 6 game losing streak is a regression, not a simple blip in the season. In the early parts of games, the Bobcats are keeping up but a bad quarter turns into a blowout in a hurry with this group. It’s too easy to lose at this point.
I feel like I learned a bit at the deadline. I assumed that the players the Bobcats have are talented and the team just couldn’t put it together. Gerald Henderson was available and there were no takers. JJ Reddick was traded but no one wanted Henderson. Ben Gordon, the petulant bitch-man wasn’t traded. Hell, he could me the cancer eating this team alive from the inside, if I had any faith in him as a leader, I’d almost believe that. Byron Mullens, Walker, Henderson, Gilchrist, Sessions and Biyombo strike me as a nice core to work with but I’m starting to question all that.
Besides Walker, who displays inconsistent, yet strong game changing ability, none of the names mentioned are strong enough to put a game on their back. It’ll happen from time to time but it’s very rare that Mully, Hendo or Sessions blow away their opponent. I read someone on the boards say that Dunlap was brought in to develop the talent we have and I’m not seeing it.
Bigger than any of my questions or complaints is what I started the post with: I forgot there was a game today. Not “I forgot what time the game was,” (it was an early start, 6pm Eastern), not “I had to work,” not “I missed the game.” I straight up forgot there was a game on. I was off today and had the laziest of Sundays and I was watching a 2 week old episode of “The Amazing Race,” rather than the game and something struck me that “Oh yeah, the Bobcats might be playing.” This apathy, from a die-hard, hardcore fan, or at least whatever you want to call someone who blogs about the team from time to time, is a big issue. There was an article about TV ratings for NBA games and it was horrible for the Bobcats. Less than 10,000 or something ridiculous per game tune in. I don’t understand Neilsen ratings but even if they’re off and skewed, it still sucks. It’s not good now, and doesn’t look like it will be any time soon. I hope in a month I’ll be eating my words.