The first recorded English use of the phrase “adding insult to injury” was in 1748, or shortly after the Charlotte Bobcats last won a game. I feel like the phrase works well for action movies; for example, Arnold Schwarzenegger beats a terrorist into submission (the injury) and then says, “you’re fired,” before launching the terrorist off of a missile that explodes into a helicopter (the insult). But it usually works backward in sports, especially when it comes to the Bobcats. The Bobcats are almost always insulted first and then injured, as was the case on Saturday night, when the Denver Nuggets insulted Charlotte by 22 points and then added an injury to Byron Mullens with about 3 minutes to go. I suppose you could also make the claim that the Nuggets added this insult to the previous injury of Gerald Henderson, who was unable to play due to a bruise, but that injury itself was added to the insult of the previous night’s eye-stabbing blowout to the Golden State Warriors. Injuries and insults: they’re like the chicken and the egg.
Either way, with Mullens’ ankle badly sprained and wrapped tighter than a Dexter victim, the Bobcats need to find someone else with a 46.5 TS%–about 60th in the league among power forwards—to replace him. The good news is they have such a person: Tyrus Thomas, who’s slowly making his way back from…whatever that injury was that he had. To tell you the truth, it’s been so long ago I can’t even remember (sorry if I’m adding insult to injury here). The Bobcats also have an immediate temp in Hakim Warrick. Warrick’s career TS% is in the upper 50s, which technically makes him overqualified to replace Mullens, but his weak rebounding rate and substandard defensive play make him perfectly qualified. Clearly, one of the Bobcats’ many managerial strengths is their ability to find and then replicate excellence.
If I sound bitter and sarcastic it’s only because I’m a bitter and sarcastic asshole. But it’s also because of frustrating quotes like this one from coach Mike Dunlap: asked by the Observer’s Rick Bonnell what it would take for Warrick to get more playing time, Dunlap answered that Warrick needs to “keep providing that mid-range jump shot the team lost when Tyrus Thomas went out with injury.” That is exactly what the Bobcats don’t need. According to hoopdata.com, the further (and therefore less valuable) the Bobcats get from the rim, the more they shoot it: they’re 25th in attempts at the rim (26th in FG%), 19th in attempts at 3-9 feet (23rd in FG%), 13th in shots from 10-15 feet (25th in FG%), and 12th in attempts from the dreaded 16-23 foot range (23rd in FG%). The Bobcats need another mid-range shooting big like Wayne LaPierre needs another speaking opportunity.
At least Dunlap added that Warrick also needs to provide defensive pressure. On that we’re in total agreement. Defensively, you could actually say that the Bobcats are pulling a reverse-Bobcats offense: they give up the most attempts at the rim in the league and then much fewer attempts from further out. To understand how that plays out, look no further than the 78 points in the paint Charlotte gave up to the Denver Nuggets. Actually, go ahead and look further: Kenneth Faried and Kosta Koufos went a combined 14-20 from down low. Or look even further to the previous night when Golden State’s Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green went a combined 8-of-9—not since Tom Sawyer has anyone had that much success with the paint. Essentially, just like Carrie Bradshaw, the Bobcats need a true Big who will stay at home and satisfy them down low.
On the other hand, the Bobcats also give up the second-most 3-point attempts in the league and the 4th-best eFG% from downtown. On Friday night Stephen Curry was a human predator drone from long range, making a career-high eight 3-pointers. So who knows, are the Bobcats weak on the wings and therefore freeing up the inside, or is it the other way around? Like insults and injuries, it’s chickens and eggs. Defensively, the Bobcats are more mixed up than my metaphors.
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