When it comes to professional sports, you can’t always judge the success of season based on championships. As much as everyone wants to get there and sees it as the ultimate goal, only one team can. Sometimes you have to take baby steps before looking at the championship as a realistic goal.
That is exactly what the Charlotte Bobcats accomplished last season. Their record of 44-38 was a nine game improvement off of 2009 and good enough to earn them their first playoff berth. Being swept by the Magic was no fun, but the team still has to feel good about the first of what will be many trips to the postseason in this team’s future. The trick that comes with even a little success like this is in deciding what needs to be done to better the team’s chances for next season.
That is where the business of professional sports can be problematic. Regretfully, the players have to be looked at as chess pieces; get too emotionally attached and it can keep tough decisions from having to be made. While the fans and the players are involved for the love of the game, in the end it is another business like computers, ice cream, and beer.
So then the question becomes who to keep, who to trade, and who to let go. As most of the Bobcat faithful are aware, forward Boris Diaw is a part of the team that was almost traded. No trade was executed involving Diaw so with the 2010-11 season not too far off in the distant future one has to wonder where his head is going to be and how much we should be concerned with it.
Boris Diaw is the type of guy that can take over a game and put up some points. Last season he had numerous games where he put up 20+ points and really made a difference to the team. He is a talented player as is evidenced with his 8-year career numbers (9.6 points/ 4.8 rebounds/ 4.0 assists).
However, his career numbers also show why he should not be the starter if the Bobcats have a better option. His point totals have been all over the place from a low of 4.5 points to a high of 15.1. If the fluctuation could at least be tied directly to his playing time it would make sense, but it is not.
Plus, the Bobcats do have another option in Tyrus Thomas. Thomas is a younger much more talented player than Diaw who is a little raw still. Given the opportunity to develop a bit more, Thomas has the chance to become a tremendous compliment to Gerald Wallace.
Hopefully Diaw realizes the situation that he is in. The Bobcats are a solid team that stands on the verge of doing something great in the NBA. If he can dedicate himself to being a part of the team and doing whatever he can to make it better than there will be good things in store for him (and every other Bobcat player).
The worst thing he can do is take trade talks personally. Teams do trade players they deem as disruptive, but he is not one of those guys. Players with talent and ability get put on the block because they are good enough for other teams. The organization thought they may be able to use him to gain a valuable piece to the puzzle; he should see that as a sign of respect for what he can do.
For the coming season I would say it does not matter who starts for the team because they both should get around 20+ minutes a game anyway. As Thomas develops more, then he can take over the starting slot and get more playing time than Diaw. At the same time, if Diaw can develop further and become more consistent then he will deserve more minutes.