This third title started out out as simply “Drafting DJ Augustin,” but that was before I realized that the Bobcats also selected Alexis Ajinca a hysterical 20th overall. And then after thinking about it further I damn near broadened this one out to simply “2008,” but I stopped short of doing so because I don’t really think you can classify a year as a business decision. The lesson here is that the Bobcats have screwed up so many things that they start to crash into each other and conflate themselves; they’re the NBA equivalent of Kids. Or maybe the lesson is, “when thinking about the Bobcats, don’t think too much.” Anyway, I pinched it off at the 2008 draft, but If anyone could screw up a full year it would be the Bobcats. 2007-08, if you’re forced at gunpoint to remember, was the season that the Bobcats stopped making forward progress in terms of wins but grew leaps and bounds in terms of unintentional comedy. Charlotte regressed to just 32 victories and head coach Sam Vincent was shown the door that spring after less than a full year with the team. And that door kicked the bejesus of poor Sam on the way out, because unless you’re a member of the 2008-09 Anaheim Arsenal, Vincent was never heard from again. The good news, at least, is that the Bobcats learned their lesson about hiring unknown, unproven coaches and never, ever repeated that mistake. Ditto for owner Michael Jordan, who realized the error of filling key decision-making roles with flunky yes-men.
Allow me to reintroduce myself, my name is HUGH, H-to-the-U-G-Uh, never mind. Anyone who visited this site in the mid- to late-aughts might angrily recall my lame jokes and entirely fact-free analysis—mostly about my dog, Lincoln, but occasionally about the Bobcats as well. However, right around the time that Larry Brown announced he’d fallen in love with Alexis Ajinca at the draft, I decided that I needed to spend more time with my family and retreated to a remote hamlet called Brooklyn, NY.
Things were going well. My marriage produced another dog and two cats. Lincoln (pictured) recently came out to me that he was gay, but he knows that I love him anyway, and that I just want him to be happy. Occasionally Ziggy would ask if I was interested in blogging again, but by then I’d grown a beard and spent most of my time chopping wood and saying things like, “My war is over.”
But through it all, I never lost my love for the Orange & Blue! Or the alternative blues, or the pinstripes, or even the alternative NASCAR-themed racing checkers. So when Ziggy approached me last week, I decided to hear him out.
Hi everyone! Consider yourself cordially invited to the 2011 BCP draft chat. If you are unfamiliar with the history of our annual draft chat, let me just say that it is 50% mayhem, 50% hilarity and 50% excitement ( hey, we never claimed to be math majors around here ).
In past draft chats there has been failed suicide pacts over the Bobcats missing out on Terrence Wiliams, There was draft commentary by a Japanese hooker and who can forget our attempts to draft a formal declaration of war after those French bastards suckered us into thinking Alexis Ajimca could actually play basketball.
With 2 first round picks along with the recent hire of GM Rich Cho, draft night 2011 promises to be one for the ages.
The Chat room is available to registered members only, so REGISTER today and be there for the madness on Thursday night.
The Charlotte Bobcats announced today that they have traded centers Tyson Chandler and Alexis Ajinca for former Bobcat guard Matt Carroll, forward Eduardo Najera and center Erick Dampier, along with cash considerations.
Carroll started 81 games for the Bobcats over his 289 game career in the Queen City, and still holds the team record for Free Throw Percentage at .849%. He played parts of the last two seasons in Dallas after being traded in January 2009 along with Ryan Hollins for DeSagana Diop. Carroll has just below 12 million dollars left on his contract over the next three years, though that amount is front loaded.
Najera is a 6’8 forward who will make the Bobcats his fifth team in 11 seasons. A second round pick in 2000, he started his career in Dallas, and made stops in Golden State, Denver, and New Jersey before being sent back to Dallas this past season. He has 5.6 million owed to him over the next two seasons, and like Carroll his contract is decreasing.
Dampier is a 6’11 center who has played for Indiana, Golden State and Dallas in his 14 seasons. He likely will not play for the Bobcats as his 13 million dollar contract is not guaranteed, meaning he can be waived at any time prior to the season with no penalty to the ‘Cats.
General Manager Rod Higgins said after the trade was announced that “Our main goal this offseason was finding a way to reshape this roster and continue the momentum we have established. While it’s always difficult to give up key pieces of your team, we believe this deal will give financial flexibility and the ability to improve our team at the same time.”
Chandler was acquired last summer for Emeka Okafor, and missed much of last winter with foot and ankle problems. He averaged 6.6 points and 6.4 rebounds in 50 games with the Bobcats. Ajinca, the 20th overall pick of the 2008 draft, played just 37 games with the team, spending much of his time in the D-League.
What this means for Bobcats fans is that there is likely another move on the way. Dampier’s contract situation allows the team to pursue a player like Monta Ellis, Jose Calderon, or Andris Beidrins, among others reportedly available. While this move will place the Bobcats over the luxury tax for the moment, it’s highly unlikely the team will remain around that figure. If you don’t know how to bet on the NBA then I suggest you sign up for a top NBA handicapper. Were the team to be unable to find a suitor for Dampier, he could be waived to allow the team a chance at free agents such as Flip Murray, Shaquille O’Neal, or Will Bynum.
As far as Carroll and Najera are concerned, this shores up the second unit for the ‘Cats. Carroll is an excellent long-range shooter and provides a third man at the Shooting Guard position behind Stephen Jackson and Gerald Henderson. Najera likely will back up the newly re-signed Tyrus Thomas, and shows that Boris Diaw is almost assuredly on his way out of town.
Also, it’s worth noting that the rumored trade of Tyson Chandler and Boris Diaw to Toronto for Reggie Evans and Jose Calderon is now dead, as Najera is very similar to Evans and a Diaw/Calderon swap makes little sense value wise for the ‘Cats.
Toocool here, with a blog finally. Since it’s now the off-season, I decided to look at our line-up, and analyse how well they did in the normal season, and what they can improve on. I am taking into account that ALL players are resigned/stay on for the next season. Stephen Jackson, Theo and TT’s stats are Charlotte season averages, not the entire season.
The starting 5:
Raymond Felton aka Tonberry:
Stats: 12.1 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.1 TPG, 33 MPG, 0.459 FG%, 0.385 3FG%
Season: Raymond Felton started slowly, and gradually built up. Although his stats are down, we’ve seen in essence a breakout season from Raymond. We saw him come in with shoddy play-making ability and questionable shots and turn into an even more solid point guard. Comparisons were drawn to Chauncey Billups with Raymond’s calm and efficient play making ability, and the ability to come up in the clutch. His stats overall were down, however he looked far more comfortable out there this season. Again, solid defensively. He also averaged career high 3FG% and FG%. Playoffs he was dominated by Jameer.
Improvement: I would love to see Felton continue to develop his perimeter game. He’s made leaps and bounds on his 3-point shooting, and would like to see him continue to develop that. As well as that, his play-making could use some improvement. Improvement on turning over the ball will also help.
Stephen Jackson aka Captain Jack:
Stats: 21.1 PPG, 3.6 APG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 3.2 TPG, 39.3 MPG, 0.423 FG%, 0.334 3FG%
Season: Our no. 1 offensive threat and clutch player, and for good reason. Jackson had made a name as a Clutch player, and whenever we needed a basket, we would put the ball in his hand. His quote ‘make love to pressure’ became a fan favourite for us here at BCP, and we wear a shirt proclaiming that with pride. Jackson was in essence a God-send; he drew much more attention and was a strong perimeter and inside threat. His length at 6”8, combined with his experience and skill helped to overcome many of the shorter shooting guards he was against. Combined with his great defense, he was a great asset to the team. Came up short in the playoffs however, not having the impact we had hoped for.
Improvement: Jackson needs to work on his ISO situations, chucking the ball and TOs. He TOs the ball at an alarming rate, 3.2 TPG and he can be shown at times to completely stall an offensive with his jab steps. Also, when he is in a shooting slump, Jackson will continue to fire up shots like no tomorrow. If he can work on these areas, raise his stats a bit while lowering his TOs, he may get his first all-star selection next year.
Gerald Wallace aka Crash:
Stats: 18.2 PPG, 2.1 APG, 10 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 2.3 TPG, 41.0 MPG, 0.484 FG%, 0.371 3FG%
Season: Quick fact, Crash is the only Wallace without a ring. This season was Crash’s breakout season. Although all-star selection should really have been a long time coming, Crash had propelled himself to Dennis Rodman heights with his rebounding, tenacity and hustle. His hard work and effort has paid off, becoming our Season’s first all-star. He made leaps and bounds on his jumper, being able to hit from 3 with decent consistency. He also ramped up his offensive production, and even on off-nights, played tough defence.
Improvement: What can I say. If Crash can continue to work on his 3FG%, his mid range jumper and passing, he would become an even greater player. Now Crash commands a lot of respect on the court for his offensive slashing skills. If he can become an even better perimeter player, he can cause FITS for other teams. This was also a good season where he only missed 6 games. His perimeter defence could use a tiny bit of work.
Boris Diaw aka Doris Meow:
Stats: 11.3 PPG, 4 APG, 5.2 RPG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 2.2 TPG, 35.4 MPG, 0.483 FG%, 0.320 3FG%
Season: Diaw seeming at times looked good, while at others looked horrible. Lower stats than last year. Terribly inconsistent, he had up and down days, mostly having mediocre stats. Again, he showed flashes of what he could do, but at times seemed overweight, lazy and disinterested. However, he did show off his brilliant passing ability. He also was very passive on offensive, passing easy shots to other players. Solid defender, while at other times giving away stupid three point plays on fast breaks.
Improvement: Consistency is the main problem plaguing Diaw. Consistency, aggression and focus. He doesn’t seem to be able to bring all of these factors into every game. If he’s able to get more consistency and aggression into his game, his stats will definitely rise.
Tyson Chandler aka Mr. Glass
Stats: 6.5 PPG, 0.3 APG, 6.3 RPG, 0.3 SPG, 1.1 BPG, 1.8 TPG, 22.8 MPG, 0.574 FG%, 0.00 3FG%
Season: Horrible season for Chandler. After coming from off-season surgery, simply couldn’t get started on the court. Struggled for most of the early season, before coming off with injuries that caused him to miss even more games. However, when he came back, finally healthy he looked very strong defensively and made some key rebounds when it mattered. Still a force defensively, but struggled at the offensive end.
Improvement: Offense, and durability. Chandler can’t seem to stay on the floor. When he was finally making headway in the season, he went down with injuries. With an un-interrupted pre-season, if Chandler can work on his offensive game and make himself a threat in the low post and develop a short-mid range jumper, he would draw much more attention to himself on the offensive end.
Now the guys who sit on the bench, and…uhhh sit on the bench. Oh, they also play…some of them.
D.J Augustin aka Saint:
Stats: 6.3 PPG, 2.4 APG, 1.2 RPG, 0.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.6 TPG, 18.4 MPG, 0.386 FG%, 0.393 3FG%
Season: Utterly horrible season for DJ. Struggled with his shot throughout the most part of the season, only finally coming out of his slump near the end of the season, where he showed glimpses of why he was a lottery pick. Made leaps and bounds on his defensive game, having bulked up and looks stronger. Not so much a liability on the defensive end.
Improvement: Needs to work on his play-making ability and to be more aggressive with his shot, as he has a sweet jumper. Should also look to put on at least another 10 pounds to be able to be stronger in the post, and needs to really put in hard work over the summer. Hopefully next year he can start the season strong, as we could see what he could do in the pre-season.
Theo Ratliff aka Zombie:
Stats: 5.1 PPG, 0.6 APG, 4.2 RPG, 0.3 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 0.9 TPG, 22.3 MPG, 0.466 FG%, 0.000 3FG%
Season: Big man, big heart, big game. Struggled in the playoffs, probably due to the lack of playing on the Spurs bench and seemed tired. Filled in admirably for Chandler and Nazzy when they were both down with injuries. Formed the three-headed dragon back court with Chandler and TT.
Improvement: Theo will unfortunately only really get worse at this point. He’s growing older and his body is getting slower. He can work on his mid range jumper though to make him more of an offensive threat.
Tyrus Thomas aka TT
Stats: 10.1 PPG, 0.9 APG, 6.1 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 1.5 BPG, 1.6 TPG, 21.7 MPG, 0.442 FG%, 0.000 3FG%
Season: Came in mid-way through the season, at the end of the trade deadline. Played solidly throughout the season and came up big in game 4 of the playoffs. Had great defensive and rebounding ability, and was aggressive to getting to the rack. His defence, rebounding and energy really helped us in the limited minutes he was on the court.
Improvement: TT needs to develop a go-to-move in the post. He’s shown he has a hook shot or two, and a few other post up moves, but he needs a stronger repertoire of them. Has a lovely mid range jumper, and if he can continue to improve its consistency, he could be a big threat on the offensive end. Like DJ, I would suggest him putting on another 10 pounds.
Larry Hughes aka The-one-who-will-not-pass-on-a-fastbreak
Stats: 8.1 PPG, 2.0 APG, 2.3 RPG, 0.9 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.4 TPG, 21.1 MPG, 0.327 FG%, 0.357 3FG%
Season: When he came in, he looked horrible. Didn’t know why LB played him for such significant minutes when he couldn’t even play. Couldn’t shoot for crap, and was a black hole on offense. Thankfully, he improved and his defence was solid. For a veteran guard, he made a lot of terrible mistakes and would not pass on a fast break. Showed a solid behind the backboard shot.
Improvement: Needs to work on his decision making and team playing mentality. Needs to learn to pass on a 3 v 2, 3 v 1, a 4 v 2, a 4 v 1, a 5 v 1 etc. Fast break. Needs to also learn to score when he goes to the rim on a fast break.
Stephen Graham aka Hulk jr.
Stats: 4.2 PPG, 0.3 APG, 1.9 RPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 0.5 TPG, 11.5 MPG, 0.496 FG%, 0.320 3FG%
Season: Came in spotty minutes, and at the start of the season tried to do far too much by himself. After he was kicked from the starting line up, playing as a back-up 2 or 3 was much more suited to him. Came in and gave good defence and some offensive in limited minutes. Was solid overall.
Improvement: 3 point shot needs some work. Isn’t consistent enough. Also needs to work on his perimeter defence.
Alexis Ajinca aka Lexi the Benchwarming Frenchman
D League Stats: (they took him away, so if I recall it was around 14/7)
Season: Useless in the normal season and was subsequently shoved to the D-league. Showed his potential in the D-league and in the pre-season, and seems to know what he’s doing much more now. An injury ended his season, but he showed commitment by bulking up to over 250 pounds.
Improvement: Everything. AA has been in the system now for 2 years, but still very raw. He is still 21, and still has a lot to learn. He shouldn’t be bullied around in the post as much now. Needs to develop his mid-range jumper and post moves now to even get a chance to compete for the 4/5 position and playing time. Needs to do a lot of hard work over the off-season.
Desagana Diop aka the other Benchwarming guy.
Stats: 1.2 PPG, 0.2 APG, 2.4 RPG, 0.2 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 0.4 TPG, 9.7 MPG, 0.517 FG%, 0.000 3FG%
Season: Played in 27 games…didn’t do much at all. Had one decent game…and that was it.
Improvement: I’ll cut it short and say he needs to work on everything.
Nazr Mohammed aka Prophet
Stats: 7.9 PPG, 0.5 APG, 5.2 RPG, 0.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 0.9 TPG, 17.0 MPG, 0.553 FG%, 0.000 3FG%
Season: Nazr had a brilliant season. He worked hard on the off-season, determined to put in hard work to get playing time. LB rewarded him, and we saw him shine through with some great games, and a dunk when we needed to win a game. Unfortunately, a season de-railed his season and he never looked his old self. However, he had a fine season.
Improvement: Do what he did last off-season, and everyone will be happy.
Derrick Brown aka UPS
Stats: 3.3 PPG, 0.3 APG, 1.4 RPG, 0.4 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 0.3 TPG, 9.4 MPG, 0.463 FG%, 0.286 3FG%
Season: Looked very very solid in the minutes he got. Broke into the rotation in the season, but then got kicked out by no fault of his own. He showed great shot selection and some nice put-back dunks. Brought lots of energy to the court, and showed that he is worth far more than a 2nd round draft pick. Look for big things from this mate.
Improvement: He needs to decide whether he wants to be a 3 or a 4. From what I’ve gathered, he wants to be a 3. With that, he needs to work on his ball handling and perimeter shot. His release is rather…slow and awkward and he needs to work on that. His ball handling is also rather one dimensional, and needs to work on that in the off-season.
Gerald Henderson aka Hendo
Stats: 2.6 PPG, 0.3 APG, 1.3 RPG, 0.2 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 0.6 TPG, 8.3 MPG, 0.356FG%, 0.211 3FG%
Season: Didn’t get much of an opportunity, and as such did a lot of bench warming. Late in the season, he showed what he could do, and his great defensive game shone through. Wasn’t a big threat on the offensive end, but had a big game where he showed his slashing game. Fell in love too much with the mid range shot, especially as it wasn’t consistent enough.
Improvement: Needs a big off-season, as he’ll be fighting for minutes. Training camp and pre-season games will show whether he deserves minutes or not. He needs to work on his shooting, although his release is solid. Also needs to work on his ball-handling, and keep adding to his game if he’s to compete with the others for minutes.
Now that the Charlotte Bobcats are officially in the offseason, it’s time to grade them. Over the next month, I’ll be giving every player and select non-players their grades for the season. But I’ll start with a general report card for the entire team. Enjoy!
When you can turn an aging, injured shooting guard on an expiring contract (Raja Bell) and a sorely overpaid, worthless, shooter playing power forward (Vladimir Radmonovic) into a Top 10 shooting guard (Stephen Jackson) and another tradeable asset (Acie Law IV), you automatically had an above average season. But Michael Jordan, Rod Higgins, and Larry Brown didn’t stop there. In the offseason, they signed Flip Murray to be a serviceable 6th man for just under $2 million. In essence, a bargain. But he wasn’t the only bargain. Stephen Graham, who filled as a starter 8 times, was signed for the league minimum. Not too shabby. The Bobcats also picked up Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown in the draft. While neither received much playing time, both showed flashes of their talent in limited minutes. When they received over 20 minutes in a game, Henderson averaged 11 points, Brown 9.7 points. But not even a solid draft, free agency, and a great trade to start the year would make the front office lazy. At the trade deadline, they picked up Theo Ratliff for what amounts to nothing and Tyrus Thomas came in for Murray, Law, and a protected 1st. Ratliff started 26 of his 28 games in a Bobcats uniform, and his 1.5 blocks per game in Charlotte helped propel the team to it’s first playoff birth. While the result of the Thomas trade has yet to be discovered, he showed stretches of brilliance on the road to the postseason. Not to mention, Bob Johnson sold the team to Michael Jordan. All in all, a great year in the front office
Final Grade: A
Obviously, if Larry Brown is coaching your team, you’ve got a chance to make some noise. Brown made good on that reputation this past season, turning Gerald Wallace into an All-Star and rebounding machine, keeping Stephen Jackson moderately in check, and improving just about everyone one the roster. And when Brown was ejected (twice in the regular season and once in the preseason), Lead Assistant Dave Hanners capably stepped up. The reason I bring up Hanners is because, unlike Coach Brown, Coach Hanners is aware that there are players sitting next to him who are able to play more than thirty seconds per game. That’s one of Larry’s weaknesses, and it showed. Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson were among the league leaders in minutes, while rookies Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown played a COMBINED 890 minutes. That’s 60% of DeJaun Blair’s playing time. And need I remind you Blair went in the second round (just a few picks before Brown, but well after Henderson, a lottery pick) and was Tim Duncan’s backup? They received just 40% of Jonas Jerebko’s playing time, and he was both suspended for a game and taken after Blair. But, despite his rotation shortcomings, Larry did coach his way to a team record 44 wins. So, everything combined, a solid season for the journeyman coach.
Final Grade: B+
While this is a very broad grade, and there are underperformers and overperformers, in the end it’s the total sum of how your team plays that matters. While Gerald Wallace played better than just about anyone expected, he was countered by a lazy season from Boris Diaw. Talk all you want about how much Nazr Mohammed improved, but he was countered by the oft-injured Tyson Chandler, who had a horrible start to the season, and Theo Ratliff’s horrific showing in the playoffs. Raymond Felton may have skyrocketed his shooting percentages, but DJ Augustin’s plummeted. While Stephen Jackson stepped in and led the team in scoring, it took heaven and earth moving for 2008 first round pick Alexis Ajinca to even make the active roster. Larry Hughes joined the team to replace Murray, but somehow had a lower shooting percentage (and lower True Shooting for the stat geeks) than Murray, who had the green light from Coach Brown. While Tyrus Thomas had a huge impact on the team’s defense, he actually had a negative win shares on offense. So, if you look deeply, the team was a little bit above average, and it showed in their .536 winning percentage.
Final Grade: C+
Well, when you’re the only team to get swept, there’s not much good. But the Charlotte community showed up en masse for both of the team’s home games, and enjoyed booing JJ Redick. But outside of that and Tyrus Thomas’ impressive showing, there wasn’t much to like. The Bobcats only really contended in Game 3, and poor decision making doomed them then. A poor showing, and the better team won quickly.
Final Grade: D
Charlotte Bobcats 2009-2010 Season Final Grade: B+
The team accomplished its goal of making the playoffs, but now they have to show it wasn’t a fluke.