Byron Mullens, who had vowed not to shave his beard until he had boxed someone out on a rebound, finally showed up clean-shaven in Saturday night’s loss to the Nuggets. That was about the only good news in the drama-free blowout, as Mullens had begun to resemble either a man who had crashed headlong into a beaver at 80 mph or an unusually tall hostage. And speaking of tall, white, underwhelming rebounders with experimental beard tendencies, Josh McRoberts made his debut for the Bobcats. I had forgotten to mention this about McRoberts when I recapped his acquisition on Thursday, but it’s definitely one of his positive traits. In fact, if there was such a thing as beard efficiency, McRoberts would be putting up LeBron numbers—he’s done every look from Unibomber mountain man to 6’10” marine. His hirsute strength makes up for his Twitter absenteeism—according to his account he’s still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Charlotte Bobcats really got me. Perhaps it was in fact only me, but I had hopes that they’d get off to a decent start and maybe even be competitive in 2012-13. Turns out, for the first month anyways, I was right.
The Bobcats were at one point 6-4, and exited November a reasonable 7-8. Since then, they’ve won five measly games. More importantly, they didn’t win a single game in December, and have frequently been flat-out abused on defense.
Yes, the Bobcats enter the All-Star break sitting at a depressing 12-40 and even entered the break with another disappointing blowout loss. It’s only fitting.
But in a season where Bobcats fans are probably saying “it is what it is” at a record rate, there still is a light at the end of the tunnel. After all, Charlotte isn’t about to turn things around anytime soon, which at the very least means a strong likelihood of a high lottery draft pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.
With that said, it’s time for first half grades, and the Bobcats as a team get a resounding F.
Let’s break the members of the Bobcats down individually and see how they grade out through 52 games:
Mike Dunlap (HC) – D+
The hot start can’t be completely forgotten. I almost laughed when I wrote “hot start”. But that’s what a hot start is right now for the Bobcats – getting off to an “around .500″ record. Dunlap is a rookie coach working with very average talent from an overall stand-point. There’s enough here to suggest he can be solid at this level, but from a record stand-point it’s clear he’s been unsuccessful. I still have hope for him, but wouldn’t be shocked at all if he’s one and done in Charlotte, either.
Biyombo Plays, Says, Perhaps Listens Frequently to Moderately Popular 1986 Peter Gabriel Song, “Big Time”
Bismack Biyombo is on his way, he’s making it. Asked by Stephanie Ready what was going through his mind in the frantic final 28 seconds of zaniness that led to a Bobcats win over the Toronto Raptors, Mack answered, “We have done a pretty good job as a team, and it was just big time.” How has his play and the team’s play been different lately? “The effort and the energy…it was just big time.” Has it been tough with Gerald Henderson and Tyrus Thomas’s injuries? “Just seeing a big time player go down…” You get the idea.
The Bobcats are now 6-4. Considering that the Cats were 7-59 last year, I thought we were a long way off from ever starting out a season 6-4 again. In fact, the next time I thought I would write that the Bobcats were 6-4, I’d be preceding it with, “Captain’s log, star date…” But Great Caesar’s Ghost, we’re here, and Bismack was a huge part of the latest triumph. The Congolese Nightmare had 11 points, 8 boards, and 2 blocks, none bigger than the Heisman he delivered on DeMar DeRozan’s layup attempt with 14 seconds left. This was part of a desperate sequence that featured two blocks, a huge pileup, and 5 missed shots on the hoop by the Raptors to preserve a 1-point Bobcats win—the whole thing was reminiscent of one of those cartoon chases where some object keeps getting swiped back and forth.
Many of you have probably been asking yourselves, “What has Blogcat been doing all summer?” Many more of you have probably not been asking yourselves that. Or if you were, you were probably hoping the answer was, “Getting impregnated by a hideous alien and then watching in horror as the writhing monster fetus is extracted from his belly via a futuristic self-surgery chamber.”
And you wouldn’t be far off! Because speaking of watching things in horror, what I’ve actually been doing is writing an e-book (entitled–what else?–The Breaks of the Wind) on the 2011-12 Bobcats. Remember them? Unless you are one of the lucky few whose health care covers lobotomies, of course you do! Well, you can now purchase my e-book here for the low, low price of $1.99. And I promise this isn’t some lame rip-off move in which I just compile a bunch of my old entries. Nope, I’ve added dozens of curse words, recoils, cringes, dry-heaves, and shudders, all of which are befitting for the NBA season equivalent of a gory exorcism. Enjoy!
Now it’s on to the next one! I must admit I’m not optimistic about the Cats this year. In fact, I’ve been putting off thinking about the 2012-13 season for as long as possible, hoping instead for some kind of divine intervention, such as a rogue planet entering our orbit and colliding with Earth, rendering the entire human race extinct, and leaving NBA commissioner David Stern with no choice but to lock out the players again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s happening, and now I’ve got to accept that there will be a season. Therefore, it’s time to do some previewing and predictions.
Bismack Biyombo wasn’t drafted to be an offensive stalwart. Ever. The Charlotte Bobcats and everyone else in the NBA world knew exactly what Biyombo was: a defensive stopper with no real hope of developing consistent offensive skills.
And if they stick to their first notion and don’t expect too much out of him on the side of the court where they get points, then they’ll probably find a success story.
The beautiful thing about Biyombo is that, aside from his offensive deficiencies, he has a ton of untapped potential in general – most specifically on the defensive end of the floor.
As a rookie in 2011-12, he went through a lockout shortened season, didn’t have a regular summer and training camp, and didn’t get the natural rookie development one usually gets before hitting the court for the regular season. That, and he played for a pretty bad basketball team.
Despite everything working against him (again, toss in his inability to play offense effectively), and he came away impressing just about anyone who watched him. On the year Biyombo averaged a stellar 1.8 blocks per game, 5.2 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, and actually managed to convert on a very respectable 46.4% of his shot attempts. All of this happened in his rookie season, with just 23 minutes per game on the floor.
It may seem a little strange, but the basketball season is not that far away folks. Training camp is right around the corner (early October I believe). First up for our Bobcats in the preseason will be the Washington Wizards. We open the regular season at home against the Indiana Pacers on November 2.
That’s not a whole lot of time.
Now the NFL has been kind enough to play some games of their own leading up to the beginning of the season to keep us occupied (thanks guys!) so before you know it will be time for tip-off!
Personally, I can’t wait for that first game to start for a couple different reasons. First and foremost so we can officially put that dreadful 2011-12 season behind us for good. I guess technically it already is, but I think we will not really be able to put it out of sight and completely out of mind until the new Charlotte Bobcats step on the court for the first time.
We’ve got reason to be a little excited this year folks. It would be pretty difficult for the team to match last season’s record so we can only get better. Like you I’m not looking to except a slew of 10 point losses over the 20 point ones, but I don’t think we are going to be that bad this year.
I think we can surprise some folks.