In the last two seasons of NBA basketball we have witnessed an incredible amount of hype and media attention surrounding the league’s superstars, including LeBron, Howard, Nowitzki, Melo and so on. It seems that a championship recipe these days involves two or three superstars and one full roster of washed up veterans for minimum wages, and it’s done. To some extent, it gets you almost all the way. We all saw the Heat fail to win a championship last year with a roster that included Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, arguably one of the most overpowered big three’s in the history of basketball. At least it should be, and remember, when KG, Allen and Pierce got together, they were past their prime and these guys are just entering theirs. So while all eyes are on Dwight Howard, CP3, and the extremely over-hyped FA pool, I look the other way, knowing I won’t be blinded by this hysteria.
During a solid 2009-10 season for the Bobcats, we had our first All-Star in Gerald Wallace, we had our first winning record, and we had our first playoffs birth. With all of that momentum, great things were expected for the future. Then things fell apart.
Before the 2010-11 season even began, Raymond Felton left in free agency and Tyson Chandler was traded for dust and bad contracts. Then Larry Brown finally weaseled his way out of town after a poor start. Gerald Henderson, Tyrus Thomas, and Gana Diop were hobbled with injuries, and fan favorite Gerald Wallace was traded to Portland. The season ended with a 34-48 record and no discernible direction as a franchise.
And just like that, we began our rebuild.
If you’re wondering why the line is blank, it’s because we don’t really know who the team is going to be just yet. When training camp opened Friday the team didn’t have more than 10 players under contract. Now of course that number stands to grow in the coming days, but then the question remains who the team will actually sign.
It’s pretty much a given that His Airness is not going to sign any big name talent. I could on about this point at length, but I think my fellow Bobcats bloggers have done a good job in their most recent posts. No need for me to rehash their thoughts. That leaves the question of the day being this—who will the team actually sign?
One guy we know they got is Derrick Brown. If you’re asking who, you are not alone. Without the beauty that is the internet I would not have known myself. From what I can see, it is pretty clear that this guy is filler. If we didn’t like him the first time around enough to keep him in 2009, how will this season be any different?
Luckily, it will not be. Head coach Paul Silas says he doesn’t expect Brown to be more than a reserve player.
Negotiations are still on going with starting center Kwame Brown (yes—I said starting). It is still seems a bit strange to call this guy a starting center or to even say his name without cringing. The man may have started his career in the NBA in dreadful fashion, but he wasn’t bad last year down the stretch. He is not a long-term solution—unless he continues to get much, much better. Only time will tell.
While my colleague James has been writing about interesting free agents (read his post!) I am going to discuss the future of this team as the Bobcats management obviously has started a rebuilding (again) of the franchise. Now in my eyes there are only a few things that can be done at this point thinking ahead. Let me explain. The rebuilding started by trading our only All-star in franchise history to the blazers (Gerald Wallace), and next the only good scorer on our team (Stephen Jackson) to the Bucks to move up in the draft, where we drafted Bismack Biyombo (7th), and Kemba Walker (9th). Our roster now contains two top 10 draft picks, including young talented guards D.J. Augustin and Gerald Henderson, young talented forwards Tyrus Thomas, Dante Cunningham (if resigned which seems to be in the plans) and D.J. White, together with veteran forwards Corey Maggette and Boris Diaw and a Center named Kwame Brown (unless someone steals him). There are more players on the roster yes, but not worth mentioning. So let’s look at our options.
The Road to the 1st Round.
If—when—the lockout does end and the season begins the Charlotte Bobcats could end up being one of the more exciting teams to watch. Considering that the team has been under .500 more than it has been over during its short NBA life, that may seem hard to believe, but it is.
Last season the team did something that is very hard for any team to do. It had tucked its tail between its proverbial legs and dealt away the team’s top talent.
Sound crazy? On the surface, maybe it is. In reality, the moves that were made could not have been better for the future of the team.
The Bobcats have been mathematically eliminated from playoff contention after losing to Orlando. The ‘Cats were once again playing without the injured Stephen Jackson, but Gerald Henderson shined with a 32 point night for Charlotte. The Bobcats had four starters, DJ Augustine the lone exception, score in double figures. Surprisingly, offense was not the problem for Charlotte as they shot a reasonable 46.4% from the floor and an outstanding 90% from the free throw line. They could not stop an Orlando team that shot 53.9% from the field. The loss does leave the ‘Cats fan base looking toward the draft now that the playoff hunt is officially dead.