I’m so excited about the Bobcats trading Hakim Warrick to the Magic for Josh McRoberts! Not because I think the trade will matter much—seriously, Weird Al Yankovic albums have more significance than this deal—but because it frees me up from having to think about last night’s loss to the Pistons.
Against Detroit, the Bobcats sandwiched decent 2nd and 3rd quarters with contemptible 1st and 4th quarters; it was a suck sandwich. Or maybe it was a decent sandwich with suck bread. Whatever. More importantly, it was the how of the suckage more than the suckage itself that really hurt. The Pistons were down one of their best players, Andre Drummond, and they lost Brandon Knight for basically the whole fourth quarter to injury. Plus, for whatever reason, Tayshawn Prince is a Bobcats Killer (a nickname I doubt he’ll embrace), averaging 15 points and 7 boards against us in the last two seasons, and he’s no longer a Piston. So trailing by 1 going into the fourth quarter at home, the Bobcats essentially had to zero in on the lone Pistons weapon, Greg Monroe.
Unfortunately, the only thing the Bobcats zeroed in on was hacking Monroe like a George W. Bush self-portrait. Playing only the last 6:30 of the 4th, Monroe scored 10 points, got Byron Mullens to foul out, and overwhelmed Bismack Biyombo with moves that—to be fair—are beyond Biz’s comprehension, such as sure-handed alley-oops and drives to the basket that aren’t lost out of bounds. “We all stepped and played well tonight. We got into attack mode tonight. They drew up some plays for me in the post tonight,” Monroe said after the game, adding that he’d been referring to the one they played that night. For the Bobcats, it was another sad circle around the drain of failure.
Enter Josh McRoberts! On a pure per game average, his stats are nothing to write home about: he’s putting up 3.9 PPG and 3.3 RPG this year. On an efficiency/PER-level, his stats aren’t even worth texting home about: 10.32 PER with sub-average rebounding (8 boards per 40 minutes). Plus his team has been 1.3 points better defensively with him off the court. But here’s the thing: we’re not texting home about Josh McRoberts, we’re comparing him to the outgoing Hakim Warrick. Warrick scores more, true, but he turns it over more (11.3% of the time compared to McRoberts’ 10.6), rebounds it less (7.3 R/40 to 8 R/40), and allows a higher opponent PER (17.5 to 14.0). And the kicker is that Josh is a vastly superior passer; in fact, McRoberts is an objectively good passer with 4.1 A/40. How refreshing to just say that a Bobcat is good at something, period, rather than good compared to his horrible teammate.
The biggest mystery for me is why Orlando made this deal at all. McRoberts is on the last year of a deal that pays him $3.135M, while Warrick makes $4M this year (and $4M next year, but it’s just a team option, and I’m sure Orlando will waive him faster than it takes Marco Rubio to lunge for a water bottle). So the Bobcats get some cap relief for a player who’s younger and in many ways better—did Rich Cho just sucker the Magic? I think he did, unless I’m missing something (and considering our Bobcats, I’m fully prepared to believe that I AM missing something).
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