The Bobcats have dropped two straight games harder than Manny Pacquiao, causing coach Dunlap to do things like allow Gana Diop on the court. It’s a disturbing sight for Bobcats fans, as the obese Diop can’t jump and can barely move. Offensively, he shoots it like he eats it: In-N-Out; his 6 points against the Bucks were his first of the season. Needless to say, the tactic hasn’t worked; the Bobcats have lost violently to Milwaukee and San Antonio, allowing both teams to fill up the stat sheet like a port-a-john outside a taco stand.
The first half against the Bucks was the Bobcats’ worst since they were thunderstruck in OKC. It was also more of the same story: the Bucks had 23 offensive rebounds and 14 more rebounds overall. On offense, if Charlotte didn’t score on its first attempt, it wasn’t going to happen; the Bobcats had more 1-and-done’s than a Kentucky recruiting class. Coach Dunlap countered in the second half by bringing out Diop—basketball’s equivalent to bringing out the gimp. To Diop’s credit, he finished a +4 on the night in 22 minutes of so-called “run,” joining Michael Kidd-Gilchrist as the only Bobcats with a positive plus-minus who played at least 20 minutes. On the other hand, much of that has to do with the tail-end of the 4th quarter, when Milwaukee emptied its bench.
But back to the first hand, I can almost see why Dunlap would try this. Mullens’ PER is a pretty lackluster 13.0 right now, and despite all of the hype surrounding his shooting, his TS% is a shabby 46.3%, which is last among all regulars with two functioning Plantaris calf muscles. Defensively, he’s allowing a 17.3 PER as a forward and the team has allowed 1.9 points/possession fewer with him off the court, according to 82games.com (side note: I love 82games.com. I want to go to their offices while they’re crunching numbers and softly chant “M-V-P, M-V-P”). But back to that second hand—or perhaps generating a third hand—is swapping Mullens for Diop really the only way to handle this losing streak?
As a counteroffer, why not give Reggie Williams some more burn, coach? During the Knicks game the other night, Walt Frazier said that Williams reminded him “a little bit of James Harden.” I don’t know if I’d go that far, Clyde, unless you mean an extremely little bit, like a thimble’s worth. Still, Reggie could be the first sub in for MKG. In limited playing time, he’s put up a 16.2 PER and his assist rate is not as horrible as you might think (it’s actually ahead of Jeffery Taylor’s). Yes, Williams defends penetration like a septic tank defends stench, but with him, Gordon, and Sessions leading the second unit, the offensive firepower might offset the defensive fizzle.
In any event, nothing would have saved Charlotte from the genital mutilation that was the Spurs game. San Antonio scored an insane 1.33 points per possession at a pace which would have made the 2005 Phoenix Suns look like an episode of Tremé. Danny Green hit 7-of-9 3-pointers, burying them like Jeff Bridges in Vanishing Point and exposing the hazards of leaving the Spurs open on the perimeter. I can understand why coach Dunlap came into the game employing a strategy of denying Tim Duncan the lane with double- and triple-teams, but I have no idea why he didn’t adjust it at halftime with the Bobcats already down 15. Things might have gone just as badly, but you never know unless you try. Instead he doubled-down on protecting the lane and the Spurs went on a 38-point rampage, with just 10 coming in the paint.
The problem with the Bobcats is that they are limited at what they can do with the 4 and 5, which is the same observation I made at the beginning of the year. From a PER perspective, all of their best players are in the backcourt. Mullens is the leader of the bigs, so if you want to send a message by pulling him, you might as well douse it in urine and make the team drink it, because you’re only making the situation worse.
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