Some of you may have read part 1 of mine and Christian “Bodin” Norway’s Q & A session earlier in the week. However, the response was great the only way we could answer all the question in the detail they deserve was to split the article in two, so here it is. Part 2.
1) Isguros: What’s your opinion about not re-signing Derrick Brown, was it to clear cap space in order to sign a big free agent or do the bobcats think Jeff Taylor will be a better player this season?
James Plowright: One thing Cho has repeatedly emphasized is he wants is flexibility, this is why he was rescinded rather than going for a big FA signing. I think just having the roster spots open and saving 3 million on CAP space is the reason. Derrick Brown was never going to be the make or break of this franchise, I mean as much as like his pre game dancing and his highlight dunks he is a rotation player. I actually think he made quite a few strides last year, he started rebounding at a better rate and began to hit the midrange jumper. But, you can see the roster changes we have made this offseason, it has been close to a total overhaul and for that to happen you need flexibility. We had not drafted Jeff Taylor (28th June) when we rescinded Derrick Brown’s QA (18th June). So it is not like the front office picked Taylor over Brown. However, in answer to your questions, yes I think Jeff Taylor will be a better player this season and throughout his career. Taylor is a much better defensive player, can guard 1-4, is a better shooter and is still pretty athletic.
Christian “Norway” Bodin: I’m not sure I like it really. He is showed a lot of promise last year and could be a valuable rotation player this season, especially if injury strikes either MKG (which is likely with his slim body at this point) or Jeff Taylor. I personally think Jeff Taylor could come in and do as well a job, if not better than Derrick Brown, but Brown is bigger and better inside, where he could play some 4 when going small. I thought we would keep him to play the scrap minutes at the three. As far as clearing cap-space, he would still be in his rookie contract if he resigned. It was a qualifying option, and it doesn’t seem like a lot of teams are willing to pay a significant amount of money on him. It might have been that they were trying to negotiate for someone, but failed to get it through, and maybe they will invite him to training camp and give him a new contract, who knows. Either way, I think giving him a final year would benefit us so I didn’t really get it.
2) Adam187: what do you see happening with Tyrus Thomas?
James Plowright: Why did you have to ask this Adam!? I have no idea!!! But if I have to take a guess… When we first acquired TT in his contract year he looked like a bundle of energy ready to explode. He then got his nice 5 year contract… Since then he has struggled, looked disinterested, had dust ups with his coach. He has done pretty much everything, but play well. I think TT is going to go one of two ways this year, he will either immerse himself in Dunlap’s attitude and philosophical approach to the game… Or he will say, “screw this guy, it’s too strict and hard, get me out of here!” which way though? I really don’t know. I mean, TT managed to have a dust up with Silas who is one of the most laid back coaches I have ever seen! All I know is Dunlap won’t take any stick from TT. I know according to forum insider Ballwhore that TT has asked for a trade in the past (we would love to TT but nobody wants your fat contract you signed!) But apparently he has been working out a lot over summer and has put on 15-20 pounds
Christian “Norway” Bodin: I don’t see much happening to Tyrus Thomas. Using the amnesty clause this season at this point seems useless, as there is not a lot of free agent PF’s to go after, and waving him without a replacement makes our frontcourt even thinner. Unless a decent trade opportunity comes along before February, I see him getting some minutes as backup this season. He was utterly useless last season, and has everything to prove. Hopefully he gains some weight and starts to play like he did back when we got him. As for next season, unless he comes out averaging 18pts 10rebs and 2blocks, he’s probably outta here with an amnesty clause.
3) Along13: Other than forcing players through trades to come to Charlotte, what does Charlotte have to do make players want to come to Charlotte?
James Plowright: This whole idea of a small market team not being able to attract free agents is not true. It is harder to make a small market appealing but it is definitely possible. Just look at Minnesota, this offseason it has been a major attraction for free agents. Brandon Roy even came out of retirement to play for them, Kirilenko has come over from being a national hero in Russiato play for them. This shows that it is possible for a small market to be a destination for big time FA. What Minnesota has done is drafted well (Rubio and Love), created a good young core and convinced the vets that with them they can challenge for a spot in the playoffs. This is what we have already started doing. MKG, Biz, Kemba… these guys need to prove themselves and then when it comes to FA next year or the year after FA need to think okay, these guys are good but with me we can contend and I can lead them. Not saying it is going to be easy, but it is certainly possible. Also, having loads of CAP space to throw at them also helps! Plus MJ could sign them to Jordan Brand and make them some more $$$$$!
Christian “Norway” Bodin: Coming off a record like last season, it wouldn’t matter much if you were the Los Angeles Lakers. The Elite players would all like to be in the playoffs no matter what teams try to acquire them. Charlotte is a great city for basketball; remember when the Hornets were a good team, getting big names here then, wasn’t as difficult. So before we think about getting the big free agents, we have to establish ourselves as a competitive and professional franchise, with only a championship in our minds. I think we will have a great young core for the next few seasons, and developing our young talents is going to help a lot. OKC is not a big market team, but when they have guys like Westbrook and Durant, other big names would love to come. Uncertainty about the management the past few years, a horrible record and really nothing to show for basketball wise, is certainly what makes Charlotte an unattractive place for proven players right now. The only thing we can hope for is development. As a small market team we certainly have much to prove on that end, before we can start luring free agents here. Money as we speak is not an issue either so for that one big name to come here, it looks like we will have the cap space these next few years. Draft for talent trade for need, so trading definitely is a good way to go, and when we get one BIG name here, others will be more open to joining.
4) Chef: do you think the national media fairly covers the bobcats? Do they pile on the cats as much as some of the more sensitive posters on this site think? do they cover the MJ angle correctly or incorrectly?
James Plowright: Every time I see someone refer to us as the Charlotte Hornets I would love to throttle them. The answer to your question is quite simply no, we don’t get covered fairly. However, have we given the national media any reason to respect us and cover us fairly? I don’t think we can complain until we show something, we have to gain the respect of writer and pundits and the only way we do that is by making smart moves, drafting well and winning games. We as fans will always feel the national media picks on us and that’s because we don’t like other people disrespecting our team (even if we are the worst team in the NBA). The MJ angle is a difficult, it is hard to analyze some of his decisions as we don’t know the entire story. But I am worried about how Jordan seems to surround himself and the team (see my previous article) with people who are personally close to him. But overall, as us Brits say, sometimes you just have to role with the punches.
Christian “Norway” Bodin: The media as we all know is a cruel and cynical business. Journalists love losers as much as winners, and right now, the Charlotte Bobcats franchise is an easy target, especially a high profiled hall of famer such as Michael Jordan. As much as we as fans hate to see our Bobcats get pinned in the media, we still have nothing to show for as far as shutting their mouths go. If you look at the Pacers, for years they haven’t gotten a lot of good attention in the media. The Pacers history is somewhat brawly, but in their recent seasons, they have kept their eyes straight ahead, ignored expectations and just showed the utmost professionalism and as the playoffs approached the media suddenly saw that the pacers where a legit threat to go deep into the playoffs. This season, we all already considered a non threat throughout the league, and we have everything to prove. I seriously doubt we will get any worse, and the best we can hope for, is to stir up a few things in the east and maybe turn a few heads. What we should want right now is to show the league that our rebuilding is in full swing, and the development of our young talent is going forward. Winning a few more games will certainly help that.
5) Ziggy: “Who will benefit the most from the Silas to Dunlap coaching change? Henderson, Kemba or Biz?
James Plowright: I don’t always like going with the obvious answer, but with this one I have no choice, it’s Kemba. Dunlap is planning to implement a drag screen system similar to what CP3 had in New Orleans. The aim of this is getting Kemba doing what he is good at, getting in the lane and attacking the paint. Dunlap felt that Silas had tried to put Kemba in a box, make him a true point guard but Dunlap is going to try get Kemba playing like he was at UConn. We have already seen some signs of this in summer league, and it showed to be effective as he lead the summer league in assists, despite registering 0 in his last game. I wouldn’t worry about this though, he is still young and inconsistency is something most young players have.
Bismack will improve for sure, the guy has too many physical gifts and too great a work ethic for it not to. However, I don’t think that will be down to Dunlap as he is not at the level of skill yet where he will have plays run for him. I think Henderson will do well just to match last season if I am honest, Ben Gordon is going to take some of his minutes that is for sure. I think it will depend on how much we struggle to score, if we do then Gordon will obviously get more playing time. However, if the scoring is coming elsewhere Henderson should get some burn as he is one of the best defenders on the team and we know Dunlap is going to love that.
Christian “Norway” Bodin: I think Kemba Walker will be the most improved. You can tell how he was already buying into Coach Dunlap during summer league. Kemba did not enjoy his rookie season, losing 59 games. He came off a championship team and is not the kind of guy to take a season like that lightly. He also seems smart enough to understand that he needs coaching to exceed in this league, and Coach Dunlap is there to do just that, develop young talent. Kemba seems to be embracing this opportunity in a personal vendetta against losing. Henderson has always been this kind of player, pure professional and extremely coachable, he will finally be coached the right way. Though a guy like Larry Brown would be just as good for him, Hendo just had a far smaller role on the team when he was here. It seems like Hendo is very satisfied with the way things look, the mentality of the young core Kemba’s leadership and Dunlap’s coaching style.
That is it for our Question and Answer sessions, if people enjoyed reading them then we will do them again in the future.
Goodbye and good luck
James Plowright & Christian “Norway” Bodin