“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value” – Thomas Paine
In an 82 game season, their is much time for a team to meet failure. 13 games into this one, and it seems the Bobcats have already found it. Very poor offensive execution, inabilities to control the paint on both ends of the court, living or dying on the jump shot, small ball and the lack of defense against 3 point shooting has all added up. Currently with a 3 – 9 record (in addition a game against the Pacers yet to be played today) many fans are ready to call it quits and lose hope. They take to the message boards and comment sections across the internet, calling for the dismissal of Larry Brown and to trade every player not preforming up to their potential.
I cannot help but be appalled. Now is not the time to be weak. Their is still much work that can be done, that i am confident will be done, yet to some fans it is time to throw in the towl. Every single weakness can be fixed.
Poor offensive execution plagues us. This can be contributed to the point guards, Felton and DJ. Both are not playing at the levels they were last year. Both are committing boat loads of turnovers. The question must be asked: what happened over the summer, what has changed? The answer is mentality. Felton has said it himself: he is over-thinking. The offense is not coming to him naturally this season. He tries to evaluate every play he commits and makes poor decisions. Why this is happening is Felton’s mystery. I am not seeing any solution to this other than Felton ‘snapping out of it’. When he finds his swagger somewhere in down the line, offensive execution will improve. DJ’s problems are much more explainable: a sophomore slump. Lots of great players have them, DJ appears to have fallen victim to it. He is getting the same shots as last year, he is just missing them. This too can only be cured when DJ locates his “swagger” and starts scoring the ball like he used to.
Inabilities to control the paint on both ends of the court has lost us many games this season. To name a few: the Chicago game, the Bucks game, the Orlando game (at the end), and the Sixers game. Vs Chicago, Joakim Noah alone destroyed us grabbing defensive rebounds and getting easy tip in dunks. Against the Bucks, early on Brandon Jennings established the fact he was getting into the lane at will. The Sixers game looked like a AND1 Mixtape tour game at certain points, with dunk after dunk after dunk by Elton Brand, Louis Williams, and Andre Igoudala. We did better against Orlando, but at the end nobody was stopping Dwight Howard or Brandon Bass, and we missed crucial rebounds while Orlando got easy plays. The cause: Tyson Chandler. Emeka Okafor opened the lane up for us on offense. Say what you will about the manner Okafor scored, but Okafor did indeed score. Defenses respected him more than we did, and focused on him. Nobody needs to focus on Tyson Chandler. Tyson must have converted to a Kwame Brown worshiping religion over the summer, because he now has the same exact brick hands that have made Brown a joke. The phrase “black hole on offense” gets thrown around a lot, but can applies here. Because of this “black hole” we get our shot blocked a lot. Everything gets harder for everyone because of Tyson. We cannot even hope Tyson will change. He sucks, we must accept that. But their is an answer: NAZR MOHAMMED. For some reason LB doesn’t like him, but Nazr can score the ball. I am not allocating for Nazr to play 48 minutes a game, or even start, but if we put Nazr out their for 25 minutes every night (compared to the 15 Larry is giving him now) and we will all see results.
The fact that we cannot control the paint has lead us to a odd offensive style of small ball and living or dying on the jump shot. Larry Brown has never, to my knowledge used small ball. But to deal with the fact Tyson Chandler sucks, Larry has used a lineup that involves playing Diaw (or even worse Vlad-Rad) at center, Wallace at power forward, Jackson (Graham or Raja before him) at small forward, Flip or DJ at shooting guard, and Felton at point. This does not work well. It just adds to the already outlined issue of no control of the paint. This group instead takes a lot of jump shots. They also miss most of them. Because they don’t control the paint, they don’t get the offense rebound and dont score. Hopefully this will just stop. Larry needs to play Nazr (i cant say that enough) and put an end to this small ball madness.
Defense is the strong suit of this team. Yet the lack of defense against 3 point shooting has all added up and cost us losses. Against New York, we had a giant lead that was soiled by the Knicks getting bundles of open 3 point shots. That was a game that should have ended in the 3rd quarter went to overtime. Against the Nets, we were down most of the game due to the fact they got as many 3 point shots as they wanted. Against Orlando, when they could not get anything going due to our great mid-range denfense, they shot 3s. Larry Brown must work on this. We cannot allow teams to get 3 points for free. It is unacceptable. But i have faith he will.
I have faith however, that all of our problems will go away with time and with work. It will not be easy, but we have the talent on all ends for the job. Larry Brown made this team. To fire him now would be a mistake. It would just prove he assembled this entire team the wrong way. I do not think we have, after all nobody is denying our talent and we all expected this group to make the playoffs. Nothing good can come of a firing during a season. No new coach can come in and assert their own plans. A team must go through training camp with a coach if they hope to be succesful with that coach’s style. This team was made for Larry Brown and should be coached by him for now. When the offseason comes, then we can evaluate him and every player on the roster. No more tingling with the roster. We brought in Jackson, we have 2 rookies that still have yet to find a place in the offense. This group needs to develop some chemistry. Now is a time for change on a different scale; not change in faces, change in playing style. Larry Brown is no stranger to change. He does not accept failure, and will do what is needed to stop it. We have found failure it is apparent. But please my fellow fans, dont give up. Just allow time and Larry Brown to change the course this team is heading.