The Bobcats are two games into the worst road trip out west since The Shining. And just as it did with Jack Torrance, dementia is starting to spread in and around the team. Midway through the second quarter against the Lakers, with the Bobcats clinging to a semi-respectable 16-point deficit, color analyst Dell Curry speculated, “If the Bobcats can just keep Bryant, Bynum, and Gasol in check, and close out on the perimeter shooters, they could make this interesting.” Whatever you say, Wardell! It was a little like listening to Newt Gingrich describe his plans for colonizing the Moon. Curry might as well have been encouraging a guy in a wheelchair to just jump a little higher. Of course, the Bobcats did none of the above and lost by 33 in a game that should have been hauled off in a straitjacket.
Then in the following night’s contest, a 44-point castration at the hands of Portland, Coach Paul Silas issued this completely deranged analogy, spectacular in its inaptness: “If I had a full squad and we were losing this way, it would be awful. But you take (LaMarcus) Aldridge and (Gerald) Wallace off their team and see what kind of team you’d have.” Then his eyes rolled into the back of his head and he began growling “Redrum” over and over. First of all, I love how he considers the worst loss in team history to not be awful. Second, Silas was presumably attempting to compare DJ Augustin and Corey Maggette to Aldridge and (Saint) Wallace, which is so funny by itself that I can’t even add anything, so instead I’ll just end this sentence by linking to one of my favorite t-shirts.
Sifting through the rubble of these latest two catastrophes while laughing to myself like a madman, I’ve made it a mission to find something positive, some sign of life. Ah, here’s one: for whatever reason, Kemba Walker is a great rebounder. In fact, he’s got the 4th best rebound rate out of all point guards, according to John Hollinger’s stats. Unfortunately, the team as a whole has fewer rebounds than Jennifer Anniston, but thanks to Walker, at least we’re not dead last in the league (just 7th to last). Also, Reggie Williams finally made his debut! Against the Lakers, he went 3-for-7 for 6 points and a couple of boards in spot duty—not bad! And against the Blazers, he…umm, well…hey, how about that Kemba Walker, folks—man, for a little guy, he can he go up and get it!
Truth is, this team is on a collision course with all-time wackiness. We’re a quarter of the way into the season and Rick Bonnell is already thinking about who the Bobcats should draft first overall. In an article on Monday, he assessed Kentucky’s Anthony Davis and UConn’s Andre Drummond to be the team’s best bets. I was struck by this one particular line Bonnell wrote on Drummond:
“Half-court offense is a major problem for this team and it hasn’t so far shown much ability or interest in running, despite Silas’ requests. Drummond is raw, but he’s a heck of an athlete and the best player who’d be available with true center size.”
I don’t really follow college hoops, so I’ll take Rick’s word for it (and hey, when it comes to the Bobcats and the draft, what could go wrong?), but I have to ask, are we really considering another one of these “raw big men”? Do I have to remind everyone of bad our track record is on this? Bismack Biyombo might become the first player in league history whose signature move is an offensive foul. Alexis Ajinca—if he’s even still alive—is probably the main attraction in a state fair carnival show. Ryan “Goofy” Hollins was the only player whom I’ve ever worried might accidentally hang himself after getting his head stuck in the hoop. I don’t care who the team picks in the 2013 draft, but if he’s not a finished product, then stick me in an institution and say that it’s the only solution to give me the needed professional help to save me from the enemy—myself. (One other thing about that Bonnell quote: I love when Rick makes an observation that’s unintentionally devastating. Read that first sentence again—if we have no half-court game, nor a transition game, what else is there? 70-foot buzzer-beaters? Those are really the only two ways by which a team can score.)
So yes, we’re all a little delusional these days. But you know what, I’d rather be a little nuts-o than a total prick. Kobe Bryant was able to limit his minutes against the Bobcats, which left him bursting with his customary gratitude for the bench. “It’s on them to make the most of it,” Kobe gushed, “And if they don’t, I have to come back in there, Pau has to come back in there, Andrew has to come back in there, and we have to play the whole second half or whatever the case is.” Hearing such glowing praise, is it any wonder his teammates love him so? Meanwhile, Phil Jackson released his new memoir, humbly titled Eleven Rings, (sub-title: Beeyotch!), which had me wondering if this is the new trend in memoirs: simply naming them after your significant accomplishment or feature. I’m already looking forward to picking up $5 Billion IPO, by Mark Zuckerberg, and Gorgeous Ass, by Jennifer Lopez.