Imagine there's no positions.
It's easy if you try.
No words define us,
Above us players fly.
Imagine all the Bobcats,
hooping for today.
Now, hopefully Yoko Ono doesn't sue me for that paraphrase of the John Lennon song. But here is the point I want to get across: Why do positions matter? Shouldn't the important thing be playing winning basketball? So, why are so many Bobcats fans trying to figure out whether it will be Ryan Hollins or Primoz Brezec in the starting lineup come opening night? Because, they are centers and the Bobcats must have one on the court to field a basketball team, right?
Well, no, not if they want to be as successful as possible. On Queen City Hoops, I recently took a look at how the Bobcats played with Primoz Brezec on the court, and off it; the Bobcats are far better off with him cheering for the team, not trying to help it. No fan who watched the team last year thinks Ryan Hollins was a valuable contributor to the team (outside of practice, maybe). So, why is so much time being devoted to contemplating who might jump center for the Bobcats? Inertia – that is the way things are done, why should it change?
It should change because the Bobcats would be better off if they fielded a lineup more like the Phoenix Suns (I know they are the enemy to some fans now because of Amare's comments, but stick with me) – who start a power forward at center, two small forwards at the forwards spots, and then a shooting guard and a point. A lineup like this would get the Bobcats best players on the floor together, Emeka Okafor, Walter Herrmann, Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson, and Raymond Felton. Now, I know some of you are saying that this lineup would not rebound well enough to win, that it is too small. You know what? You're right, it will not rebound well – But it will win.
Consider these numbers from last season when Emeka, Gerald, and Walter played together (from the start of February to the end of the season, when Walter started getting regular minutes):
|Points||Points Surr- ended||Sco- ring Differ- ential||Turn- overs||Turn- overs Forced||Off Reb. Rate||Def Reb. Rate||FTA / FGA||Opp FTA/ FGA||FG%||Opp FG%|
|Team Ave- rages||105.2||107.3||-2.1||13.5||15.2||27.6||68.9||0.308||0.379||45.5||47.5|
|With the "Big 3"||110.1||101.1||+9.0||9.8||17.6||26.3||63.1||0.271||0.260||46.7||46.7|
|Net Diff- erence||+4.9||+6.2||+11.1||+3.7||+2.4||-1.3||-5.8||-0.037||+0.119||+1.2||+0.8|
They did struggle on the boards – but in almost every other field, they were better than the team average in a category. In the most important area, scoring differential, they were dominant. It is for that very reason that I hope Sam Vincent is not bound by the traditions of the sport, but allows himself to imagine what this team might be capable of given the opportunity.