In the last two seasons of NBA basketball we have witnessed an incredible amount of hype and media attention surrounding the league’s superstars, including LeBron, Howard, Nowitzki, Melo and so on. It seems that a championship recipe these days involves two or three superstars and one full roster of washed up veterans for minimum wages, and it’s done. To some extent, it gets you almost all the way. We all saw the Heat fail to win a championship last year with a roster that included Chris Bosh, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, arguably one of the most overpowered big three’s in the history of basketball. At least it should be, and remember, when KG, Allen and Pierce got together, they were past their prime and these guys are just entering theirs. So while all eyes are on Dwight Howard, CP3, and the extremely over-hyped FA pool, I look the other way, knowing I won’t be blinded by this hysteria.
So what was wrong? To me, the focus on superstars has become so dominant that even fans fail to see that basketball is a TEAM game! The Dallas Mavericks showed us that this time, though they had Dirk, he didn’t do it all by himself, even Peja and Brewer hit huge shots for them. And if you look back some time, remember the Pistons? NO SUPERSTARS ALL TEAM!
So lets forget about the superstars and look at what we have? What can the Bobcats do to make themselves a great TEAM? ‘Cause right now, it is our best option, so let’s do that while all the other teams are talking about superstars, free agents and the 2012 draft.
Look at our guys! Kemba, D.J., Hendo, UPC (he’s back!), Maggette, Diaw, Thomas, Carroll! All good ENOUGH! The key words going in to this rebuilding process is “foundation”, “confidence” and of course “team”. With the signing of Brown we now have a great young core group with a few veterans to lead the way. On Paper we are probably predicted to finish last on the table, but the game is NOT PLAYED ON PAPER so stop that rant right away. I would rather have us look at what we can do, instead of what we can’t do so here it goes. For those of you who might have forgotten, here are the important assets to have in a game of basketball:
- 12 players – check
- 1 basketball – check
- 1 coach – check
- refs – check
- other teams to compete against – check
- A court – check.
(Notice that a “superstar” is not on this list).
Wow, it seems we crossed off everything on the checklist. This is all great, but why aren’t we in the finals conversation yet you say???. For this team to become contenders or even a good team, they need everyone to contribute, not just one to rise as a superstar, but they need to play as a team, but it is hard to get a team this young to compete for championships because they are inexperienced. They need to build confidence, which is the fuel that will run this team. Lucky as we are, we have the best coach for the job. Silas. We need our young guys to have confidence in their own game. We need Kemba to start scoring right away, we need Hendo to know he can hit jumpers and do it, we need Maggette to keep playing his game and leading by example, we need Diaw to lose a few pounds, pass the ball and don’t pass on open three’s, we need Thomas to defend like always and to know he can dominate the paint anywhere, we need Derrick Brown to get to the free throw line, we need Matt to knock down threes and so on. And let me know if you disagree, but I think it’s obvious that our guys can do these things.
Confidence Confidence Confidence. We must be able to teach our young team consistency. We need to delete what they know about player roles, salaries, status and stardom. We need to teach TEAM again. Silas must be able to tell Derrick Brown to go in and get to the line and come back, they must learn discipline. And what better time than now, when the team is so young? If everyone of these guys play with professionalism the way, say Henderson and Augustin has been doing, playing backup or getting sporadic minutes here and there for to-three years, the Team is going to be off the hook this season. But if we don’t dicpline these young players right away, we will have ourselves a long hard rebuilding process. I believe that most of our young players have the talent to make a solid NBA team once, we just have to make them BELIEVE in themselves, and to believe in basketball as a TEAM game. This mentality was something that Larry Brown tried to make the 2009-2011 bobcats realize and failed. But that was a different team. This team is young and none of them has really proven themselves yet, so maybe now is the time to bring that mentality back?
Now everyone hold on to your keyboards just yet.. I do not personally believe we will be in the playoff mix this year. But if we start looking at the basics again, I believe it will be easier to beat the teams, rather than the stars themselves and we will eventually get more wins by doing so.