True enough, your old pal BIGCat could be considered a fuddy duddy, I prefer traditionalist but even my Mother calls me a fuddy duddy. I like to keep things the way they are. You know what I mean. I just got a Blackberry and all I want to do is make phone calls. I have a familiarity with something and want to keep it the same. Before the season I wanted to do the same with these Bobcats. The same guys, basically, over the past 2 years have made late season charges and swept themselves and in part the city towards hopes in the last month/six weeks of the season. I figured after last year, with the front office making the one change that former Coach Sam Vincent requested (“Get me more bigs.”) then forcing him to not play Jeff McInnis by cutting him, and the ‘Cats still had an outside shot at making the 8th spot, a new coach would be all we needed. I forgot that the “dream” coach loved to shake it up when he came in.
When I thought before the draft that the 9th spot was a great spot to be in with the “hot” college players all taken and a solid guy sitting there for us to take as a “PF” we could build on what we had. The only hole before the season was the “4″ and we’d fill it with a Brook Lopez or a Kevin Love, or even trade that pick for a young talented player not happy with his current team. But then everyone, including Brook and myself were shocked to see DJ Augustin from Texas taken. I kept thinking, “Yeah, Ok maybe Ray isn’t the dead set lock in PG for this team going forward. I like having 2 pretty good PG’s may be a good idea. Ok still have the PF hole but hey look we got a french guy. Big “upside,” long, whatever, all that stuff Jay Bilas likes to say, I trust him. So preseason, 0-9. What? Ok, I get it, it takes time to buy into Larry’s “system.” Break old habits and we’re there and rolling. Rough start to the regular season but good solid wins. Then the trade I never thought would happen, did. But it’s cool because we all know it worked out. Then Bell was out, Morrison and Carroll stepping in did little to give me real confidence in either of them as a main contributor, but possibly it was that they were a duplication of each other.
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So, here we sit. Rolling through December, and into January with a very nice stretch of wins and near wins against some of the best teams. The team is really starting to gel, although the bench is really weak especially when DJ Augustin goes down with an extended injury (more than 10 days). We hear that all through the off season and early in the regular season the ‘Cat’s FO wanted Dasagna Diop. So they go out and get him and possibly boost the struggling Adam Morrison’s confidence by sending Matt Carroll and Ryan Hollins to Dallas for the “long, lean, shot blocking” Diop. Well the helacious road trip out west comes up and lo and behold, another injury exposes the weaknesses of the bench. Really, who is supposed to fill in when Gerald Wallace needs a rest? Who steps up to take Raja Bell’s PT?
The answer, we found out Friday night, was NOT Shannon Brown. I’ve never been able to solely pin a loss on one individual like you could on Shannon against the Hawks. I admittedly didn’t watch much of the game. I did see that the lead was substantial in the first half, tightened up after halftime. Possibly it was Larry forcing the game on the shoulders of guys who weren’t ready? All I know is, Shannon Brown should not be the man with the ball in his hands to end a close game or to try to win it. I don’t know what kind of inbounds play Larry Brown drew up in that final huddle but wow, it wasn’t:
”Shannon, you throw the laziest pass ever, into the back court, spinning Ray around to where he couldn’t see it. Let Atlanta get it and hold for a shot at 9 seconds left. Don’t worry, they won’t make it, I know this to be a fact. Shannon, you take over. Take the ball, drive and fade against the Hawk’s biggest defender and maybe you’ll get your shot blocked like at the end of the Boston game. Remember that? How it went to Boris and he drained a 3? That’s how this final 35 seconds is going to go. Now come on guys, HANDS IN!”
Painful. I had high hopes and gave high praise for Adam Morrision coming into and through his good games and didn’t dog him too much on his bad games. I had hoped that Shannon Brown would be an energy guy, he made some sick dunks, and that he could step up whenever needed, even if it was to give DJ and Ray some rest. Hell, we had a whole thread about it. Some even wanted an extension for the one guy on our team with neck tattoos. Listen, I liked him. Loved the action he tried to bring to the court, why lay-up when you can always dunk? Loved it. But, realistically, the guy is selfish and didn’t know how to make it in Larry Brown’s system. Why was he inactive for so many games?
Morrison, what can you say about this kid? He just didn’t have it either? How can you be the best player in the NCAA, draw so much attention and then not perform? I don’t know. He’s always been a disappointment to me. I liked the pick but it just never panned out. I don’t know if I can add anything to sum up what we already know. The kid has talent but just couldn’t make it happen? Does that work?
So, in preseason, could you really expect that the Bobcats would ship out: Jason Richardson (leading scorer and most talented player), Jared Dudley (High Basketball IQ and all), a 2nd round pick (who knows what could come of it), Matt Carroll (Mr. Talented White Guy that all older guys in Charlotte ask every younger, known-to-be Bobcats fan in their office about), Ryan Hollins (the fans’ favorite because of the blocks and desire to dunk), Adam Morrison (the most talked about player in Bobcat’s history and MJ’s “first decision”) and Shannon Brown (do we really want this guy rather than Kyle “the Dream” Weaver”). All those guys are gone! Gone from this team! I’m not upset, just incredulous. I guess being this involved (never owned season tickets before, never been on a message board nor blogged about a team before), just makes you think it’s going to work out the way you thought.
The question is, does the equation of -J-Rich-Dudley-2nd rounder-Hammer-Hollins-Ammo-Brown + Diaw + Bell + lil’ Sean + Diop + Vlad = More wins and a playoff berth? Remains to be seen. However, ILBIT!