Steve of the Celtics Blog has started up an interesting new series – compiling the best starting 5's of all time for each franchise. As the leagues youngest team, the Bobcats were up first. So, here is the link to the selections for the Bobcats best all-time 5, Runnin' Fives: Charlotte Bobcats.
As you may have guessed, I was asked for some input on it. Also responding were Ziggy of BobcatsPlanet and Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. It is an interesting read – and I thought a couple of the selections were surprising, which I did not expect for such a young franchise. I cannot say I disagree them, but below are all my thoughts that I sent to Steve in preparation for his post:
PG – Raymond Felton – Not a lot of competition for this spot, but Felton is not as bad as fans (and I) sometimes make him out to be. Career averages of 13.4 points and 6.6 assists per game are solid and he is still young enough that there is hope for improvement.
Dishonorable mention to Jeff McInnis – By employing (and playing him heavy minutes), the Bobcats cost themselves from being in the race for the 8th playoff spot each of the last 2 seasons (though Adam Morrison deserves some credit for 2 years ago).
SG- Jason Richardson – I wanted to find a way to get Matt Carroll in this, due to his hard work in becoming a success story out of the D-League. But Jason's first year with the team was just too good to let that happen. The first 20-point per game player in team history, Richardson made the 4th most 3-pointers in a single season in NBA history, with 243. If he played as well in the first half as he did after the all-star break, the team would have had its first all-star representative. Still young and under contract for several more years, Jason is the Bobcats best hope to fill that role in the near future.
SF- Gerald Wallace – 15.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.3 blocks. Those are Crash's season averages with the Bobcats. The box score stuffer is one of 3 NBA players to average 2+ blocks and 2+ steals per game for a season – the others being The Admiral and The Dream. While Crash may never resonate with the rest of the league like those historic nicknames, Bobcats fans will not forget Crash. We've had the pleasure of watching him develop as a player over the last 4 years and we've also had the anguish of watching a player earn the nickname Crash, due to his all-out style of play. What's bad about a player holding nothing back? Worrying that the concussions it has caused will shorten his playing career and diminish his quality of life going forward. Gerald, we applaud you for everything you do – but everyone will understand if you dial it back, just a notch.
PF- Gerald Wallace/Emeka Okafor – Unless I am going to give credit to Walter Herrmann for a half-season of awesomeness or Sean May for every so brief flashes of (heavy-set) solidness, there are few options here. So, I would consider the combination of Gerald and Emeka to be the best power forward of the Bobcats. Both have spent significant time here, in addition to the position they primarily man – and both have done it well. Which cannot be said for many other players the Bobcats have tossed out – luminaries like Melvin Ely and Jermareo Davidson. We just need the government to go ahead and approve cloning, and then get with Dr. Mephisto from South Park.
C- Emeka Okafor – Another original Bobcat, Emeka has been a rock solid pillar for this team from the beginning. A model of consistency, Okafor has career per 36 minute averages of 15.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game – and every season he has been within 1 of all of those numbers. With the rest of the team gambling for steals in front of him (Brevin Knight and Gerald Wallace were both among the league leaders in steals in 2005-06 – and all that gambling comes at a price), Emeka has kept the Bobcats defense respectable when he been on the floor, with a career mark of 104 points per 100 possessions while playing. Considering the franchise has a defensive efficiency of 107.8 during its short history, that should tell just how bad they have been without Emeka.
So, what do you think? Who would have filled out the squad if you were selecting. Let me hear in the comments.