The Bobcats reamin on the outside, looking in at the playoffs…but the margin is down to just a half game going into tonight's matchup with the Spurs. Some fans seem to be pondering the consequences – of winning? That is right – some fans are of the mind that the Bobcats are better off missing the playoffs and getting their first round pick, rather than make the playoffs, be a presumed doormat for the Celtics or Cavs, and then sending the pick to Denver to complete the Ajinca deal. Rick Bonnell votes: Playoffs. RufusOnFire, however, (being the eternal optimist) seems to be of the mind that the Bobcats are better off losing enough to keep Jrue Holiday (the first player the ESPN lotto machine gave the Cats when I tried). Excerpt representing ROF's thoughts (full post here):
However, it's a valid point that there's a certain fatalism to this whole endeavor because getting the eight seed earns the right to get crushed by Cleveland or Boston. Granted, Boston would be far better matchup for the Bobcats, and if everyone involved is healthy, that series goes to six games, but we'd still be heavy underdogs.
And so I ask: If just making the playoffs is the goal, then what's next? If we've set up the team to be this good for the next two years, then what's next?
My thought: This Bobcat team is better than the Hawks team that took the Celtics to 7 in last year's playoffs. No, that is not just fanboy talk: When the Bobcats have their five starters healthy (Mek, Diaw, Crash, Raja, and Ray), they are good – 16-11 good. That would be a 48 or 49 win team over a season (and their efficiencies tell the same story). Does that mean I expect the Bobcats would take a series from either Cleveland or Boston? No – but it but does mean that they are good enough to make it interesting.
Additional reason to support making the playoffs rather than hope for the lottery: The Bobcats can keep this draft pick this year – up to a certain point. Bonnell reports that Rod Higgins says the pick is protected up to the 20th spot this year, meaning the Cats can make the playoffs and still have a role in the first round.
So – I know which way Bonnell and I lean, and I think I can guess what David (RufusOnFire) prefers: How about you? Vote and then let me know why you voted the way you did in the comments.