Three links for your perusal:
Rob Mahoney at Hardwood Paroxysm – Burn Out, Not Fade Away: “But here's the thing: even though the NBA is ultimately a league obsessed with known finality, Jax has flipped the franchise on its head while energizing a fan base the Bobcats didn't even know they had. If the 'Cats make the playoffs over the next two or three years, who cares if Jackson butts heads with Larry Brown?”
Rick Bonnell at the Charlotte Observer – Wallace will compete in the dunk contest – And the Gerald promptly hurts his ankle in the next game and is said to be evaluating his participation. I want Crash in the dunk contest, representing the Queen City – but not at the expense of the Bobcats playoff chances. Get healthy, Gerald (and then dunk like mad).
ASChin at Bobcats Baseline – An AK-47, A Burly Frenchmen & A Providence Panther: “The Bobcats are playing the best ball in franchise history. If they want to continue their push towards the top of the Eastern Conference, they'll need another PF…No virtual trades with Eastern Conference Playoff contenders. Let's be realistic, why would a division rival and potential first round opponent like Orlando trade the Bobcats Brandon Bass for cap relief or a young player? Makes no sense.”
Go read them all – and then come back as I have a bit to add to the last one.
You back? Good. Ok – so, of the three trade proposals, the one that really intrigued me was the one for Andrei Kirilenko – I have been wanting him to land in Charlotte ever since his role was diminished in Utah: Carlos Boozer and his no-defense ways have been blotting out the light of AK-47 for too long now and it is time for him to shine again. And, just like ASChin wrote, imagine a small-ball lineup of Boris Diaw, Kirilenko, and Gerald Wallace across the front line – makes me want to go buy a NBA video game just so I can pretend.
Another way of pretending? I went to the player swap tool and swapped out Tyson Chandler for Kirilenko – and the results were even better than expected. Now, Tyson's efficiency numbers are a bit down from the rest of the team, because he has not been around for the recent winning streak (I do not think that is a causal relationship, but rather has more to do with the team adjusting to Stephen Jackson and Ronald Murray) – but his personal numbers, offensively and defensively are pretty comparable to last season, so I am comfortable with saying this: By the numbers, the Bobcats would improve and would be projected to win 45 to 48 games. However, the swap is not a center for a center, so it is not a perfect use of the tool. But given how many minutes Boris Diaw has already played at the 5 this year, it is intriguing.