A couple of links from around the web as the league winds down in Orlando for a couple of days for All-Star Weekend.
Thomas already was in the hallway with friends and family after the Indiana loss when the media was admitted to the locker room.
I asked if he had a minute and he slapped my hand and called me chief, which is what former Bobcat Stephen Jackson occasionally called reporters. He was courteous despite making his group wait.
I asked if he’s having the season he envisioned. He said he was not.
I asked what’s wrong.
“You probably know as much as I do, maybe more,” Thomas said. “You watch us.”
Glad to hear that Tyrus is continuing to work hard – I have to imagine that for a player that relies so much on his athleticism, getting over his knee injury/surgery has been tough.
The Bobcats are what is wrong with the lottery. Sure, compliment them on becoming awful in an effort to rebuild. But what does that say about the NBA’s incentives? In 2010, this team had a winning record and a playoff appearance. They’ve spent the last two years shedding talent in an effort to get terrible–I’m guessing. And I’m guessing because it becomes rather difficult to differentiate ineptitude from wholly rational tanking.
Hmm…go read Ethan’s post, though it’s largely the same argument you’ll see every year about how the NBA shouldn’t reward teams for being bad by giving them the best draft picks. That’s not what I care about. This is:
D.J. Augustin, Reggie Williams, Corey Maggette, Boris Diaw and Bismack Biyombo. This is not a starting NBA lineup. This is not even an attempt at an NBA starting lineup. This is an embarrassment, a blight on basketball.
No, it’s not, actually. That lineup has played 42 minutes together this season, with a net efficiency of -10.3. Not good, by any stretch – but not noteworthy. Utah and Cleveland both have starting 5 units (that have played several hundred minutes together) with comparable net efficiencies.
The other part: That’s not the Bobcats starting 5. At least not the one they were expecting to be using. Gerald Henderson should be in there, in place of Reggie Williams. You know how much time that five-some has spent together this year? 25 seconds. Yes, 32 games into the season, and the Bobcats have had their projected starting five on the court for about a possession.
That’s what Ethan was forgetting in his rip-job on the Bobcats – D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson, and Corey Maggette have all missed significant time. Additionally, 2 more of the primary rotation players, Reggie Williams and Tyrus Thomas have missed multiple games as well. 5 of the top 8 – 69 games lost to injury.
And Spencer has some thoughts as well:
As Brett pointed out, the article by Ethan suggesting the Bobcats don’t deserve the first pick is very careless in that the injuries and youth of the team were not mentioned, and those are the central reasons to the extremely disappointing season.
I pointed out on the ESPN 5-on-5 streaks article last week that the struggles Charlotte has endured are surprising. Anyone that says they foresaw the 4-28 first half of the season record coming for this team is just flat out lying. Losing 3 starters for an entire month and depending on rookies to pick up the slack would hinder almost any team.
The Bobcats shed Gerald Wallace from the books last season for draft picks, but why this move is so shocking from a team looking to build from the bottom, in the draft, and with youth is beyond me. Similarly, the Bobcats traded Stephen Jackson and his contract for basically an identical swap in Corey Maggette – plus the opportunity to move up in the draft. Maggette has pretty much the exact same contract as Jackson worth approximately $19 million this season and next. The on-court exchange between the two players’ talent levels (at this stage in their careers) is practically a dead heat, so to bring Jackson up and suppose that management’s move to trade him was simply to weaken the roster is a actually a weak claim.
To take shots at a front office that is looking to make their franchise younger and build from the bottom up by simply shedding every asset they have is fair. The problem is that’s not what is being done here by Bobcats management. Reggie Williams was brought in this off-season to add scoring punch off the bench (he’s been forced to start due to injuries). Rich Cho worked the three-team trade with Milwaukee and Sacramento to get Bismack Biyombo and land two lottery picks (the Bobcats own pick, Kemba). Additionally, management picked up Gerald Henderson’s rookie option earlier in the season (who has also has been out for extended time twice already this season). Okay, so digest those front office moves and tell me if it sounds like a team that is getting rid of every asset they own or one that wants lay a solid base with youth? I will attest to everyone that in talking with the team during the preason, optimism was high in the locker room, where it was thought the youth movement would benefit the team in the compressed schedule. Then the injuries came, and quickly, leaving rookies such as Kemba and Biyombo to step in and lead, not just contribute, which in itself would have seemed a stretch.
So, go ahead and bash the worst team in the league, suggesting that their management is cheating the system and throwing away assets to get #1 pick in draft, or do your homework about the moves made to field a young, competitive team on the floor. And if you’re going to be the guy who believes this front office is cowardly and deserves all the blame for a horrible 4-28 record, then don’t fail to mention that 3 starters have missed more than 10 games, and 2 of the top 3 off the bench have missed extended time also.