Fix-A-Team: The Charlotte Bobcats
Because MJ isn’t walking through that door, oh wait he is…crap.
by Eddie Maisonet, III / @edthesportsfan
Note: As Playoff teams are eliminated, “fix-a-team” will identify their key strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and key threats. For my business colleagues, you will recognize this as a SWOT analysis. Today, we review the Charlotte Bobcats.
After getting swept by the defending Eastern Conference champion Orlando Magic, the Charlotte Bobcats looked like everything Silky Johnson said about Buck Nasty’s suit at the Player Hater’s Ball, they looked bombed out and depleted. Outside from Game 3, they were never ever close to pulling out a victory against a Magic team that’s functioning like a well-oiled machine. Furthermore, the series within itself was not the most aesthetically pleasing to watch it was boring as hell at all. This is a team that made some major personnel moves for the ‘09-10 season, started to buy into the Larry Brown experience, and brought in a new owner of the franchise in the HNIC…Michael Jordan.
Before I begin the SWOT analysis, I have two immediate recommendations for Charlotte:
1. Please change the uniforms to look like something other than the Magic’s road/alternates. It’s bad enough you got smashed by them, but your jerseys look like the JV team version of their unis.
2. Please change the name of the team from the Bobcats to anything else at all. Thanks.
Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson are the lynchpins of this team, they are both 6-8 versatile swingmen who have 3-point range, drive the lane, and defend players on wing by themselves at any given time. Larry Brown as the head coach provides stability and a state of calm to a team who is the walking contradiction of calm. Boris Diaw is a phenomenal compliment to the team; he shares the ball well and can guard four positions on the court.
Where do we begin? What has become painfully clear are three key points about the current setup of the team.
1. Their point guard situation is a mess. Raymond Felton got roasted, toasted, and burnt to a crisp Salute Your Shorts style by Jameer Nelson (Looks like No. 14 is finally healthy again), moreover DJ Augustin is a 2-guard stuck in a PG’s body. Neither player can make a tremendous impact on the teams’ success.
2. Charlotte’s Big Men are utterly terrible. That might be an understatement. The collection of Tyson Chandler, Desagna Diop, Nazr Mohammed, and Theo Ratliff might qualify as the most limited assortment of bigs in the League. Sadly, the best big they have, Ratliff, is about 238 years old and is a free agent. Plus Chandler, Mohammed, and Diop are due a combined $26 million in ‘10-11. Just to compare, look at the four bigs compared to the best big in the League.
• Chandler/Diop/Mohammed/Ratliff – 20.7 ppg, 18.1 rpg
• Dwight Howard – 18.3 ppg, 13.2 rpg
3. The Bobcats have no infusion of young talent. As in, I see this player potentially blossoming into a top 50 player or at least a full-time starter. Gerald Henderson’s destined to become the next Dahntay Jones, DJ Augustin’s severely limited, Derrick Brown just happens to play the same position as Gerald Wallace, Boris Diaw, and Stephen Jackson, and I have no clue what an “Alexis Ajinca” is at all.
Even if Charlotte decides to let Tyrus Thomas walk (qualifying offer for $6.5 million in ‘10-11) they would only be $3 million under the cap for 2010. Unless the HNIC decides to either a) suit up, or b) open up that wallet again, there won’t be many free agent pickups going on in Charlotte. Their best bet is in the draft, and they need a new PG to right the ship. Unfortunately, the floor general crop is severely thin. The two best PG’s hail from Calipari-land, Kentucky, and for where Charlotte’s drafting…Eric Bledsoe might be a great fit for their team. He can distribute the ball, play on the ball defense well, and would have a chance to play for a great coach in Larry Brown. If they could find a way to purge themselves of their other big men on the team then the door of opportunity could swing wide open.
For Charlotte, I’m truly afraid this team might have already peaked this season. With Stephen Jesse (yes that’s his real middle name) Jackson just turning 32, Captain Jack is leaving the prime years of his career. Gerald Wallace is 28, but I’m unsure how much more he can add to his game. They are in a division with Orlando, who’s not going away anytime soon. Atlanta, who regardless of Joe Johnson staying or leaving, should still reign over Charlotte. There’s Miami, who depending on how this “Summer of ‘10” breaks out could be the lead dog if they acquire an elite talent to pair with Dwyane Wade. Plus, Washington looks to be in the mix for top talent this summer as well. Charlotte’s in the same position Denver is in. They are stuck and can do nothing about it. Their best hope is to try and work through some of their contracts and prepare for “Summer of ‘11” and pray someone will come and play in Time Warner Arena.
Job well done by Larry Brown and Michael Jordan, you’ve taken that first step into moving your team forward. How you move on from that will be difficult, no cap space, no young talent, and a division that will drastically change in the coming months. Prayer? Maybe the basketball gods can look out for the Bobcats, heck one of them is the owner…
Eddie Maisonet is a freelance sports writer, blogger and big time hoops fan from Oklahoma who currently resides in Cincinnati. Keep up with Eddie at SLAMonline as well as his blog Ed The Sports Fan and on Twitter.