Archive for the ‘Charlotte Bobcats’ Category

Join me as I count down my predictions of the regular season finishes for the 2012-13 NBA season, at a rate of three teams per day. Tell me why I’m wrong in the comments.

30. Orlando Magic
If you’re a Magic fan, you should not be upset by my forecast that your team will finish with the worst record in the NBA next season. When your best player is Arron Afflalo and your second-best player is a toss-up between Al Harrington and Gustavo Ayon, you have to know you’re going to be terrible. So why not go completely in the tank and root for your team to put itself in the best possible position to win the 2013 draft lottery?

Typically, a team this bad is populated with young players still trying to find their way in the pros, but the Magic roster consists mostly of veterans who would be useful pieces on a good team if they were required to play roughly half as many minutes as they’ll be expected to play this season. As for Hedo Turkoglu, this is the last fully guaranteed year on his contract so I expect he’ll head back to Turkey after this season to play out his remaining basketball days smoking Marlboro Reds as a player/coach for Anadolu Efes S.K.

29. Charlotte Bobcats
Why do I think the Bobcats will finish ahead of the Magic in the standings? Because it’s a potential contract year for Ben Gordon (next season is a player option), that’s why. It’s going to be fun to try to figure out which GM is going to witness Gordon scoring 18 points per game off the bench this season and subsequently talk himself into signing Gordon to a four-year, $40 million deal.

I expect Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to be a boxscore slut and I assume Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo will make noticeable improvements in their sophomore seasons. Underrated Bobcats storyline: Will DeSagana Diop’s 12th NBA season be his last? With the expiration of his contract, he will have earned $47 million while averaging around two points per game over his career. Size matters, y’all.

28. Houston Rockets
After years of stagnation, Rockets GM Daryl Morey has finally put this team in a position to “bottom out” this season and try to land a future superstar in the draft. That certainly seems to be where this team is headed after shedding four of its five best 2011-12 players in Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic and Samuel Dalembert. After finishing 42-40, 43-39 and 34-32 over the last three seasons, the Rockets need to break out of their cycle of mediocrity and start trying to build a real contender.

It remains to be seen how the Jeremy Lin signing will turn out, but I’m convinced that Morey’s signing of Omer Asik will pay huge dividends for this team in the future. He’s one of the best defensive and rebounding centers in the league, and if he can raise his offensive game to something approaching decent, the Rockets will be paying just over $8 million per season for a top 10 center. I expect his emergence to be a rare highlight for this team as they settle into the Western Conference basement.

Next in the countdown: 27-25

There’s a lot to like here in Jordan Brand’s new “Rise Above” commercial that features two ballers finding their inspiration by watching this summer’s current Olympics. Of course, Carmelo Anthony is the Team USA player featured at the beginning of the commercial, which makes sense for the brand, as he’s the main NBA hooper on both the Jordan and Olympic rosters. However, basketball-wise, it’s questionable. If Melo were a real team player, he would have passed the honor to fellow Jordan Brand and Team USA teammate, Chris Paul. However, we all know how Melo’s hates to pass.

In any case, we see the two kids, one from the US and the other in China, go from watching the Olympics to playing the game, practicing, and getting better. The kid in China begins his path by crumpling up a piece paper and shooting it in a garbage can. The kid in the US does the same thing except on an iPhone. Kidding, but there is an app for that. No, the kid in the States does it up Nerf-style, and like most of us that did it the same way, he misses because one needs to be a physicist to figure out the right angle, speed, and trajectory to make those weightless balls go in the hoop.

Next, both kids are hooping it up at the playground with the Chinese baller even trash-talking. Cocky little mother. Anyway, they both do well against older and taller opponents. Right there it insinuates that if you want to be better, play against better. Afterward, we switch to dribbling drills because we all know that if you got handle, you can do a lot of things. You know, because you can’t just carry the ball like a football and move down the court.

And then the Jordan staple: dunks. I’m talking about the two hoopsters tomahawking the rock! Yeah, that’s more Dominique Wilkins’ stylo than Jordan’s, but it’s all good. Maybe it’s an homage to ‘Nique and Jordan is admitting he stole the slam dunk title in 1988 from The Human Highlight Film. Probably not.

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Theoretically, the introductory press conference for a traded player should be a joyous moment. The team is stoked to have acquired the player, having turned the page on their past and seeking to get better. The player is getting a chance to start over, to remake himself on his new team. The fans can enjoy their favorite team making a move before anything bad can happen. It should be great.

But if you’re Ben Gordon, apparently, you’re not happy. At least judging by these five pictures, which are the only ones available in the extensive Getty Images database. He’s not all those Clippers being traded to the Hornets, but he’s also not Johnny Smiles O’Face. But look at this guy, not getting super smiley about being a Bobcat, despite the fact Charlotte has won three more games than Detroit since Gordon left the Bulls because Detroit was a situation “where winning is the number one priority.” You’d think he’d be pumped to go to a team that wins more, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Wonder if it has to do with those seven wins last season.

Whatever the case, let’s look at this face and try to figure out what is running through Ben Gordon’s head.

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Ben Gordon left Chicago for Detroit three summers ago in rather bitter circumstances. After two summers of failed contract negotiations, while on his way out the door, Gordon unsubtly stated that he was leaving to join an organization “where winning is the number one priority.”

This has been the exact opposite of what has actually transpired, and last night, he found himself in a trade that proved it. Gordon was traded to Charlotte, along with a protected first round pick, to Charlotte in exchange for Corey Maggette. More pertinently, Gordon and the pick were traded for Maggette’s expiring $10.9 million contract. With all due respect to Corey Maggette, he’s otherwise irrelevant here.

Perhaps Gordon thought that Detroit spending big, on him and Charlie Villanueva, was synonymous with prioritizing winning. If so, he was wrong. Since that summer of expenditure, the Pistons have been a moribund franchise, hamstrung by a lack of cohesiveness, submarined by infighting, and unable to do much about it due to the payroll inflexibility they saddled themselves with. Indeed, despite not winning more than 30 games in any season since signing the duo, the Pistons have been the least active team in recent years with regards to roster turnover, sticking with what they had even while knowing it wasn’t working. With so many big, underperforming contracts, they hadn’t the flexibility to do anything else. Last summer’s business was spent on re-signing a team that had just lost 52 games. The Pistons have been stranded in a wilderness of their own making.

The only salvation since that time has been some success in the draft. Greg Monroe is well on his way to a maximum value contract, Jonas Jerebko has made Villanueva completely obsolete, and Brandon Knight pretty much matches Gordon’s production already while being only 20. There’s another top 10 pick coming. The only thing missing from quite a nice situation going forward has been financial flexibility.

With this trade, they now have it. Gordon’s contract runs for two more years for a total of $25.6 million, whereas Maggette expires after this year. The financial savings in the upcoming year are negligible to the point of irrelevancy. In the summer of 2013, however, the Pistons can finally start again. Between Maggette, Jason Maxiell, Will Bynum, Austin Daye and the remainder of Rip Hamilton’s bought-out deal, the Pistons will see over $28 million of expiring (and largely dead) salary fall off their cap. If the amnesty clause is used on Villanueva at some point between now and then, that figure rises to $37 million. Waiving Rodney Stuckey — whose final season is not fully guaranteed — could add an extra $4.5 million if needs be. And the young talent will still be there.

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Holy smokes, Charlotte Bobcats news during the postseason that isn’t about the NBA Draft or a comical coaching search. What is the world coming to? So crazy.

But anyways, what you see up there are the new Charlotte Bobcats jerseys, which are really just Dallas Mavericks jerseys with “CATS” across the front and some pinstriping on the side panels. We’ve known about these for less than 12 hours and they are already the funniest jerseys in the league. It’s like the team saw the Mavericks win last year’s title during a meeting about redesigning their jerseys and were like, “How about those? Seems to work for them.” Then everybody else was like, “Sure. Let’s get some shawarma.”

That being said, these are still better than the previous Bobcats uniforms, simply because their blue is a deep navy instead of that old color that looked like a pair of jeans that have been washed six times. While I’d prefer a lot more orange, I’ll admit that the tiny details in the world’s best color are a nice touch, as are the pinstriped side panels that keep things just Bobcatty enough that you don’t actually think they are wearing Mavericks unis. And hey, at least the team didn’t let Michael Jordan design these, because that could have turned out horribly.

In just eight years of existence, this is already the Bobcats’ fourth look. And while this is the best of the bunch, I can’t imagine that changing jerseys every other year is good for establishing an identity. Factor in that the team would love to get the old Hornets name back and you just get the feeling that no one really has any strong feelings about the Bobcats, including the Bobcats.

More pics after the jump, including the updated logo. Let’s hear what you think in the comments.

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With the Charlotte Bobcats amassing a 7-58 record in the first 65 games of their 2011-12 season, and only one game remaining in the strike-shortened regular season, the Bobcats were at risk of posting the worst regular-season record by winning percentage of all-time. With only a Thursday night game against the playoff-bound Knicks standing in between Charlotte and basketball infamy, team majority owner and pro-hoops legend Michael Jordan made the controversial and much-publicized decision to suit up for the team’s final contest, in an attempt to help shield them from ending up on the wrong side of NBA history. Here’s how it went down.

Monday, April 23rd. The Bobcats play their 64th game of the season against the Washington Wizards in DC. Despite facing a team that has been dysfunctional all year and will end up with the second-worst record in the league, the Bobcats fall easily, with Washington outscoring Charlotte 63-39 in the first half and ultimately winning 101-73. A disgusted Michael Jordan is shown sporadically on the sideline, until he is seen leaving the building halfway through the third quarter.

After the game, Michael Jordan calls a press conference for the next day. No explanation is given to the press as for the reason why, though Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports offers the following Tweet:

You guys are not going to BELIEVE what I’m hearing this MJ presser is gonna be about.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 6, 2012

Tuesday, April 24th. From the press room at the Amway Center in Orlando, where the Bobcats will be playing the Magic in their penultimate game the next night, Michael Jordan sits with a room two-thirds full of reporters. Those in attendance will later say they assumed that Jordan was either going to announce that he was stepping down as head of operations of the team, that he was selling his stake in the team, or that he was planning on firing Paul Silas and stepping in as head coach for next season. Instead, the Hall of Famer takes the podium and reads the following statement:

It’s been a hard season for all of us in the Bobcats organization, from Coach Silas to [general manager] Rich Cho, to our guys on the court. And as team owner and head of operations, I think it’s been hardest of all on me. I knew going into this season that we were a young team, and we were gonna have to take some lumps, suffer some growing pains, maybe miss the playoffs … but I never thought I’d be sitting here, two games to go in the season, and we’re knocking down the door of history with just how bad we’ve been.

You all know me, you know what I competitor I am, you know how much I hate — hate — losing. And in over 30 years of basketball, I’ve never, ever had to deal with losing like this.

Now, I’m not blaming our guys, who have had to deal with a lot of injuries, a lot of tough losses, and have continued to play hard, to try to grow as a team, even with all the setbacks. When you lose this much, it goes beyond the team, beyond even the coaching staff. When you lose this much, it’s on the owners — it’s on me — for not putting this team in a position to win games. I take full responsibility for the team’s record up until this point.

And that’s why it breaks my heart to see our guys, to see Kemba, Gerald, D.J., Bismack, going out there and competing every night, and have nothing to show for out. And now they’re not just fighting Orlando and New York in their last two games, they’re fighting history. I’d do anything … in my power … to save them from having to be associated with that kind of history.

That’s why I’ve called you all here to announce that, if we lose tomorrow night here in Orlando, I will be temporarily joining the Bobcats’ active roster for our game in New York against the Knicks. I will attempt to do for this team on the court what I was unable to do from the front office — to help them win enough games to avoid earning the distinction of having the worst record of any team that ever took the basketball court.

After Jordan finishes his statement, there are a couple seconds of awkward silence, as if the reporters in attendance temporarily forget what normally happens at this point in press conferences. A selection of some of the questions eventually asked and Jordan’s answers.

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The Charlotte Bobcats are terrible, they might be the worst team of all-time, blerbens blerbens blerbens. You’ve heard it all before.

But you haven’t heard what the head coach of the team they’re chasing, the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers, thinks about the team. Here’s Kevin Loughery, courtesy of Fox Sports Florida:

“Talent-wise, they might be the worst team ever,” Kevin Loughery, who coached the 76ers during the second half of their Keystone Kops-like campaign, said of the Bobcats. “We had more talent than they did.” [...]

“They’re just playing with a lot of 10-day contract (type of players) now,” said Loughery, speaking by phone from Atlanta, where he is now retired. “That’s difficult… I know it’s just miserable what they’re going through for (Charlotte coach) Paul Silas, who’s a great guy, and (owner) Michael Jordan, whom I coached. I just hate to see this happen to them.”

It’s impossible to compare different eras of the NBA, so there’s no way to know this for sure. Looking at the Sixers’ roster and comparing it to this year’s Bobcats, both teams seem equally anonymous. Sure, we know who Matt Carroll and Gerald Henderson are now, but that’s because we follow basketball closely. Do you really think you’re going to tell your kids about those guys? Probably not, just like our dads didn’t tell us about Manny Leaks and Leroy Ellis even though those are real people who played lots of minutes for the 76ers.

However, this does make sense for Loughery to say, considering he played for that horrible 76ers team. Yes, played, as he took over as player-coach when the team’s first coach, Roy Rubin, was fired. Of course he’s going to say the 76ers were more talented. Not only was he part of the “talent,” it’s also one of the very few times anyone from that team gets to talk trash. When you win less than 11 percent of your games for a season, you have to savor the moments when you might actually be better than someone else.

All in all, I say we call things even here. Let’s just say both teams sucked and weren’t very talented, then leave it at that. When What If Sports updates their databases with the Bobcats’ terrible stats, we’ll run a simulation, since I’m guessing the 72-73 Sixers won’t make the cut for NBA 2K13. That’s too bad, because this is an argument that definitely needs settling.

(via PBT)