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March 26, 2008

What's wrong with Emeka?

    Just what is going on with Emeka Okafor?0326bobcats
       He says he isn't sick, and beyond that he was at a loss for explanations Tuesday night as to why he's contributed so little of late. He's totaled 20 points and 19 rebounds over the past four games; I've seen him do that in one game.
         I asked coach Sam Vincent about this, following the 128-106 loss to the Utah Jazz. Vincent said working Gerald Wallace back into the offense has the net effect of taking some shots away from Okafor.
        Fine, but how does that explain Okafor's rebounding? How, in a game where the Bobcats were outrebounded by 21, could Okafor finish the game with two boards (and Wallace, by the way, had one rebound.)
         Vincent said he hadn't had an extended conversation with Okafor of late, but didn't think anything was wrong with him. Vincent added that playing some of the young big men - Ryan Hollins and Jermareo Davidson - draws minutes from Okafor.
       All true.
       But if you saw the frustration on Okafor's face, trying not to say the wrong thing in a post-game interview, you'd know something is wrong. I don't know for sure if he's upset with himself or the situation. Probably both.
        That's an interesting state of mind, with Okafor approaching restricted free-agency come July.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 26, 2008 at 09:41 AM | Permalink

Comments

I say fire the coach and hire a EXPERIENCED coach and watch this team suddenly get better. If vincet isn't fired after this season then Bob Johnson can move this team to seattle since the sonics are losing their team and want another one to replace it.

Posted by: chad | Mar 26, 2008 9:48:18 AM

Vincent by all acounts is a pretty decent human being. However he is absolutely the wrong coach for this team and needs to go. Hiring him was a huge blunder ... and sadly only one of MANY for this team over the years.

Posted by: Todd | Mar 26, 2008 9:57:18 AM

I agree. There are only so many chances we will be given. I do not understand why this team cannot mold and work together. They showed they could play with 5 straight wins, and then they lose 5 straight. That is poor. If you want to get support from more fans, then you need to play like you appreciate the ones that do show up and support you. This is the fourth season that we will see a team fail to make an impact in the community and chad is right, if they don't start making immediate progress, then we will be watching them in another city with different players, and we will once again be left with an arena and no team.

Posted by: foxwcl | Mar 26, 2008 9:57:23 AM

I agree Vincent should go but he came fairly cheap. Maybe they figured he could learn as he went along since the team is young and they could all grow together, but I don't think they realized the fans wanted more out of this team. I'm sure they'll hide behind Morrison's and May's injuries as both could really contibute.

I know May has his haters but when he's healthy (and somewhat in shape), he's pretty good. Felton has his haters too but I don't think he's getting the right coaching. I think he can be good. Not great, but good. But if the haters are going to pounce on him when he has bad games, then they should also pounce on Okafor and Wallace and Richardson when they have bad games.

Anyway, as far as personnel goes, we have a good team. Next year should be better when everyone's healthy. Not sure what's going to happen with Okafor's contract though. He's worth the money he wants.

Posted by: Zuul | Mar 26, 2008 10:13:06 AM

That last line, I meant he's NOT worth the money he wants.

Posted by: Zuul | Mar 26, 2008 10:14:54 AM

Can it be that Emeka gave up on playing for coach Vincent to the point that all he's waiting for is the end of the season and trying his luck as a restricted free agent? Can this be related to coach Vincent cutting his minutes in the last four games (which started with the Memphis game)? Sam Vincent says he didn't have an extended conversation with Emeka lately, which seems to confirm what I mentioned in a previous post: when Emeka has a less-than-great night, the coach's remedy is simply to bench him, rather than work with him and try to get him to improve his effort. Could it also be that Emeka got sick and tired of Sam Vincent's preference for small line-ups, which leaves him usually alone to face the opponents' big men inside (without another "big" to support him most of the time)? This is my guess, based on the limited information available. What I know is that Sam Vincent's "explanation", that he had to cut minutes from Emeka to let Ryan Hollins and Jermareo play is phony, very phony. There are 96 minutes per game available at the 4 and 5 spots; if you want to give 30 minutes per game to the two youngsters (which is what they actually got in the last game!), that still leaves 66 minutes for the starting "bigs", Emeka and Nazr.

Posted by: Sandy | Mar 26, 2008 10:41:25 AM

Once again, Vincent is a great person and he was a good assistant; but he is not coach caliber yet. He hasn't been able to do ANYTHING with this team, when Bickerstaff use to make this team go above expectations every night with a lot less talent than the current roster.

This year we lost all our games again San Antonio, Detroit, Houston, LA-Lakers, Sacramento, New Orleans and Philadelphia among others, when in prior years we use to at least split with those top temas. We are also 3-1 again Chicago, Washington, Orlando, Cleveland and Boston. We use to beat this teams in prior years, and only Boston made some REAL big changes in the off season, Orlando got Rashard Lewis but I don't think that had the impact they were expecting (Yes, they are better but not as better as they thought they would be).

This is definetly a coach issue, all players are performing below their expectations. Even the more consistent players like J-Rich is underachieving, he is making to many TO and commiting to much fouls. Gerald doesn't know if he is a SF or PF, the same thing with Felton as PG or SG, Richardson is between a SG or SF and Carroll is confused between the 6th Man or just another bench player.

When Nazr was playing great, Vincent benched him to start McInnis, when Dudley start playing as a top rookie he goes to the bench again, and when he have to use scrap minutes to play guys like Hollins and Jermareo, he keeps his starters in the game to overwork them. i really have no idea and I don't understand where is Vincent focus.

I do beleive he had his chance, and he was unable to perform. Now get rid og Othella, Boykins and DA. Offer DA an assistant coach position, hire an experience big man coach to help Okafor (Yes, he should be resigned), Nazr and Hollins. Look for a good PF in the Draft, like: Tyler H, Beasley, Melvin Love or Alek Maric (If any of those are avaliable) and sign a good backup PG like Carlos Arroyo, Anthony Carter or even better Beno Udrih. It will be helpfull to trade Sean May and Morrison for a good PF and/or PG. You cabn also look for a decent PG in the Draft as a 3rd Backup.

Yes I do beleive the Bobcats have a really talented team with playoff caliber right now, but the coaching position is tearing all that apart and flushing it down the toilet. Hire Paul Silas, if not convince Bickerstaff to come back and you'll have a playoff team by default.

Posted by: Rob C | Mar 26, 2008 12:10:51 PM

HMMMMMMM guys i don't see what you are all moaning about! Just think next year Sean "snack time" May will be fully fit (meaning only like 100 pounds over weight). Hey maby we can rent him out to the WWE for next years wreslemania! Just like Mayweather this year. Think of the cash we could get to give Okafor Howard money! CHA CHING! Less than .500 for the next 5 years here we come!

Posted by: Vieira Bhoy | Mar 26, 2008 12:11:09 PM

Of course Vincent should be fired. Okafor should be resigned but never for Howards money he is not worth that. Still he deserves a good contract, he still in the top 15 of his positions.

Felton is good and he can get a lot better, he's stats are 13ppg and 7apg with 3rpg. Those are good numbers right now, he just need to get a little more confidence and good coaching to get over the hump and get his numbers to 18ppg, 9apg and 5rpg. If he does that (which I beleive he can), he will be among the tops like: Deron and Paul. Yes these last two guys are huge, but take a look at who their coach is and you'll get the only TRUE difference between those two guys and Felton. Felton hasn't had some good coaching yet, because not even Bickerstaff was that good.

With Paul Silas there will be a HUGE positive impact in the whole team including Felton, not to mention Dudley and Hollins, whom I beleive they both have a GREAT potential to be excellent rotation players in any team.

Posted by: Rob C | Mar 26, 2008 12:29:12 PM

Sam V is making Emeka look bad to improve the bottom line. They are hoping to scare off the competion from signing him to a big contract. Just to prove a point to his agent that he should have signed before the season started. The Bobcats are not going to promote someone who can use this to break Bob's piggy bank. But in the end it is going to cause bad feelings. Now the 'Cats will fire Sam V, blame everything on Sam V and try to sign Emeka to the same contract offered at the beginning of the year, out of the goodness of their heart! This team is and always will be about the bottom line.

Posted by: fred_flinstone | Mar 26, 2008 1:58:44 PM

Duh?

What's wrong with him is the incompetence surrounding him for most of this season. An awful coach, a perpetually-disappointing PG, and backup PG that probably wasn't even NBA-caliber anymore.

Play four months with bozo's like that, realize they probably cost you millions (maybe tens of millions), and see if you don't get depressed in the closing weeks of a very disappointing, underachieving season.

Add in the fact he's watching his stupid coach bench him for half the game, and his stupid PG take 6x as many shots as him, and I'd probably be like "f it," too.

I don't agree with it, because I think you should always give your all as a player, even if you have a crappy coach and crappy PGs, but I can see why he would get down, because I probably would as well.

Posted by: Will | Mar 26, 2008 2:09:21 PM

First thing.....this team is not moving. The deal with the city makes it virtually impossible to move the team for 25 years. He would have to write a check for the cost of the arena and he would never do that, plus I believe he will do what it takes to build a winner. First fire Vincent.

Posted by: DanCat | Mar 26, 2008 2:36:20 PM

Who's Melvin Love? And please, let's try not to draft Tar Heels this year. It's ok to draft talented players from not so winning programs. Or even a foreigner or two. Just make sure they refer to themselves as "gangsta".

Posted by: Bro. D. | Mar 26, 2008 3:06:46 PM

Sorry, KEVIN LOVE, that's the correct name. He is the PF/C from UCLA. He is 6-10, 270lbs and averages 17ppg/11rpg/2apg/1bpg, .58-FG%, 36-3P% and 77-FT%. He is also a great passer and he is tough. There's a couple of NBA Exec's talking about him already. The only issue they mentioned is that "he has to fight the big white guy sybdrome", which I beleive is a very stupid comment.

If lucky, he should become something between Carlos Boozer and Andrew Bogut, but with the ability of making an ocassional 3 Point basket. The only issue is that he is a Freshmen, I'm not sure if he will file for the 2008 Draft, although he is beleived to be one of the top 5 prospect behind Michael Beasley and over UNC Tyler Hansbrough.

Posted by: Rob C | Mar 26, 2008 4:59:58 PM

Fire Vincent and Emeka's game would improve tremendously. What a joke of a hire for a had coach.

Posted by: ZZ | Mar 26, 2008 5:20:53 PM

The Bobcats need a makeover - CHANGE THE NAME we are not in high school. BOBCATS IS THE LAMEST NAME IN PRO SPORTS. Bob Johnson is an idiot and does not know how to market a team - he just wants to market himself!

Posted by: james327 | Mar 26, 2008 5:26:42 PM

Lets start a CHANGE THE NAME petition. Every bobcats fan i know says they try to pull for them but find it very difficult screaming "lets go bobcats"

Posted by: james327 | Mar 26, 2008 5:28:12 PM

So Mek's experiencing a loss of production? He's been hanging out with Julius Peppers lately.....coincidence?

Posted by: John Fox | Mar 26, 2008 5:52:07 PM

Although I agree with most concerning the coaching incompetence of Sam Vincent, I can't in good conscience attribute Okafor's poor performance on the coach. Okafor has been in regression since his rookie year. He gained a bunch of weight after his rookie season and has not been able to retrieve his game. I have attended every home game in Okafor's career with the exception of about 10-12. What I see is a hard working big man with limited offensive footwork in the post and a tendency to not go strong to the basket. This lack of footwork and tentativenes attributes to his shot being blocked so often. I believe these shortcomings have caused our guards and wing players to lose confidence and result in our high rate of three pointers. The Bobcats are going nowhere until we can get a post player that can dance in the paint offensively. Okafor needs to be paired with a PF that can score to be effective. Nonetheless, he is worth at least a contract equal to Dalembert in Philadelphia which I believe is between 10-12 million dollars.

Posted by: Adcoop | Mar 26, 2008 6:35:54 PM

Some local person or group needs to buy the team from this racist boob johnson. Charlotte is not going to support this man or his mj for hire, or any of friends of mike. Mike knows nothing about managing a team. The only thing he is good at is traveling, every play. Mike is busy hanging out with white women on each arm. He has become a disgrace to the state of NC.

Mike and Boob needs to get their black asses out of town. I used to have season tickets to the hornets. I would not walk across the street to support anything these two clowns are pushing.

Someone should ask mike how the children in china are doing working in his sweat shops.

Posted by: jason | Mar 26, 2008 10:42:00 PM

Saying Okafor has been in regression since his rookie year is just plain wrong, considering last season was his best all-around, and one helluva season statistically-speaking.

14ppg on 53% shooting, 11rpg and almost 3 bpg is damn good.

The only thing that has been in regression is his scoring, but that's not because he is getting worse as a player -- it's quite the opposite, since he is a better offensive player today than he was as a rookie. The problem is his shot totals keep "regressing."

It's probably not a coincidence that as Felton role as PG with the team has increased, Okafor's shots have gone down, and he regularly gets forgotten about in the offense. Felton has shown to be a poor PG, and an awful one at directing the offense and getting the most from his players, and he regularly phases out our big men in favor of his oft-missed jumpers.

We've already gotten rid of McInnis, so next of the terrible trio is getting rid of this awful coach, and going in a different direction from Felton as our starting PG.

If players continue to suck with a good coach and some real PGs, then look at going a different direction with them as well.

But after Okafor's season last year, you'd have to be blind not to think the awfulness he has around him, paired with his contract situation, is not taking a toll on him.

I'd be more inclined to think that is the case, rather than thinking he suddenly got worse over the offseason, because wouldn't be our only player that suddenly got worse over the offseason. When quite a few players are playing worse, odds are it's more than just the players.

Posted by: Will | Mar 26, 2008 11:05:41 PM

CHANGE THE NAME - CHANGE THE NAME - CHANGE THE NAME - I mean the Bobcats?.......seriously!

Posted by: james327 | Mar 26, 2008 11:20:28 PM

I somehow like "Panthers". With black jerseys. This orange is ugly...

Well and Okafor does not want to play here since half a year! I mean everybody that did not see that he has no desire to stay here at all, has to be blind.

The team needs to trade him. Maybe also trade Felton. But seriously I don't see this franchise going anywhere. No matter what they do.

I feel sorry for J-Rich. He does not deserve to be on such a bad team :-S

Posted by: Richard | Mar 27, 2008 9:50:44 AM

"When quite a few players are playing worse, odds are it's more than just the players."

Jason Richardson is playing like he was in GSW pre-injury and Gerald Wallace has consistently raised his ppg every year he's been with us. His FG% is down, but that could be attributed more to Vincent pushing him to not drive with reckless abandon as well as him shooting more 3s (2006/2007...39 of 120 in 72 games, 2007/2008...66 of 207 in 57 games). He's down 1 rebound per game but he's added 1 assist per game.

Matt Carroll's FG% is virtually unchanged and his 3 ball is up from .416 to .440. His ppg is down somewhat but Bonnell had a featured article where Matt himself attributed it to inconsistent minutes.

Which players other than Okafor are playing worse again?

Posted by: lexx | Mar 27, 2008 4:43:51 PM

Hmm...let's take a look, Lexx. Last year excluded (injury, as noted), Richardson is scoring at a lower RATE (PT excluded) than he has since '03-'04. He's also got the lowest assist rate of his career, along with the second-lowest rebounding rate. Not his strong points as a player, certainly, but notable.

Mohammed is turning the ball over more often while getting fewer steals and blocks/48.

G-Force's TO rate is the highest it's ever been as his rebounding rate is the lowest, and his block and steal rates are far lower than his career highs.

Both Carrol and Felton have assist, scoring, steal, AND rebounding rates which are down from last year.

But go ahead and keep on blaming Emeka Okafor for being one of seven current NBA players with a career average of a double double.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 27, 2008 8:21:43 PM

This doesn't happen very often, but I agree with Procton in every single word. The real problem in this team is called Sam Vincent. This team has most talent in its history and yet their heading towards the worst record in the last 3 years. Felton might not be a great PG, but he is among the top 20 of NBA's PG in almost every stat and among the top 10 PG in the East.

If we compare Felton to Deron or Paul, he'll look far behind; but on the other hand compare the coaches this last two have had trough their career there's a huge deifference. Not even Bickerstaff was good enough to be compared to those two guys (Scott & Sloan).

Posted by: Rob C | Mar 27, 2008 9:10:31 PM

Here's the real test of the worth Emeka has in the NBA. What is his trade value? Who could you get for him? What would the Knicks give up?

Posted by: Don Chantemerle | Mar 27, 2008 10:06:33 PM

Though Richardson has slumped in some categories based on RATE, he has the highest TS% of his career, highest eFG%, 2nd highest DFG%, ties his career BLK%, 2nd lowest TOV, best FT% since 2002/03.

Don't you just love stats? There's so many things broken down you can pretty much prove any point you want to attempt.

But yeah, he's sucked this year.

Posted by: lexx | Mar 27, 2008 10:21:31 PM

I certainly wasn't arguing that he's sucked at all. Just that Okafor isn't a player who's somehow collapsed while the rest of his teammates are playing at an All-NBA level.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 28, 2008 10:06:52 AM

All the players except Okafor are playing pretty close to their previous history...in some categories they're a little better and in some a little worse.

The above poster insinuated that it's a common theme for everyone and thus must be one player's fault (Felton). That's just not true. Okafor MAY be suffering somewhat from Felton's play, but using the other players' performance is not a legitimate argument.

My guess is it's a combination of things, but mainly Vincent. His contract status can't be helping either.

Posted by: jaxx | Mar 28, 2008 10:52:10 AM

They need to pick up the nearest phone and call either Paul Silas or Larry Brown (yes the Larry Brown). Both are good at molding young teams...Brown is brilliant at it, but he will break them first. This team is proof that talent doesn't win in team sports if it isn't balanced with discipline and focus (what is often mistaken for chemistry). Vincent wasn't ready to coach a young team, not his fault the blame belongs to The MAN MJ. Or hope the Mavs fire Avery then scoop him up.

Posted by: Terrell | Mar 31, 2008 12:40:36 PM

"Not his faut?" Vincent's inadequacies as a coach have nothing to do with his selection. Jordan can be blamed for hiring somebody with no experience whatsoever, but once Vincent got the job and realized he was totally over his head, he could have quit before he set this franchise back even further in its development.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Mar 31, 2008 8:40:58 PM

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