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August 16, 2008

Playoffs? Lottery may be more likely for Bobcats

Okafor200p There's impact, and then there's IMPACT. I think Larry Brown will make the Bobcats better next season, maybe winning five games they wouldn't have otherwise won.

Doesn't mean I think they'll reach the playoffs.       

I think it will be harder - perhaps significantly harder - to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference than it was the past two seasons. Injuries could diminish some top teams (think Miami's precipitous fall last season), but the way other teams are improving will make it tough on the Bobcats, who (at least so far) haven't done much to change their look.

Again, barring major injury, I think seven teams are virtual locks in the East. As of now, I'd rank them: Boston, Cleveland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Detroit, Toronto and Washington.

That would leave the Bobcats vying for the last spot with at least four other teams: Milwaukee, Atlanta, Chicago and Miami.

I think Richard Jefferson will greatly improve the Bucks and the Bulls and Heat added the top two players in the 2008 draft. The Hawks will miss Josh Childress, so they could slide.

The Bobcats haven't done much to upgrade beyond hiring Brown. They locked up Emeka Okafor (a wise move, but that retains, not improves). They added some depth at point guard with rookie D.J. Augustin. And if Jason Richardson plays the way he did the second half of last season, the Bobcats will have their first All-Star.

However, until they add a versatile, athletic big man to complement Okafor, looks like they're treading water and pointed back toward the draft lottery.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 16, 2008 at 10:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (51)

August 11, 2008

Weaver trade a surprise

I didn’t anticipate the Bobcats trading second-round pick Kyle Weaver, but I’m also not surprised.

          I’m on vacation right now, but I wanted to chime in on the Bobcats getting back their second-round pick for Weaver. Larry Brown didn’t use Weaver a whole lot more than a bunch of guys who were rounded up off the street to assemble a summer-league team. So I guess it’s not a revelation that, given the opportunity to replace a second-round pick, they moved him on to

Oklahoma City

.

          Weaver made sense on draft night: He potentially played three positions and was a defender first on a team lacking for defenders. On some unmolded-clay level, he was what coach Larry Brown made of George Lynch.

However, he looked lost in summer-league games (although no more lost than first-round pick Alexis Ajinca).

          There isn’t a whole lot that Weaver can do that Jared Dudley doesn’t already do. And finding playing time for a wing player is the last of many problems the Bobcats have.

          Still, I’m mildly surprised the Bobcats would not bring Weaver to training camp to see more of what he might do. They obviously decided to cut their losses and get back a second-round pick.

          And it will be a long time before we truly know whether this was a good or bad call.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 11, 2008 at 09:17 PM | Permalink | Comments (73)

August 04, 2008

What would reaction be if Smith played for Bobcats?

A poll of Charlotteans shows 74 percent believe the Steve Smith-Ken Lucas fight proves all NBA players are thugs and the uptown arena never should have been built.

          OK, I made that up. But you get the point.

         

         That Teflon coating that surrounds NFL players is an impressive shield. My colleague, Tom Sorensen, wrote a column advocating Smith, the Panthers’ wide receiver, should be suspended three regular-season games for beating up teammate Lucas on the sideline of a practice. Most of Tom’s reader reaction bordered on, “as long as he keeps catching passes, I don’t care if he burns down the town.’’

         

          If Smith played for the Bobcats, I’m confident the reaction would have been very different.

         

          The point of this blog entry is not to tell you what to like. I love pro football and I follow the Panthers. I think they handled Smith’s action appropriately by suspending him for two regular-season games without pay. I find Panthers owner Jerry Richardson among the classier people in this community.

         

        But I find some fans’ situational ethics hilarious. When one NFL player screws up, it’s always an isolated incident. When one NBA player gets out of line, they’re all to blame, as in “I told you we never should have built that arena!’’

       

         (And don’t give me that Panthers-built-their-own-stadium argument: The city assembled the land in a classic sweetheart deal.)

   

          Smith would be the same guy if he were a foot taller, dunking for the Bobcats, as he is now, catching passes for the Panthers. He’d still have that unpredictable, occasionally violent, temper.

   

         Only one thing would change, had Smith played basketball instead of football: The reaction.

Posted by Observer Sports on August 4, 2008 at 01:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (104)

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