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October 31, 2008

Lineup change would make May a reserve

Sure sounds like coach Larry Brown is leaning toward a lineup change that would make Sean May a reserve for Saturday’s home opener against the Miami Heat.

Brown said at practice Friday he’s made no final decision, but he could either go small (which would move Gerald Wallace to power forward) or start Jared Dudley as the power forward.

The matchup with the Heat is a logical one to go small, since Miami starts a small front line of Udonis Haslem at center, rookie Michael Beasley at power forward and Shawn Marion at small forward. That means Wallace wouldn’t have to guard someone who greatly outsizes him in height or bulk.

Brown didn’t say who would slip in at small forward, should Wallace play power forward, but based on the preseason and the opener against Cleveland, Adam Morrison seems the most logical candidate.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 31, 2008 at 03:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (15)

October 30, 2008

10 days to contemplate NBA leap? No way

Just read Robbi Pickeral’s story about the ACC’s proposal to the NCAA. It would give underclassmen 10 days following the national championship game to decide whether to turn pro, and once that decision was made, it would be irrevocable.

Check out this quote from Karl Hicks, the ACC’s associate commissioner for basketball operations:

“We feel that’s what would work best for the student athlete and that’s what would work best for the coaches,’’ said Hicks, a former Charlotte Bobcats executive.

That’s certainly half-right. The coaches would love it. I watched Roy Williams sit through three days of last spring’s pre-draft camp in Orlando, wondering whether three key pieces of his team would stay in the draft. Never seen anyone so trapped in limbo.

But the notion that this rule would be best for the student athletes – specifically the guys making a difficult decision whether to enter the NBA – is ridiculous. Participating in pre-draft camp is a great way for these kids to evaluate themselves and get feedback from teams. It makes for a more educated decision.

This proposal would make the off-season more tidy for college coaches, particularly those from elite programs. If it costs these coaches a few rounds of golf each summer, for the players to make a better career choice, I side with the players.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 30, 2008 at 08:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)

October 29, 2008

It's possible for Linton to play in opener

I asked Larry Brown at practice today whether he might use the newest Bobcat, Linton Johnson, in the season-opener Thursday in Cleveland.
Brown said that under normal circumstances, he’d never expect a guy signed three days before the opener to have to play in that game. However the circumstances – facing LeBron James – could make for an exception.
Johnson is here because he can defend shooting guards, small forwards and power forwards. It takes a lot of bodies to guard James, so it’s conceivable Johnson will log a few minutes right off the bat.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2008 at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (28)

Morrison's hair not a stinker

You ever hear of a stink bug?
Me, neither, but it’s a subject coach Larry Brown brought up when we asked him about Adam Morrison’s decision to sheer off his ponytail.

According to Larry, a stink bug is one seriously ugly critter (think tiny version of a prehistoric monster) that lives in the Northeast. Brown’s teenage son has longish hair, and Brown had been coaxing the kid to get it trimmed. The kid resisted that until a stink bug flew into his ’do, apparently making things rather uncomfortable. The kid is back to shorter hair.

Brown didn’t think Morrison was a stink-bug victim, but you never know.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 29, 2008 at 12:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (5)

October 28, 2008

Morrison's long hair is no more

1029morrisonafter      The ’stache is still the ’stache, but the rest of Adam Morrison’s distinctive look is on some barber’s floor.

          He showed up at practice Tuesday (right) with a brush cut, which means the ponytail that draped well down his back (see the 'before' picture below) is no more.

Morrison left practice without talking to reporters about the radical change in look, but his teammates and coaches were happy to comment.

1029jimcarrey Best line: Jared Dudley saying Morrison now looks like Jim Carrey in "Cable Guy," pictured at left.

Morrison’s look is so different that assistant coach Jeff Capel briefly mistook Morrison for the new guy, forward Linton Johnson. Another assistant, Dave Hanners, theatrically fell out of a chair at the sight of the new Morrison.

"I told him now he’s got to get rid of that nasty mustache," said teammate Sean May. "Then he’s ready to go."

1029morrisonbefore

Posted by Observer Sports on October 28, 2008 at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Bobcats on right roster track?

Hey, In case you didn’t see the story elsewhere on the Web site, I’m reporting they’re going to sign Linton Johnson, a defense-oriented forward, and might eventually sign Dwayne Jones, a center-forward from Saint Joseph’s best team.

Would adding Johnson and Jones tip the Bobcats into the playoffs? No. Would they make the Bobcats a more balanced roster between players who are defense-centric versus offense-centric?

Certainly.

Larry Brown said Monday the East is no longer the NBA’s junior-varsity conference. I agree. A little fine-tuning of the roster wasn’t going to thrust them into the playoffs this season.

But at some point, you have to spend to create some traction toward that goal. And having a roster that resembles what the coach wants represents traction.

Posted by rbonnell on October 28, 2008 at 12:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (24)

October 27, 2008

Davidson waived; roster at 14

The Bobcats waived forward Jermareo Davidson Monday, reducing the roster to 14 players.

Davidson was originally drafted by Golden State in 2007 and traded to the Bobcats along with Jason Richardson in the draft-night deal for Brandan Wright. He averaged 2.0 points, 0.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots in three exhibitions, playing an average of 8.8 minutes.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 27, 2008 at 06:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Prepping for the real games

Some thought between the end of the exhibitions and the start of the regular season:

-- If Larry Brown runs Monday’s public practice like he does a typical practice, then you should definitely take a long lunch to check it out.

I’ve covered the NBA for 20 years and eight head coaches, and I’ve never seen anything quite like Brown’s practices. Just like Nazr Mohammed said, he sees everything, he corrects everything. It’s not so much nagging as it is meticulous. And the attention he commands from these players is impressive.

Feel free to make a bunch of snarky comments about the 0-8 preseason. But, believe me, what’s wrong with the Bobcats is not about who’s coaching them.

-- Did you read Tom Sorensen’s column Sunday? It was so predictable for some people to suggest Tom was just put out that Bob Johnson didn’t consent to be interviewed.

It doesn’t work that way. On a personal level, Tom couldn’t care less whether Johnson talks to him. Nobody ever got anywhere in journalism by caring about being liked.

But you, as fans, should ask yourself why Johnson won’t answer some very reasonable questions. It reminds me of that great line from the “Wizard of Oz”:

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

-- Since my colleague Charles Chandler gave you the 15 greatest Carolina Panthers, on the 15th anniversary of the NFL awarding a franchise to Charlotte, I’ll top it:

Entering Season 5, here are the five best and worst decisions in Bobcats history.

TOP FIVE:

1. Taking Gerald Wallace in the expansion draft: He might top Dell Curry, as the best expansion-draft player ever.

2. Trading up for Emeka Okafor. So, you’d rather have Josh Childress?

3. Finding Matt Carroll in the D-League. The definition of something-for-nothing.

4. Signing Brevin Knight: A dramatic upgrade from what Jason Hart was offering as the starting point guard.

5. Trading for Jason Richardson: They should have driven a harder bargain (Warriors were in luxury-tax jail), but they found a scorer who demands double-teams.

BOTTOM FIVE:

1. Hiring Sam Vincent: In ways both predictable and unpredictable, this was a disaster beyond description.

2. Not trading for Chris Paul: Even Roy Williams would have tossed out Raymond Felton and Sean May for the right to draft Paul.

3. Drafting Adam Morrison over Brandon Roy or Rudy Gay. You don’t get the third pick every day. Use it wisely.

4. Exchanging cap room for Mohammed: There’s nothing wrong with Mohammed, but I’d rather have cap room than $18 million-plus over three seasons for a backup center.

5. Starting C-SET: It wasn’t a basketball decision, but it was the difference between a profit and loss during the first season, and it’s haunted the franchise.

Posted by rbonnell on October 27, 2008 at 01:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (38)

October 23, 2008

Bobcats won't get a shot at Ollie

Looks like the Charlotte Bobcats won’t get a chance to claim veteran point guard Kevin Ollie off waivers. He made it through the Minnesota Timberwolves’ final cuts Thursday.

          The Bobcats contacted Ollie’s agent, Bill Neff, anticipating that Ollie might be waived. Coach Larry Brown wants a veteran third point guard, and Ollie played well for Brown in Philadelphia.

          Neff said Brown spoke with him several times this summer, expressing interest in Ollie. But the Bobcats didn’t make an offer, so Ollie signed an unguaranteed deal with the T’Wolves.

          Had Ollie been waived, there still might have been an issue clearing a roster spot. Bobcats general manager Rod Higgins confirmed at morning shootaround that the roster now has 14 guarantees, plus power forward Andre Brown unguaranteed.

Andre Brown is a keeper on rebounding and toughness, so the Bobcats would seemingly have to eat a guarantee for someone else to sign another point guard. That’s six figures of financial pain they’d think twice before doing.

“There is some wiggle room,’’ Higgins told me, “but you have to make sure that you’re addressing something the team really needs.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on October 23, 2008 at 06:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (37)

Andre Brown seems safe; is everyone else?

Waiving Justin Williams this morning trims the Charlotte Bobcats’ roster to the NBA-maximum 15 players. Seemingly that means Andre Brown makes the squad with an unguaranteed contract.

          Keeping Brown seemed a no-brainer; he was arguably the team’s second-best big man this preseason, behind Emeka Okafor. It wouldn’t shock me if coach Larry Brown starts Andre Brown at power forward in the season-opener, because of Sean May’s conditioning issues.

          The next question is what shows up on the waiver list, as other teams make their final trims. Larry Brown still wants a veteran third point guard, and I’m not sure Shannon Brown fits that job description.

          If someone like Kevin Ollie (in Minnesota’s camp) becomes available, he’d upgrade the position. Ollie thrived under Brown in Philadelphia.

          The question becomes whether the Bobcats would cut someone with a guarantee (Shannon Brown? Jermareo Davidson? Ryan Hollins?), who is not currently in the rotation, in order to fill another area of need.

Posted by Observer Sports on October 23, 2008 at 12:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (17)

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