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November 13, 2009

Mohammed starting not in the plan

Some of you have contacted me, wondering if Nazr Mohammed shoud be starting at center over Tyson Chandler.

I never quite got to ask coach Larry Brown that question Friday, because he anticipated where I was headed in an interview. Brown was adamant that Chandler is this team's starting center because that's the long-range plan.

Translation: Chandler is owed more than $25 million when you combine this season and next. He's also younger than Mohammed and, when playing up to his potential, better than Mohammed.

You know who would endorse that reasoning? Mohammed. Well as he's played in the last two games (averaging 12 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, and shooting 10-of-13 from the field), Mohammed has no false aspirations that he should be this team's starting center. He told me in training camp that he's better off playing 20 minutes behind Chandler than he would trying to play 35 minutes as a starter.

The subtler question is minutes distribution. Obviously Mohammed was very productive in the 16 minutes he averaged the past two games. Just as obviously, Chandler is struggling; he's not all the way back from ankle surgery. So I'd utilize Mohammed plenty Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers, particularly since you'll need size and fouls versus Greg Oden, LaMarcus Aldridge and Joel Przybilla.

I'll write more about Mohammed's situation in Saturday's Observer.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 13, 2009 at 02:16 PM | Permalink

Comments

not to mention the fact that he hasn't shown consistency over his time here. the guy has been a bump on a log until all of a sudden NOW he wants to play like he means it. it pisses me off knowing he was more than capable of this kinda play all along and realistically, if he played last year like he's playing right now.......we're a playoff team. AND we probably don't make the move for diop and have matt carroll instead of cartier martin last year and use our draft pick on a 4 instead of gerald henderson this year.

i'm glad he woke up but he doesn't deserve to start by any stretch. not to mention developing chandler and resigning him at the end of next year could be awesome.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 13, 2009 2:38:46 PM

Charlottean, Mohammed was never really given a chance to prove what he can do last year. LB has the terrible John Fox syndrome of playing veterans over rookies, Brown & Henderson need more PT. Diaw is worthless, moving the ball is great when you have shooters but this team is struggling from the field. They failed to address the need for scoring & reboinding big man this summer. They are stuck with overpaid, average athletes & they are showing a lack of effort this early. I really was looking forward to this season & I know its still early but lets get it together guys!!

Posted by: D.W.G. | Nov 13, 2009 3:18:59 PM

how can you say he wasn't given a chance? he was basically starting after the trade the year before last and if I recall correctly, he was out of shape all last year and when he did enter the game he looked ridiculous, air balling 12 footers and what not. before the season started I was hoping someone would go all celtic pride on him and diop so we could collect some insurance money and a roster exemption but now he's actually earning his 6 mil a year.

there was no effort or intensity previously. He was just mulling along collecting on that contract he signed a while back. Now he's actually giving an eff and its awesome. he used to be kinda nice. the guy was a 1st rounder outta UK

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 13, 2009 4:17:39 PM

Keep wondering the team's roaster.....if a good player plays on a bad team, he obviously do not shine. I watched Dudley, who played for the Cats before being traded to the Suns against New Orleans. I was admazed by the potential this young man was never given the time to utilize. He made 3s' to amazement. Surely, this team will continue to struggle until a star player like Kobe, Roy, Wade, James, etc is added to this team. I challenge the team in my last blog to win three games continuously without losing. Now, we've lost three games in a short span of time. Where are we headed in the season?

Posted by: nunu20041 | Nov 13, 2009 4:25:31 PM

This wouldn't even be a discussion if Okafor was here. But the trade's a wash, right Bonnell?

Posted by: RP | Nov 13, 2009 5:26:27 PM

Regardless of the past, Mohammed deserves to start over Chandler AT THIS POINT IN TIME. He clearly deserves it in the short-term, considering what the 2 players have done during the course of the season that is actually being played right now.

Chandler shouldn't have it handed to him for things he did 2-3 seasons ago before a significant injury.

And another thing: Mohammed fits in better chemistry-wise with the starters on the offensive end. And he blocks shots more frequently this year, and he rebounds more frequently this year.

It doesn't exactly mean Mohammed plays more minutes than Chandler. It means we get off to a decent start offensively without getting Tyson into foul trouble.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Nov 13, 2009 5:26:58 PM

Personally, I'm not really "wondering if Nazr Mohammed should be starting at Center over Tyson Chandler."

I KNOW he should be.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Nov 13, 2009 5:29:54 PM

RP:
You think Bobcats management regrets the Chandler-Okafor trade?
Not for a minute.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Nov 13, 2009 6:00:54 PM

Rick,

The Bobcats don't regret it for a minute? Is that simply because of the money side of it all?

Are there any "insider" expectations on when Tyson Chandler will be at the strength to start averaging 10+ boards and 1.5+ blocks again? I know rebounding isn't this team's problem, but it'd be nice to see Chandler take the boardwork pressure off of Wallace, possibly enabling GW to put more focus into scoring.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Nov 13, 2009 7:42:46 PM

DeLaQuest:
The money side combined with how Emeka did or didn't fit Larry Brown's vision of a center. Larry had a problem with how uncomfortable and mechanical Mek was defending high screen-and-roll. He sees Chandler -- once healthy -- as a more versatile player.
I'm extremely confident management would not undo this trade, given the choice.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Nov 13, 2009 8:08:40 PM

I was really impressed with the way Nazi battled Dwight Howard. Not sure of Howard's stats but I don't think it was 38 and 18 like last year. Start Nazi until Chandler rounds into shape. I wonder who is winning the battles in practice, have trouble believing it is Tyson. Larry Brown can be stubborn, he needs to see where this team is headed with the lineups he is using.

Posted by: Hoopsfan | Nov 13, 2009 9:44:27 PM

If you're looking for regret in the Okafor trade, maybe dial up Byron Scott?

Posted by: David | Nov 14, 2009 12:24:37 AM

Naz is one of the only cats right now actually doing his job. His job is to come off the bench and give us some positive minutes. Last few games, he's been able to accomplish that. Put him in the starting lineup; we'd hate him by thanksgiving!

Posted by: HPCatFan | Nov 14, 2009 12:48:02 AM

HPCatFan:
Loved your comment -- gave me a good chuckle. You might enjoy my Sunday column coming up -- I wrote about how much or little coaches should listen to fans.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Nov 14, 2009 9:33:47 AM

and chandler has not played horribly. its not like the guy has been making bone head plays left and right and turning the ball over and missing mad shots.......no, he's just been getting in early foul trouble consistently. and we all know the majority of those fouls were not.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 14, 2009 1:24:38 PM

No center, no PG, no........arrghhh, why do I watch? It is getting hard to support this crap.

Posted by: Hoopsfan | Nov 15, 2009 12:00:23 AM

Rick,

Thanks for your response. I enjoy your blog.

Moving on, I'm wondering why DJ has experienced regression rather than improvement.....

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Nov 15, 2009 8:58:07 AM

It's not necessary for the Bobcats to start Nazr. He can be very useful playing 20-25 minutes from the bench. The problem is that he's not getting these minutes, even against a team with a big front court like Portland. But since he is more productive than Chandler at this point, the minutes balance between them needs to change. Chandler averages this season 6.4 ppg and 7 rpg in 26 minutes per game, while Mohammed gets 12 minutes per game only, for 5 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Translated into equal time - 36 minutes per game, as in Basketball-Reference.com - this comes to 9 ppg and 9.7 rpg for Chandler, and 15.3 ppg and 11.5 rpg for Mohammed. Also, Chandler is shooting 47% from the field, while Nazr is at 51% this season. Quite some differences! That's why I think it was wrong to let Chandler play most of the decisive last quarter and do close to nothing, while Mohammed was on the bench all of that quarter. Even though he didn't have a good game against Portland, Nazr still gave the same meager production as Chandler (4 points), but playing half of T.C.'s minutes only. And this loss was about scoring!
Minutes played should have to do a lot more with current productivity and much less with contract size or future expectations. Can anybody tell when will Chandler be back to his best ability, especially since he keeps playing on a bad ankle? Ain't no telling, but in the meantime he's not productive and, as I mentioned in another post, since he is not a scoring threat in the low post, the opponents' big men can afford to focus their efforts on our other players and make scoring in the paint much harder for them. And the Cats keep losing.

Posted by: Sandy | Nov 15, 2009 2:24:44 PM

Rick

What do you think is wrong with these Bobcats? They have the potential to make to playoffs. Do you think a another trade is in need? Because, this is the time, when this team needs to shine and make serious impact.

Posted by: Sherrod L. Gary | Nov 15, 2009 8:53:12 PM

Rick,

Pops Mensah-Bonsu just got waived by the Rockets. The Bobcats should jump all over this guy. He's the energy post player off the bench they've been missing. He can play the 3 or the 4 off the bench and he'll play hard every night. If they can get him for cheap than they should pull the trigger on this.

Posted by: Greg | Nov 15, 2009 10:17:04 PM

Sherrod L. Gary,

The problem is they don't have players who can score. Diaw can shoot, but he plays "pass first". Bell can shoot, but he expends most of his energy on defense or sitting on the bench with an injury. Chandler has no skills with the ball in his hands and makes Emeka Okafor look like Kevin McHale.

LB teams traditionally start slow. The Okafor trade made our offense slip from below-average to all-time horrid. DJ isn't bringing the scoring ability he showed as a rookie. And there you go.

Posted by: DeLaQuest | Nov 16, 2009 7:39:51 AM

Hey ESPN is reporting we just aquired Acie Law and Stephan Jackson for Vlad and Bell, have you confirmed it Rick?

Posted by: d-run | Nov 16, 2009 11:00:34 AM

just call me the source Rick! Ste-Jax to the bobcats... haha.

Posted by: flanahan32 | Nov 16, 2009 11:06:24 AM

Bonnell, don't try to spin this. I asked do YOU think the trade is still a wash, not what the organization thinks. (But, yeah, I'm positive they would tell the local beat writer that they regret a trade while the player traded for is still with the team.)

FYI, the Bobcats are 7.4 points per 100 possessions better when Tyson Chandler is OFF the court.

Posted by: RP | Nov 16, 2009 1:51:33 PM

Bonnell, don't try to spin this. I asked do YOU think the trade is still a wash, not what the organization thinks. (But, yeah, I'm positive they would tell the local beat writer that they regret a trade while the player traded for is still with the team.)

FYI, the Bobcats are 7.4 points per 100 possessions better when Tyson Chandler is OFF the court.

Posted by: RP | Nov 16, 2009 1:53:02 PM

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