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March 04, 2010

On Wallace and Jackson

 -- I can't say I was surprised by what Gerald Wallace told me, following the loss in Boston -- essentially that the Bobcats are in danger of flushing away the season.

I anticipated Gerald being troubled. He managed to leave the locker room following the Dallas loss before we got to interview him. Then he declined to talk to my colleague, Ron Green Jr., following practice Tuesday. Gerald is  reliably polite and accommodating with the media. For him to duck a couple of interviews said he was worried about how to express what was on his mind.

I think Gerald is absolutely right that this team has lost its sense of team. There was a very cool sense of purpose and accountability about this group in January. Winning was about more than how well they made shots. They helped each other on defense and shared the ball efficiently on offense. They were more as a group than they could have been as a collection of individuals.

Now they don't set good screens, don't work together well enough to limit the other team's dribble-penetration. I'm just glad Gerald has the courage to call them out about this. Not that I'm surprised. He's earned that right because he's the last original Bobcat left and because there's nothing about him to suggest he cares more about "me'' than "we.''

-- I've written about this before, but it's worth repeating: When you put Stephen Jackson on your roster, you're living in a world of tradeoffs. Michael Jordan acknowledged as much when he compared Jackson to Dennis Rodman  as a teammate.

Jordan enjoyed playing with Rodman, but that doesn't mean it was always easy. Wednesday Jackson got into it with Paul Pierce, and apparently the trash-talk got very personal. Jackson implied that Pierce wouldn't have spoken that way if this wasn't in an NBA arena, where refereees and coaches and teammates would keep things from getting out of control.

This reminded me of what an NBA scout told me shortly after the trade: That the last person in the NBA you'd want to get in a fight with is Jackson. Part of that is about being tough and part of it is about being, well, loco.

Pierce used the word "fiery'' to describe Jackson, which is certainly true and the safest way to describe how Jackson responds to confrontation.

There's something about the Celtics that ticks off Jackson. He once scoffed at the notion that Pierce-Kevin Garnett-Ray Allen deserved the label "The Big Three.'' And he once offered to re-arrange Garnett's face if he didn't stop picking on then-teammate Andris Biedrins.

Posted by Observer Sports on March 4, 2010 at 12:55 AM | Permalink

Comments

What we miss badly is Nazr - Ratliff is not getting it done at center as a starter and it will take time for Theo and Tyrus to adjust to team chemistry, unfortunately we don't have a lot of time for that to happen though.

Posted by: catfan | Mar 4, 2010 1:09:11 AM

i mean.....the celtics get every call. it was a bit ridiculous. but the refs didn't take us out of the game. we came back in it and then jackson took us out of the game for good. its an energy thing and NEVER does jackson supply positive energy. when he's at his best he's stoic. and knocking down shots.


i really don't understand how nonexistant felton has been lately. and when DJ finally kicks it into gear in the 1st half....it doesn't help to leave him on the bench the entire 3rd quarter to cool off and lose all momentum.

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 4, 2010 1:10:50 AM

I fear we are beginning to see the side of Stephen Jackson that has run him off every team he has been a part of, selfishness and a lack of accountability. He's been a non-factor in a number of recent losses and his complaining after every call is starting to look old. Even if he has a point that many calls are terrible, this is the NBA after all, he should try to take that out on the other team. It seems when he gets mad, he becomes even more self-destructive, rather than using his anger productively. I'm also surprised that he seems to take big losses in stride. With every game so important in the playoff race, you would think that he'd have a burning desire to get this done now.

Posted by: Ari | Mar 4, 2010 1:50:50 AM

We miss Flip Murray

Posted by: E. Young | Mar 4, 2010 3:11:15 AM

Unless the front office (Jordan,Higgins,Brown)gets some real talent and "character guys" on the roster this team is hopelessly doomed. I mean why would you waste a lottery pick on Adam Morrison with Rudy Gay available? Why even draft a stiff like Ajinca? Then you bring in a lockerroom train wreck like Stephen Jackson. C'mon! Let's stop kidding ourselves about the moderate talents of Gerald Wallace. He's certainly not among the NBA elite. Why not for once trying to bring some real competitors to Charlotte? Surely we could find better options than Diaw jacking up threes at crunch time in games that we have a chance to win. At times Felton and Thomas seem to be the only ones trying and we appear to be willing to let Raymond walk this summer. But wait, maybe they're planning to draft Sheyer and market him as the next Steve Nash.

Posted by: jbheels | Mar 4, 2010 5:11:48 AM

Jackson's funny.

Posted by: jeremy | Mar 4, 2010 6:25:04 AM

GEt Lebron in MJ's front court and let it rip! theres gotta be a better player out there for us and king james is it. Let the rumors begin!

Posted by: mattack | Mar 4, 2010 7:34:06 AM

Ya'll funny, just like fake fans, when we winning, Jackson is great, he has one breakdown and he's trouble. Some fans. Jackson is a commodity and Jordan is a winner. We do miss Flip. Hopefully Wade love MJ enough to come to Charlotte. I have no doubt in my mind that Jordan gone do everything in his power to make that happen.

Posted by: Dherac | Mar 4, 2010 7:34:07 AM

Rick, is it really back spasms with Nazr? I mean this has been going on for almost 3 weeks now. I didn't think spasms lasted that long. Have they don't other tests?

Posted by: bdubb | Mar 4, 2010 8:04:23 AM

Rick are you concerned that the starters like Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton are running out of gas as the end of the season nears. I haven't checked recently but Gerald Wallace was leading the league in minutes played a while back and I don't think he's ever played this much in any given season.

Posted by: QCSports | Mar 4, 2010 9:20:17 AM

If they keep playing like this, then MJ WILL have to come out and put a uniform on to get any public interest back into the bobcats.

Also the Hornets left town YEARS AGO people. GET OVER IT!!

Posted by: SDG | Mar 4, 2010 10:06:28 AM

Where do you guys come up with the Lebron and Wade nonsense? The bobcats have no money to offer any free agents, not even their own free agents. Why would they even want to come here if the cats did have money? The talent level is mediocre.

Posted by: David | Mar 4, 2010 10:20:57 AM

Maybe if Steven Jackson had concentrated more on his game than what some imbecile said, perhaps the night would not have been so dismal.

Posted by: J-Dub | Mar 4, 2010 10:28:59 AM

if we change the name to carolina cougars, stephen jackson will play better and we can get rex champan out of retirement to increase our 3 pt percentage!

Posted by: brendan | Mar 4, 2010 10:55:26 AM

Bottom line is they are in a funk and they have to get it together. These pros have been playing this game since they were eight years old so it's nothing new on how to play on a team. I hate they are losing this much now but we need Flip Murray back period!!! Make it happen in order to save this season hopefully and get to the playoffs. And I really wish Larry Brown would play rookies alot more, seems like he's holding them back some.

Posted by: Hater Hater | Mar 4, 2010 11:15:36 AM

Gerald and Jack are both upset about Flip..

read about the Divided Locker Room all here:
http://detroit4lyfe.com/articles/general-sports/breaking-turmoil-in-charlotte-bobcats-locker-room-confirmed-by-bobcats-jump-off.html

Posted by: blackpanther | Mar 4, 2010 11:17:54 AM

I think there is a combination of wear-out and missing some important payers that led to the Bobcats current slide. Nazr is badly missed, there's nothing we can get now from Chandler and Diop either - for what they are worth, and having Ratliff as the only healthy center certainly doesn't get us too far.
The wings - Gerald and Jax - logged in too many minutes for too long time, and I think that starts showing: wear-out of our top offensive options. I remember coach Brown expressed a while ago his concern with the wings' heavy minutes and how they'll be affected by this; yet, their minutes load stayed just as heavy. To make things worse, we don't have the Flip Murray option anymore, and that hurts most when Jax has an off night.

The Cats were at their best when they were laying it all out on the hardwood floor in each game, when they were playing at a high level of energy. Team work requires effort too: being intense and helping in defense, moving well without the ball in offense, running in transition. Even to make the open shots at a high percentage, you need to have your legs.
I think the players have the desire to win and they know what they have to do (except maybe for Tyrus, who is still learning), but there is the wear-out, mental and physical.

After he has been hailed as a "savior", some fans started lashing out at Stephen Jackson (in comments on this article as well as other times). Of course, there is legitimate criticism of him; as long as this is specific and to the point, with a view to correct some things that are wrong - as in Larry Brown's statements - this is constructive criticism, and it's fine. Nobody is beyond it. But to go from one extreme to another, as some fans are doing, and talk about Jax as if he suddenly became a liability for this team is wrong.

Remember: he's our team's main scoring option. He has a great heart, a winner's mind set and poise, and also a great skills set to go with it. The Bobcats rise or sink with him. He's also hot-headed, and he needs some corrections of his on-court behavior. That's quite different from all-out attacks on him.

Posted by: Sandy | Mar 4, 2010 12:04:39 PM

Losing Flip is the sole reason this slump is happening. He was the glue on this team. We now no longer have that guy who thinks he can score on every shot. If this need is not met, we will not make the playoffs this year.

Posted by: Go{Cats | Mar 4, 2010 12:06:38 PM

Reading this about Jack and Wallace Pouting cause Flip is gone...... Get Over it!! If that is cause of this poor play... Lost some of my Respect. You are Representing a city and Their are many people out there wasting good money and valuable time! If that is not the case, I Apologize.

Last night looked like they tried playing more inside, Down inside the 3pt line they looked like fish out of water, not standing out there putting up 3's.
Role Call--- FELTON!!(let's see if he answers tom. night.)

Thomas has brought just as much and more, as Flip. He does not need to come into a Whiney A&*! enviroment right now. Everybody needs to put as much energy out there as he has since he got here.

Rick What is the deal with Mohammad?

Posted by: fox has to go!! | Mar 4, 2010 12:57:39 PM

Jackson will blow up soon....

At least he has not brought out his guns....

I can see JAX pullin an Arenas at some point....JAX is freakin nuts...to think he was on the same team as Ron Artest!!!

keep the meds closeby...

Posted by: Scott | Mar 4, 2010 1:03:38 PM

I don't see anything wrong with anyone telling Kevin Garnett they'll "rearrange his face." KG is the biggest jerk and douche monkey. He never gets in confrontations with people anywhere near his skill level. And even when he tries to start stuff with people who aren't as good as him, he'll wuss out and run away. Who picks on Biedrins, anyway? Come on, doesn't the guy have enough problems? He plays on the Warriors!

Posted by: Yo | Mar 4, 2010 1:38:53 PM

If losing Flip was the only problem, which I don't think is the case, you could easily replace him with one of the shooters on the open market. I guess forget Hughes because of injury, but what about Mike James or Von Wafer who signed with Houston. Also, we might have yet another chance to get Iverson, but I guess that's just not in the cards.

Posted by: Ari | Mar 4, 2010 3:15:45 PM

Finally, I think fans have a right to be upset a little with Stephen Jackson. Listen, he still has 20 plus games to turn things around and get us to the playoffs, but if you look at things honestly, he has been given everything he wants in Charlotte to get the job done. He complained in GS because he wasn't the man, and forced his way to yet another new team, then proclaimed how much he loves pressure, etc. Fine, but you have to prove it on the court, and that means getting this team to the playoffs. If you want to boast and be the man, you have to back it up. He's lucky that at his age, there's still a team willling to build around him as the focal point, as it appears the Cats have committed to doing, albeit they don't have much choice too with the salary cap, lack of a draw to free agents, etc.

Posted by: Ari | Mar 4, 2010 3:19:27 PM

Rick,

This has been bothering me all season and I wanted to get your take. From what you have seen, is Boris Diaw a "starter level" basketball player? I personally do not think so. I have been hoping that he would hit his stride, but it has not happened. He commits far too many turnovers, takes too many three pointers, and lacks the energy that this offense demands.

Sure, he has had some good games. Every NBA player has had some good games. But should he be a starter? Maybe on the Bobcats, who lack depth that the position. But still, I find myself, in the fourth quarter of almost every game, saying "what the heck is Diaw doing?"

Posted by: QC King | Mar 4, 2010 3:56:12 PM

I think the media in particular is quick to point blame when things go wrong to a particular player.....yes Jackson can loose his cool sometimes, but what about Paul Pierce. He's perhaps in my assessment the most arrogant player in the leaque. He lacks the manner of a sports man. I watched this guy collide with a player, and this other player went badly on the floor. Instead of Pierce trying to assist him up, he stood displaying his strength. Certainly, Jackson does loose his mojo sometimes, but there are lot of players in the NBA that behave this way, not to name Wallace of Boston, Jr. Smith, Atest, etc.

However, I do agreed with Wallace assessment that the Bobcats are in danger, and the team has lost the sense of chemistry. The lost to the Nets, Bucks, Clippers, Jazz, and recently to Dallas and Boston showed that something is wrong definitely in the locker room. Brown need to work on team chemistry, emphasising that this is a team efforts and not an individual. If that sense is not there, I am really sorry for Jordan's investment.

Finally, I think the cats will not qualified for the playoffs, and after this season, Felton, DJ and Chandler should be let go. Felton is not a typical point guard for an NBA team. He's more or less fit in the position of a backup point guard. Don't get me wrong, he's a very good player and he display a lot of leadership qualities that is worth keeping him around, but he certainly deserve to start with another team. Hopefully, this will help him to grow up with his game. For DJ, he has reached his peack.

Posted by: nunu | Mar 4, 2010 4:23:03 PM

i said it once, twice and three times.. we should have never traded flip murray..maybe another deal to get tyrus, hell you can have had felton..he is a true bum..jackson is a hot head, and i have seen players like him during my playing career. we call it "talking him out of his game"..the best nba players know this about jackson..i think he is being more selfish, now that wallace is a nba allstar and he wasn't..come on jax look at the bigger picture here..like my boys and coach use to say"shut up, and play ball"

Posted by: tim | Mar 4, 2010 4:45:27 PM

QC King:
Diaw's nonchallance can be frustrating, but of course he's a starter-quality NBA player. The Suns want him back, what does that tell you?
He's an above-average defender (not great, but above-average), he obviously passes as well as just about any forward in the league, and he's scored in double-figures each of the last 11 games, shooting 51 percent from the field.
Does he have flaws? Sure. But he's starter-quality.

Posted by: Rick Bonnell | Mar 4, 2010 4:45:48 PM

losing flip is the problem? you guys got me absolutely laughing over here. did somebody just link an interview with a character named "jumpoff jessica" ??? are you guys serious?

and let's define the difference between an attitude problem and an emotional player: tyrus thomas acknowledges the refs are being ridiculous so he commits a ridiculous foul to prove his point and picks up a T and follows that by continuing to play hard THE ENTIRE TIME HE WAS ON THE FLOOR. meanwhile.....jackson complains the entire game, gets into a pipe measuring contest with paul pierce while he was supposed to be shooting free throws and showed absolutely 0 signs of hustle what so ever.


i give it one more week before observer writers start restorting to good jack and bad jack analogies ala jake delhomme. he is single handedly the difference between this team being a playoff team and legitimate round 2 contender and this team being dismantled and rebuilt(again).

Posted by: charlottean | Mar 4, 2010 5:39:14 PM

I agree that it will probably be time to let Felton go, unless he realizes that he can't command a megabucks deal and signs on as a backup. DJ, I'd give one last shot to next year. He better spend the whole summer in the gym trying to regain his rookie touch, as he's been terrible pretty much all year. Chandler, of course, it would be great if you could dump, but at least it's only 1 more year and then his salary is gone. Overall, I would say DJ and Diaw have been this team's 2 biggest disappointments. If they were playing up to last year's level, Cats would probably be in comfortable playoff position, but too often they've just been no-shows.

Posted by: Ari | Mar 4, 2010 6:06:32 PM

Reached his peak? It is only his second NBA season... I am certainly not impressed by his play, I dont feel he is quick enough to make up for his lack in height. That being said, Augustin is still very young and hopefully will continue to improve.

Speaking of all the minutes Gerald and Jack play, wouldn't it be a good time to see some minutes out of our first rounder Gerald Henderson. Maybe his fresh legs could give us a spark off of the bench if only Larry would give in and put him in the game occasionally. If nothing else, we know Gerald is an athlete and could bring incredible energy, particularly on defense.

Posted by: KiahDunk | Mar 4, 2010 6:56:12 PM

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