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January 26, 2012

For Bobcats center Mullens, this is a do-over, not a demotion

Charlotte Bobcats coach Paul Silas did center Byron Mullens a favor Thursday. I don’t know whether Mullens has enough life experience to see it that way, but Silas took Mullens off the spot.

Mullens playing off the bench isn’t a demotion. It’s a do-over.

It was too much, too soon for Mullens to go from a guy constantly sent to the D-League to a guy starting at center for an NBA team. Handy as it might be to claim the Bobcats are a D-League team, this transition for Mullens had to be as rattling as it was gratifying.

First he was the guy shooting 70 percent from the field because no one understood he’d make every open 20-footer. Then the scouting report caught up to him, and he was the guy shooting 5-of-19 in his last three games.

Of more concern, he was “soft guy’’ – the starting center on the team that gave up 104 points in the paint in just two games, against two sub-.500 teams (Knicks and Wizards).

Being a center is first about defending the rim, the same way being a point guard is first about getting teammates easy shots. You want a center who can make jump shots and roll to the rim for dunks and pass out of double-teams. But all that is secondary to being the last line of defense. Right now, Mullens isn’t so good at that, and that isn’t entirely his fault.

It’s not his nature to be physical and he hardly ever played real, NBA basketball in his two seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

So now it’s time for Mullens to sit back, play off the bench against reserves, and learn and adapt. Watch if Gana Diop can change the dynamic some defensively at the rim. Play to your strengths, yet address your weaknesses.

Mullens is a great kid who’s a long way from figuring all this out. When they decided to start him, he accepted the challenge, but also acknowledged he likes watching the first 5-8 minutes of a game to evaluate the action, and how he could contribute.

Time to go back to doing that. No reason that can’t be a productive process.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 26, 2012 at 07:29 PM | Permalink


I am not a Diaw fan, but the team was better with him at center. Why play Diop? He is horrible.

Posted by: Skip | Jan 26, 2012 7:58:29 PM

He needs to work on his upper body strength and get better positioning for rebounds...other than that, I feel he has good potential. It always alarms me when a 7 foot guy can't pull in even 8 rebounds a game on average - just 2 per qtr.

While I am intrigued by this guy, is his trade value ever going to be more than it is right now? From the outside looking in, you see a legit 7 footer with range and a a desire to get better...I say, as much as I like him, seek out other players of similar value who give you a more complete game and offer him as trade bait. The Sacramento Kings are loaded with talent upfront but the team is in disarray...I'd try to package Mullins and a throw in like Higgins, for Jason Thompson and JJ Hickson..since nobody is gonna take Diaw or Diop...that way you have some live body rebounders with some offensive game who can slide between the 4 and 5, while giving Biyombo and opportunity to do the same..wishful thinking but hope it doesnt sound too crazy

Posted by: BobcatsFan | Jan 26, 2012 8:00:33 PM

No need to give up on Mullens...he has real potential to be a key player as a reserve, and may even develop one day into a starter. I hope Tyrus plays more like he did the other night, so he establishes some trade value.

Posted by: Bassman | Jan 26, 2012 8:58:50 PM

the guy is 22. putting him back on the bench for a week or 2 to let him regain his confidence in smaller spurts isn't a bad move. but it should be a short term change. the guy is completely capable of being the guy for a long time. it's about training. it's about learning.

he'll add weight over the next 3 years. that's a given. but the experience going against starting nba centers is what he needs most.

he's averaging 17.7 points per 36 minutes. good for best on the team. we can't stand to just give up layup lines on the interior, but he also isn't going to learn how to swim from sand.

can we please stop with all the trade talks? can charlotte sports fans for once have the patience to let guys grow up instead of calling for everybody to get traded the second they are exposed as what they are (inexperienced). we have a great young core to build on. especially when we stir in that top 5 pick we're about to have in june. next year and going forward is going to be FUN.

but seriously. stop with the trade talks.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 26, 2012 9:22:55 PM

I understand your point, but a big man that can't rebound usually ends up as a 11th or 12th man. If he averages 17pts per 36mins, but gives up 20, and then only gets you 4 rebounds...what is the real value? I like him to, but reality is rebounding is the one trait that translates immediately in the league. If he can't rebound now, he'll never be able to rebound consistently..still, dont want to sound like Im bashing him. He has been a pleasant surprise.

Posted by: muggsy | Jan 26, 2012 9:27:04 PM

Its not even that defenses have figured him out more than him missing those shots now and in a funk. He's had the looks, and i think its stupid how they're all saying that he got figured out when he's generally had good looks at shots but missing them, often back rim. Although i do agree he should be benched because he plays way too soft for a paint presence and shies away from contact or banging. His awareness is just awful, other than knowing how to go for alley oops. Its really like he is timid out there and that can't fly if you're a starting big man in the NBA. Bulk up, learn some toughness, stop playing so scared, and maybe he can be a starter.

Posted by: smokeee | Jan 26, 2012 9:50:40 PM

brook lopez career rebounds per 36 minutes: 8
byron mullens career rebounds per 36 minutes: 8

I'm so tired of fans not even looking at the reality. I know mullens is weak on defense and weak on rebounding. but he's also 22. he needs to get better no question. and he's 19 games in, and 3 of those games he has double digit rebounds and coincidentally he has 3 games of 30 minutes or more. not the same 3 games but its indicative. he's not as far off as portrayed. he also has the 2nd highest PER on the team behind augustin by only .1.

and when you're talking about building a nucleus with guys like biyombo, thomas, henderson, derrick brown.....you have a lot of defenders there. only augustin and mullens are considered defensive liabilities out of the young'ns and even that can be corrected or disputed. and coincidentally those are 2 of the 4 guys that are solid offensively (henderson and walker being the others)

you gotta defend but poor offense leads to poor defense. and defense (outside of size, which he has) is way more teachable than shooting.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 26, 2012 10:07:26 PM

Brook Lopez is horrible rebounder on a horrible team. If you want to compare him to someone, compare him to someone who is a worthy of being compared too...dont just find the first decent player with the same stats. If he wants to be like Brook Lopez, trade him now..and besides, Lopez plays beside a guy who gets 10 boards a game...he doesn't have to do as much. Mullens doesn't have the luxury of depending on someone else to go get the boards...

Posted by: muggsy | Jan 26, 2012 11:17:04 PM

Amen, muggsy. It's time Bobcats fans considered evaluating their team as a normal team competing with the others in their league for a championship, not a group of Sister Mary's kids looking for a pat on the back for good effort.

Posted by: Michael Procton | Jan 26, 2012 11:57:57 PM

Good point Michael. This isn't some junior high school team where everybody gets a trophy just for showing up. It's time to perform or move on.

Posted by: Claydog | Jan 27, 2012 6:32:10 AM

this season is already a bust and we knew that coming in, i don't see why we don't experiment a little bit more with our line up. i say try this out for your starting line up
1-Kemba---augistine when he returns
2- Henderson
3-Thomas/dj white
4- Mullens
5- Biyombo

it gets biyombo heavily involved and he is a great shot blocker and rebounder mulleins would be able to move away from the rim a lot more ala Dirk nowinski

i think it would make for a much more dynamic team

Posted by: Badri | Jan 27, 2012 11:07:08 AM


I wasn't using brook lopez as a GOOD example. It's just a common practice for bobcats fans to hug on lopez' nuts talking about how they should have picked him instead of augustin. I detest lopez' game. I was just pointing out the hypocrisy on here.

Mullens has talent. he's 22. he needs to rebound more, no question. so does everybody else. especially tyrus thomas, d.j. white, even bismack. we have the worst rebound rate in the league. we also have the youngest core in the league. certain things come with the territory. you can teach these guys to rebound. we aren't washington or sacramento or detroit where we have a buncha knuckle heads or head cases. we have GOOD young players. we have talent. we just don't have refined games. we don't have experience.

i like the idea of thomas/mullens/biyombo front line. It's also not just mullens that isn't rebounding. it's everybody. They have got to learn that is the most important thing in the game especially for guys like those 3. and dj white too.

the only guys on our roster in the top 20 at their position in rebound rate are derrick brown, kemba walker (with augustin 34th), henderson (20th). most rebounds are made by the bigs naturally, and none of our bigs are rebounding. diop and biyombo are barely above the boris line (can we use this as our mendoza line?)

these guys can develop. we're 20 games into this. give em this year and next. THEN see where we're at on this.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 27, 2012 12:29:13 PM

gerald Henderson/dj/reggie williams
derrick Brown/Cory Maggette/Matt Carroll
Mullens/Diaw/DJ White

I like that roster line up but Im still not cool with the idea. Really I like Gerald Henderson more at the 3 spot.

Once Reggie williams and dj Angustine and Hendo came back i feel with should line up like this

PG Dj Augustine/Cory Higgins
SG Kemba/Reggie Williams
SF. Gerald Hendersen/Cory Maggette
PF. Tyrus Thomas/Diaw/DJ White/Nejera
C Bismack Biyombo/Mullens/Diop

After thinking about really I think amesty needs to be used on Matt Carroll the most
everyone else isnt great but once Reggie Williams is healthy I feel we could just move on with Matt and be okay

Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Jan 27, 2012 1:13:43 PM

I like the idea of Trading Tyrus Thomas and Dj Augustine to the lakers and having a three way trade with the suns.

Lakers get
Tyrus Thomas
DJ Augustine and DIOP

Paul Gasol and
Matt Carrol

Bobcats get
Steve Nash and

Posted by: Rahshon Gamble | Jan 27, 2012 1:20:04 PM

rashon, go away dude.

lakers giving up gasol to get thomas (and his contract) and augustin? seriously? and diop's contract? they're talking about trading gasol for howard. would anyone in their right mind trade dwight howard for augustin/thomas/diop? i hope you are under 14 years old. if so you get a pass. otherwise.....do something else besides whatever it is you do.

and the suns giving up nash AND gortat? for gasol? they're going to give up NASH the face of their franchise and their young big for an old big.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 27, 2012 2:51:52 PM

Rick, do we have a first round pick since we gave it to the Bulls?

Posted by: Vinh | Jan 27, 2012 3:12:35 PM

wow tough loss, i prefer us to be in the winning category since this is a deep draft there is no need to even consider loosing the season.
we can end in the middle and still get a good pick

Posted by: Vinh | Jan 27, 2012 3:26:08 PM

I've got a feeling the cats might set a record tonight: fewest points ever in an NBA game.

Posted by: apauldds | Jan 27, 2012 4:35:18 PM

TT helluva game we need that spark!!

Really as far as everything else.... maybe we can see some improvement with some play calling tonight.

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Jan 27, 2012 4:58:08 PM

I thought we went with a little of Biyombo,Mullens and Thomas in the 3rd last game when we made that run, maybe I am wrong. Anyway I think that can cause problems for the opposing, No doubt I like it!

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Jan 27, 2012 5:20:22 PM

Mullens will never reach his potential with this sorry roster. He has great potential, but this roster will hold back his progress.

Augustine should be a back-up.
Kemba shoots too much.
Tyrus is terribly overpaid for a guy who can't score, is a poor on ball defender, and not a terribly effective rebounder. Yes, he blocks shots, but what else can he do???
DJ White is a perennial d-league player turned bobcats starter (enough said). As a bench player, I like him.
Derrick Brown would be the 11th or 12th man on a decent team. His stat line should regularly read DNP-Coach's Decision
Boris is fat and out of shape. Stop riding the segway and walk/jog to practice.
Gerald Henderson still can't shoot, and should be a bench player getting no more than 15-20 minutes per game.
Maggette is a chucker. If he's supposed to be your #1 option, then you have a problem.
Najera is scrappy, but old.
Bismack will be a bust. He has no offensive game, and his basketball IQ is nil.
Diop...well his name rhymes with flop.
Cory Higgins should thank his dad for being friends with MJ, because he doesn't even deserve to be on a HS roster let alone a NBA roster (absolute joke).
Matt Carroll should get more time. He can shoot and he's gritty.
Reggie Williams is a good pick up. I wish he was playing now. He can shoot too.

Posted by: red foxx | Jan 27, 2012 9:26:52 PM

Red foxx, toooo much RIPPLE(settle down!!).

K! I don't mind losing but this is enough! We WILL LOSE our fair share, be a total JOKE is not acceptable!!!

I feel sure if we were the 3rd or 4th worst as someone had stated earlier, we will be fine, because... you can bet unless we are watching those balls fall(with the publics eyes) around come time.. it aint going to be us getting the top 3 pick!!

Silas wants too win, we all would in his shoes and there is only soo many more NEXT YEARS TO HAPPEN!!

You want to be positivity perky, not here we will have our fair share of losses, enough said!

You had better start pulling for some wins for the sake of the team and not a TOTAL LOSS OF WHAT MAKES THE TEAM POSSIBLE, SO PLEASE STOP WITH THE LOSING EVERY GAME STUFF!

A small % get lose every game issue("FANS")... OK! Like the mass who probably think Morrison is still a player here or Brevin Knight.... OH YEAH... ok so stop thinking you have it all figured out, because not all the money that is needed to come in is thinking along your lines.

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Jan 27, 2012 11:39:48 PM

And the MASS of natives and long time residents, thinking May and Felton and others are still here. THERE BY ALL MEANS IS STILL PRIDE, AS IS ENVOVLED IN EVERY CITY! How do I know, I have been pushing the Bobcats for years now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Winning will cure all, but how many seasons does it take toooo build!

Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Jan 28, 2012 12:28:50 AM


Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Jan 28, 2012 9:50:58 AM

sorry for multiple posts and that will be my last rant this season. I know we have guys hurt... just super competitive and loyal as I'm sure most are


Posted by: David Stern has to go!! | Jan 28, 2012 5:15:31 PM

Patience. These guys are young as hell. They play together 3 years and they are going to be winning more than not. Patience.

Posted by: charlottean | Jan 29, 2012 9:24:55 PM

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