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May 29, 2012

Jeff Van Gundy believes Charlotte Bobcats tanked last season

ABC/ESPN NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy believes the Charlotte Bobcats, as an organization, tanked last season.

Speaking on a media conference call Tuesday, the former coach of the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets said he believes the organization assembled “a very poor roster by design.’’ Van Gundy also said he wouldn’t reward bad teams with extra chances in Wednesday night’s draft lottery.

“I don’t think the players and the coaching staff (tanked). I think the organization did by not getting the best roster’’ available, Van Gundy said. “You could make the case at any position that they did not have a top-15 player’’ at that position in the league.

Van Gundy said the Bobcats’ “get bad to try to get good’’ strategy is common among NBA teams, but their 7-59 finish last season – worst by winning percentage in league history – wasn’t happenstance.

“What they’re doing, most (front office) people would do. But it’s by design,’’ Van Gundy said, adding he would do away with the weighting system that gives the Bobcats the best chance (25 percent) at the top pick in Wednesday’s 8 p.m. lottery.

“I don’t think you should get extra odds in the lottery for being bad,’’ Van Gundy said. “To consistently reward bad teams with extra (chances) is bad.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on May 29, 2012 at 11:58 AM | Permalink


That is so weak....the NFL could accuse Indianapolis of the same thing....but nobody cares....by tanking they were getting a 25% chance at a one pick draft....I believe they tanked but not for a draft pick....more to free up bad contracts and cap space....

Posted by: David | May 29, 2012 12:25:18 PM

That's not weak at all. It's the truth. The Indy comparison doesn't hold water, because they only thing Indy missed was Peyton. They were simply a bad team that he managed to cover up. In the bobcats case, they set out to put a mediocre team out there to get a high pick. A better comparison is to the San Diego Padres. Stop being a fanboy and think things through.

Posted by: Jack | May 29, 2012 12:41:08 PM

while you could say that, I think it was far more apparent that they needed to take a step back given that they had 31 million committed to corey maggette, tyrus thomas, gana diop, matt carroll, eduardo najera. The only moves you could look at and question were not resigning kwame brown and dante cunningham (over corey higgins). Kwame got hurt and missed the year so moot point and he was overpaid at 7 million too. cunningham needed to be resigned but after we made the move for mullens, there wasn't a whole lot of PT available for him and brown both and we had already signed brown.

it wasn't like we passed on some awesome deals to get where we are. we created this roster 5 years ago with a lack of foresight.

Posted by: charlottean | May 29, 2012 12:41:09 PM

Rich Cho said the Bobcats were going to take a few steps back so they could take steps forward. That's about as explicit as a GM can get about tanking without getting into trouble. Yes, Charlotte tanked and this should not be news to anyone.

I generally have no problem with the Van Gundy boys, but that statement about not rewarding bad teams is kind of stupid. Most pro leagues don't even have a lottery, i.e. the worst team is guaranteed the top pick. If we listen to JVG, then bad teams just have less opportunity to get better. Makes no sense to me.

Posted by: Jared | May 29, 2012 12:43:46 PM

Once again Jeff Vangundey shows exactly how short sided and loud mouthed he is. The draft lottery isn't designed to reward bad teams. If it was the worst team would automatically get the number one pick, and the second worst the second, and so on. Any of the worst 14 can conceivably get the number one pick. I guess he thinks the major market teams should just be allowed to dominate the league forever with all of the other teams bankrupting in turn.

Posted by: Geraldmutumbo | May 29, 2012 12:45:22 PM

How about we get some common sense and have a draft like EVERY other major sport: based on record. This is a stupid debate. Of course the front office tanked the team. The GM did the same thing when he built the OKC Thunder. Assuming the Bobcats get the #1 draft pick, two years and the Bobcats will be a playoff team again. Write that down...

Posted by: ZB | May 29, 2012 1:16:59 PM

So what? Until the rules change, we play the cards as they are dealt. Get over it JVG. Go Bobcats!

Posted by: Hornets? LOL | May 29, 2012 1:17:21 PM

I bet VanGundy will be REAL mad when we are last in the league next year too.

Posted by: knhart | May 29, 2012 1:35:43 PM

Van Gundy is a jack.. - wait, that word is probably forbidden on this site. Let me try again...

Van Gundy is a donkey. No top-15 players? You really think Gerald Henderson is no better than the 16th-best shooting guard in the league? Really? JVG has probably seen exactly 0 minutes of Bobcats games other than the last one, which he was broadcasting (that was him blabbering whenever Marv Albert paused to take a breath, wasn't it?).

JVG has also obviously forgotten the nature of the Bobcats owner. "Hey, MJ, we have to get bad to get good. In fact, we have to put together the worst team in NBA history. You OK with this?" Good luck with that. MJ may not be a very good personnel guy, but nobody with the will to win he has always displayed would be on board with that. I believe him when he says he knew it would be bad, but not this bad. Did the front office plan for Maggette to miss half the season hurt? Did the front office plan for Diop to completely erase all the progress he made under Silas before he got hurt? Did the front office plan for Diaw to simply quit playing halfway through the year? I think not.

And yes, the lottery needs to go. Worst team gets the top pick. Period. Forget all this indignation about tanking and get with the program like the other major sports.

Posted by: J | May 29, 2012 1:39:48 PM

Jeff van Gundy... was a dumba$$. what coule the bobcats have done to make themselves much better? Seriously - you tell us and we will listen. I mean - what is the real difference between winning 7 games and 17. You are bad either way and there is nothing the Cats could have done last off season that would have helped them win more than 15-20 games. Nothing. Even if they had Wallace, Brown, Jackson and Diaw. You could throw in Felton and Chandler too and they would not have won more than 25 games. Only way to get better was to blow up the team and then wait out some bad contracts. The Bobcats will be good in two years and all this misery will be worth it.

Posted by: Dom | May 29, 2012 2:43:44 PM

They shouldn't get extra chances. They should be guaranteed the pick. It's absurd that they wouldn't be. If a franchise wants to play that king of high risk game (the risk being fans, gate revenue, sponsorships, etc.), then they damn well should be assured the top pick.

Posted by: John W. | May 29, 2012 3:14:26 PM

The Boobcats better "hope" they get the #1 pick, because after A. Davis, picks 2-14 are all about the same. My gut tells me they will land with #3 pick. I hope I'm wrong!

Posted by: Bruce | May 29, 2012 3:14:51 PM

Right...by design. If Diop, Diaw, Thomas are by design, they would be better served to let their kids draw free agent names from a hat.

Posted by: usc88 | May 29, 2012 3:16:23 PM

The lottery makes no sense when a decent team like the Bulls gets the #1 pick or when the Spurs have 1 injury plagues year and wind up with a franchise player. I realize that the draft is a crapshoot (see Oden, Greg) but at least give a bad team a chance. Unless it's the Clipppers in most years because they have had enough.

Posted by: Cheeseburgerface | May 29, 2012 3:33:08 PM

And just how did JVG suggest that the 'Cats get the 'best roster available', what with the mediocre talent and horrendlus contracts it had facing it at the start of the season? Both reflective of years of bad management, but it was what it was, in the vein of a former Charlotte coach. No way MJ going way over the salary cap and its penalties. Stern's 'lottery' an attempt to discourage 'tanking', but it's not working as intended...there's got to be a better way.

Posted by: Eduardo | May 29, 2012 3:59:44 PM

My thinking for Van Gundy's rant is that the Bobcat front office wasnt returning his phone calls trying to set up an interview.

Posted by: WILLBLOGFORMONEY | May 29, 2012 4:12:06 PM

Spoken like George Steinbrenner. Obviously, Van Gundy is another of those that believes that championships should be bought. The NFL Draft is the best way to go because it helps maintain parity and that is good for the overall product.

The reality is that if Van Gundy were offered the Charlotte job, he'd want that #1 pick too!

Posted by: John | May 29, 2012 4:23:19 PM

well, i hope we'll get the 1st pick but as you know the system always fall on the wrong side but i wouldn't mind since Cho will make the most out of the pick as he did with Durant.
lottery is never always on small market side.

Posted by: vinh | May 29, 2012 4:43:05 PM

Van Gundy said...“You could make the case at any position that they did not have a top-15 player’’ at that position in the league.


Charlottean, that sound familiar?!? Danged if I didn't say exactly the same thing to you a few days ago.

Hence the Bobcats exclusively provide "below average talent" to a new coach like Jerry Sloan.

Read it and weep baby!!!!!!

Posted by: George Hanson | May 29, 2012 4:44:55 PM

You really think Gerald Henderson is no better than the 16th-best shooting guard in the league?

I agree with all of your points about Van Gundy, but I couldn't resist the analysis. Here's my take:

Clearly better than Henderson (no legitimate argument to the contrary): 4 - Wade, Ginobili, Kobe, James Harden

Clearly better than Henderson in 2012 (maybe some debate that Henderson will be better next year or soon after): 10 - Joe Johnson, Monta Ellis, Marcus Thornton, Kevin Martin, Paul George, Jason Terry, Jamal Crawford, George Gill, Tony Allen, Gordon Hayward

Better than Henderson in the games played this season (but maybe 66 games of Henderson is better): 4 - Chauncey Billups, Gerald Green, Delonte West, Ray Allen

Not a better prospect than Henderson but played much better this season thanks to team: 1 - Danny Freakin' Green

Henderson's peers (reasonable argument that Henderson may be better, but not on a purely statistical basis): 13 - Rodrigue Beaubois, Brandon Rush, JJ Redick, Sundiata Gaine, Klay Thompson, Aron Afflalo, OJ Mayo, Jordan Crawford, Wes Matthews, Leandro Barbosa, Alec Burks, Michael Redd, Willie Green

Injured most of the year, but probably better than Henderson: 1 - Eric Gordon

So ... I think Henderson was at best the 16th best 2-guard in the league this year (and at worst the 33rd best).

Posted by: Sammy | May 29, 2012 5:49:23 PM

Nice analysis there Sammy. Good work.

Posted by: George Hanson | May 29, 2012 5:59:07 PM

This team clearly did not tank. They were simply bad. If not for all the injuries they might have been able to squeeze out 15 wins at best.

Posted by: Gman | May 29, 2012 6:32:57 PM

George Gill should be George Hill.

Posted by: Sammy | May 29, 2012 6:46:10 PM

Gman, Van Gundy is saying MJ & Yes Co., in other-words, management, tanked. You are right, the players were just terrible.

Be interesting to see 4 years from now how many of these players are still in the league. Not counting the Italian League that is, where Kemba will be playing.

Posted by: George Hanson | May 29, 2012 6:49:22 PM

I agree, except I think it was also the year before too.

Posted by: digal704 | May 29, 2012 7:11:03 PM

The Panthers did the same thing 2 years ago.

Posted by: Deacon | May 29, 2012 8:33:20 PM

Geez. And I thought the team just lost some tough games. Thanks for the wisdom JVG. Sorry you didn't get a call for the HC job like every other available one this side of Phil Jackson. Next thing you know someone will tell us that the Colts tanked to get Andrew Luck.

Posted by: PantherDave | May 29, 2012 9:42:23 PM

They tanked so they could hire his brother! The smarter brother! Thanks Einstein! We all knew the tank was in before the season started! Expert? We talking about an expert! Expert? How is an expert going to make this team better! Expert?

Posted by: joe cool | May 29, 2012 11:45:00 PM

I didn't know the Bobcats were the first sports team in history to "tank" and attempt to rebuild...thanks Jeff!

Posted by: TheRealJD | May 30, 2012 1:35:52 PM

Yahoo Sports reporting that MJ personally told Patick Ewing he is no longer in the running to coach Bobcats. See even MJ couldn't do that(allow him to suffer as Bobcat coach) to a friend.

Posted by: TrueBBallFan | May 30, 2012 2:54:12 PM


no effing way you said they have no top 15 guys at any position and I argued that. Only thing i ever remember arguing in that vein is that everybody was saying we didn't have anybody that would start on any other team and THAT i argued. top 30, not top 15. But you could absolutely make a case for augustin and henderson both being top 15 at their positions.

but they aren't top 10 that's for sure. IF they are top 15......it's 12 and back. but they're also young. they could be top 10 soon. so could biyombo and mullens if put in the right position.

there's nothing "tanking" about rebuilding. we didn't even know what anthony davis' unibrow looked like when this team was built last year with the wallace and jackson trades. we started rebuilding. that doesn't mean we intentionally finished last. there's a lot more benefit in not finishing last and the lottery is that.....25% is NOT something tank worthy. rod higgins might think it is but rich cho definitely wouldn't.

more to talk about is.....did rick bonnell have kawhi leonard on his ROY ballot or did he leave him off for kemba walker? nuts. 18 and 10 in a conference finals game as a rookie. i want to know what the best conference final game by a rookie post 1970 was. that has to be up there.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2012 3:08:02 PM

I think it's tougher to make the case that Augustin is a top 15 point guard in the NBA, largely because there are SO many good PGs.

I don't think anyone would argue that the following 10 are better than Augustin: CP3, Rose, Westbrook, Parker, Irving, Deron Williams, Stephen Curry, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo.

I would also say that no one would trade any of the following 8 guys straight up for Augustin: Lou Williams, Jeremy Lin, Ty Lawson, Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, John Wall, Jeff Teague, Ricky Rubio

The following 6 certainly PLAYED better than Augustin this year by a large statistical measure: Brandon Jennings, Nate Robinson, Jarrett Jack, Jerryd Bayless, Isaiah Thomas, Rodney Stuckey.

And I would have a hard time arguing that, even on potential, Augustin is any better than the following 7: Mike Conley, Ramon Sessions, Jose Calderon, Tyreke Evans, Andrew Miller, Jameer Nelson, Jason Kidd.

So I think calling Augustin a top 30 PG is reasonable, but calling him a top 15 is a real stretch.

Posted by: Sammy | May 30, 2012 5:16:58 PM

it would be great to acquire Davis but if we don't Cho will get us one good player.
as he did with Biz and Kemba. Kemba can create shots anytime and quick can't be taught he is undoubtfully among Rose, Wall, Parker. Biz has great instinct for defense and a few offense skills could give him better skillsets.

Posted by: vinh | May 30, 2012 6:14:23 PM

well, it is what it is but i really want the bobcats transition game to be on the speed by getting another UK player to pair up with our young front court. Biz can get better someday who is similar to Davis except for offense but still the same style.

Posted by: vinh | May 30, 2012 8:32:02 PM

the first "10" you only named 9.

lou williams is not a point guard, tyreke evans isn't either, nor rodney stuckey, kidd is like 40 as is nash. andRE miller not far behind.

taking that into consideration, i think he's right there with the lowry, dragic, wall, lin group regardless of trade perception or this past year when he was playing hurt for a horrible team. imagine his assists and shooting %'s if he actually has supporting cast. it's like a power hitter on BS lineup not getting any good pitches because they can pitch around him.

you left out holiday and george hill/darren collison but honestly i've run through that list a ton of times and If you look at everything on par and more or less exclude nash/kidd/miller he's debatably as high as 13 or as low as 25ish. jeff teague? nate robinson? really?

the first 9 you named plus rubio, lawson, wall are no brainers (although wall has been very unimpressive at times). past that? complete toss up. I would put dragic and lowry ahead but it's not a CLEAR distance. that whole lin, calderon, nelson, jennings, conley group is about par with dude. add hill and holiday in that group.

the other guys not so much. he's in there. he had the same kind of games as a rookie that dragic had this year. he needs to regain that form though. it'll come. this draft pick (not davis) will help. as will biyombo being a little bit better.

Posted by: charlottean | May 30, 2012 8:42:09 PM

What an idiotic statement. If you were guaranteed the 1st pick there may have been some credibility to what Van Gundy said, but they could have won 5 or 6 more games and avoided the humiliation of being the worst team in league history and still faced the same odds. I just think it is a sorry system and the fact that they were so incredibly bad and did not have the number one selection is unconscionable. No other professional league does things in this manner.

Posted by: Claydog | May 30, 2012 10:55:35 PM

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