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November 23, 2013

Why would fans be so surprised/outraged Biyombo and Gordon didn't play?

    Here’s what was interesting about tonight’s events and fans’ reaction to them:

            For the better part of two years I’ve received constant response from readers that Bismack Biyombo was a wasted lottery pick who will never evolve into a legitimate NBA starter and that whatever Ben Gordon can do for the Charlotte Bobcats is negated by his flaws.

            So tonight Bobcats coach Steve Clifford didn’t play Biyombo or Gordon. And fans with an opinion generally raged that Biyombo and Gordon didn’t play. Huh?

            I guess if I were a radio sports-talk guy I’d turn this into a contrived debate, so that I could sit back and listen to fans attack each other. I’m not that guy. So instead I’ll try to offer context:

            Clifford’s position might or might not be the best course. But it’s defensible, probably far more defensible than the second-guessing I heard from y’all via Twitter during and after the loss to the Suns.

            Clifford was asked about why each player didn’t get off the bench. He answered with transparency.

            He reiterated his response from when I asked him opening night why Gordon didn’t play: That Jeff Taylor’s defense is important to the foundation they’re establishing. He’s bigger, younger and more versatile than Gordon. So while distance shooting is an obvious flaw on this roster, Gordon’s ability in that area isn’t so compelling a factor that Taylor should lose minutes to Gordon.

            Again, whether you agree or disagree, that’s not equivalent to the world is flat, not round.

            Now, about Biz…

Some fans feigned shock that Biyombo didn’t play tonight. I didn’t expect him to go DNP-CD, but I made sure to mention in my Friday story that Biyombo played only 7 ½ minutes in the second half against the Nets when the game was decided.

            You know who played Biz’s minutes? Jeff Adrien. You know why? Because while Biyombo is longer and a better athlete, Adrien is a quicker study and, to use Clifford’s word, the team “functions’’ better right now with Adrien playing.

            I’m thinking back to late last month when I wrote a lot about whether the Bobcats would exercise Biyombo’s rookie-scale option for next season. I kept saying it was not a given Biz would get that option. The reaction I got from the public was dismissive. That it was a “no-brainer.”

            Actually, no. It was a close call. Biyombo will get his $4 million or so guaranteed next season, but the idea the Bobcats are sold on his potential is poppycock. I don’t understand how that’s a surprise to the fan base. It’s sure not the impression I’ve left.

Posted by Observer Sports on November 23, 2013 at 01:47 AM | Permalink


You treat your followers on twitter like garbage. You dismiss their opinions like they are complete morons. I feel sorry for you as a person.

Posted by: Jason | Nov 23, 2013 2:10:46 AM

I don't understand why McRoberts is playing. His defense is horrible, shots 37% and averages less than 5 rebounds as a power forward. He is not an NBA caliber player!

Posted by: jo | Nov 23, 2013 2:45:40 AM

I think it was just a bad matchup. The Suns don't really have a conventional center for Biz to matchup with, and he would have had a bad time checking Frye or Morris at the 3 point line. It was just one game. Would have been nice for him to at least try something different though, the 2nd half was just painful to watch. When you get behind big and you don't have anyone that can shoot 3s... well you end up with a hopeless 4th quarter like we ended up with tonight.

Posted by: David | Nov 23, 2013 3:49:22 AM

Clifford is not making any sense right now. Adrein is not a part of the future with this team. He is undersized and will never dominate the paint defensively the way Biz does.

The bottom line is the players on this team do not fit well and compliment each other. MKG, Taylor, Henderson, and Zeller all struggle because they need a pass first PG with court vision to play beside. Walker and Sessions are the same player. Shoot first, small PG's with terrible court vision.

McRoberts, Tolliver, Adrien, Zeller and Jefferson are all terrible on defense. That's basically the entire front court. They don't rebound that well and most take jumpers. This is another reason why the team struggles. Players need to play the role of their position on the team.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Nov 23, 2013 7:32:59 AM

you are a garbage writer. you spend more time trying to contrive ways to make yourself look intelligent than just reporting what is happening. nobody cares about how close of a call you think picking up his option was. I just want to hear (from Clifford, not you) why he didnt play last night.

Posted by: lol | Nov 23, 2013 9:15:52 AM

Preach it Brother Rick!!!!

Posted by: Will | Nov 23, 2013 9:34:34 AM

um... "lol"? This is an "Inside the NBA" blog which is essentially a column. I would think that the one person most qualified to give their opinion on the team would be the team's "Beat Writer" who covers the team for the newspaper. His opinion certainly matters compared to someone say on NBA TV who only watches highlights of the Bobcats. And I love NBA TV too but I want the opinion of the local beat writer. He's around the team like ALL THE TIME. C'mon now.

Posted by: Will | Nov 23, 2013 9:43:02 AM

Who was Bismack going to guard last night ? And Gordon too ? These guys are all long and very tall. Taylor is struggling though . The Cats need a pass first facilitating pt gd . All Kemba and Sessions do is shoot , force shots at the rim w guys open . They never or rarely facilitate all game only when they get in trouble or are down . Both get taken in the paint at will where the opponent scores or dishes for a score for a teammate .

Posted by: Iron man | Nov 23, 2013 9:43:22 AM

It seems the only PG Kemba can dominate is Kyrie Irving. Too bad the Cats can't play the Cavs every night.

Look, the Bobcats are playing better than anyone should have expected. Building this roster is a ongoing process. They are forced to start a player like McRoberts who would get backup minutes on a good roster. It seems to me that Cho has a plan and Clifford is dong about as well as can be expected with what he has. Last year this team would have been blown out by 20+ by PHX.

Posted by: Tribetime | Nov 23, 2013 9:54:58 AM

Always good to hear Rick chime in and tell us how great he is while talking down to fans.

Posted by: Fred | Nov 23, 2013 10:04:09 AM

One thing about Bobcat fans...they're F-I-C-K-L-E. Reading all above, agree that 1)Clifford is at last trying to work Big Al into team chemistry and 2)the team sorely needs a PG that can manage the floor and that is not bricking three's and crashing the rim with blinders on.

Posted by: eduardo | Nov 23, 2013 10:09:59 AM

We are who we are... below average, no star and a bunch of role players.We were not even competitive last night which shows we are far off from even considering a playoff berth.

LOL from above... you are in the wrong section of charlotte.com. your comments are the reason trolls like you need a FB login to post so we can see who you really are.

Posted by: B Reasonable | Nov 23, 2013 11:22:20 AM

To my trained eye Jeff Adrien and/or the unit he was playing with nearly let the Nets back into that game in the 4th quarter b/c Clifford kept most of the starters (you know, the guys that built the lead) out for too long/completely. Adrien gives us nice bench minutes, compared to the nearly worthless Tolliver and the hot/cold Zeller but acting like a 2 game stretch (one of which was an embarrassing loss to the Suns) is indicative of Bismack being supplanted is beyond ridiculous. Really poor insight Rick. Biyombo is just now scratching the surface of his potential and resembling an NBA player and on schedule (arguably slightly ahead of schedule) b/c he's a long-term project, remember? If Clifford seriously thinks Adrien is more conducive to wins and not secretly tanking or tinkering with rotations to fit in Big Al than he is a garbage coach.

Posted by: BroD | Nov 23, 2013 12:24:09 PM

When I was a kid I was told to never argue with a crazy person, because bystanders will usually have a hard time telling who the crazy one is. I don't have statistics to back this up, but I would imagine that far less than 1% of the people that self-identify as Bobcats fans actually make any of these comments to you on Twitter, Rick. You are basically arguing a point with a few outspoken fans while making it sound as if a huge portion of the fan base is being represented. This is only my opinion, but I don't think this speaks very highly to the level of professionalism of the Observer's sports journalism staff. I normally wouldn't offer unsolicited criticism, but I thought your criticism of "the fan base" justified it.

Posted by: Jeff | Nov 23, 2013 12:31:49 PM

Simply looked like matchup based playing time. Biz will be back but not against a team without a true center. Actually none of our guys are great playing out in the perimeter. Cody might be the best and that is why he played most of the 4th.

Posted by: Tim | Nov 23, 2013 1:13:33 PM

Player A: can't catch, can't shoot outside 1-foot, terrible at the line.

Player B: can't shoot outside 3-feet, lousy at the line.

Fact: can't play both these players big minutes and expect to be competitive because the other 3 players can't possibly provide enough offense to stay in the game.

Something has to give slurpers...

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Nov 23, 2013 4:51:46 PM

Bobcats are 3-0 when Biz plays 30+ minutes and 1-3 when Jefferson plays. How about that for "functions better"? Also, Jeff Adrien should be a "quicker study" he's 27 effing years old already.

Posted by: BroD | Nov 23, 2013 6:38:30 PM

not just twitter... Hear him on 610am dismissive and smartass. Just a mean little man with a platform which basically enables him to look down on us as "uninformed commoners". However some these guys have been pretty harsh toward him over the years. But is that why? Possibly.

Posted by: DShtg!! | Nov 24, 2013 6:47:52 AM

biz is 21. adrien is almost 28. we invested more in biz and the difference between the 2 is negligible at this point.

i love the way the both of them play, so this is in no way a knock on adrien AT ALL. dude played balls out wednesday night. but so did biz.

you don't pick the 27 year old over the 21 year old unless you are in win now mode.

i want to blame clifford, but our track record of firing coaches (specifically the one last year who did the right thing for the franchise all year) leads me to believe he's doing what he has to do to keep his job.

not playing ben gordon is completely expected. he doesn't play defense, has an attitude problem, has an expiring contract and will be gone as soon as we realize that we could get some draft picks from somebody to salary dump on us for next year (when we have no use for the cap space).

what they are doing jumping the gun this year is deplorable. people are going to look back at this year with absolute disgust. might as well put a sam bowie or greg oden jersey on jefferson and adrien.

only way this franchise gets better is developing out top end young talent into top end veteran talent. we keep taking talent and ruining them. over and over and over and over. until that changes, we will continue to be a joke of a franchise.

right when they looked like they were turning the corner, this kind of ish happens. here comes 41-41 and a number 18 pick in the best top end draft class since 2003. awesome.

Posted by: charlottean | Nov 24, 2013 1:27:38 PM

"right when they looked like they were turning the corner, this kind of ish happens. here comes 41-41 and a number 18 pick in the best top end draft class since 2003. awesome."

Told ya so.

Lousy management, they never come through.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Nov 24, 2013 7:02:23 PM

it's a management decision, has to be. and you know what this adrien over biz move reminds me of..........the larry brown era. remember when larry was playing scrubs over our young talent like mcguire and stephen graham.instead of developing henderson or dj they played larry hughes, ronald murray and graham. dj and henderson ony really improved once lb left. and now the management seems to be doing the exact same thing which is a short sighted - short term goal which will produce short term results right before one of the best drafts in history. i swear if this team finishes 7th, 8th in the east only to get swept out of the 1st round and they get the 15th pick, mj will go down as one of the worst owners of all time.

Posted by: shlapshtick | Nov 24, 2013 7:29:42 PM

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