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December 19, 2013

Being the 6th seed -- unlikely but not crazy -- would do the Charlotte Bobcats a lot of good this transitional season

The Charlotte Bobcats absolutely should pursue the playoffs if they have a realistic chance of being the sixth seed in the East and avoiding the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers in the first round.

            Right now that’s not crazy talk. The Eastern Conference is wide-open, not in a “You might get to the conference finals” way, but in a “You have a puncher’s chance to get to the second round’ manner.

            Fans talk all the time about how the Bobcats can only be so good until they have a great player. OK, I get that. But in these times when real world gets confused with “Joe-from-Matthews-fantasy-team,” here’s what becomes trivialized: There is next to no one on this team with consequential playoff experience.

            The Bobcats’ only playoff experience was a 4-0 sweep by the Orlando Magic. The series wasn’t what it appeared, in that there were several close games. But you know how it has no lasting value? The players with serious experience in that series are long gone.

            Gerald Wallace. Stephen Jackson. Raymond Felton. To a lesser degree, Tyson Chandler. That’s who got the Bobcats into that series.

            You don’t think the Bobcats would be better if Kemba Walker was exposed to the post-season? You don’t think Gerald Henderson or Jeff Taylor would benefit? Or MKG?

            I get tired of the stale “tanking” scenarios. I watch Parker, Smart, Randle and Wiggins constantly, and here’s what comes to mind:

            When/if one of those guys becomes Adam Morrison, then what?

Posted by Observer Sports on December 19, 2013 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

Comments

Completely agree. As much as I want Parker on this team, I feel we have to get playoff experience with this group or it will go nowhere.

Posted by: Cameron | Dec 19, 2013 12:36:49 AM

"The Charlotte Bobcats absolutely should pursue the playoffs..."

Huh? With Air Min, Yes Co. & Cho at the helm is there anything less than 110% given every game?

----

From the other thread...

MJ< completely agree with all your seat selling ideas! How you doing? Happy Holidays!

CLTfan, completely understand you premise and conclusion that they "abandoned the strategy too soon"...

...my question is why? What caused the abandonment?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Dec 19, 2013 12:50:02 AM

Liked this article a lot up until you compared Adam Morrison to Jabari Parker--not even a remotely apt comparison

Posted by: Drew | Dec 19, 2013 12:50:13 AM

Umm, Larry Brown was the reason that team went to the playoffs.

Look, the east is going to come down to Miami and Indiana. The other teams are just taking up space and fighting for a chance to win in this rigged, ping pong ball non-sense they call a draft.

Don't fool yourself either. This draft does have the best group of guys I've seen in a long. Guys coming out next year will be Far comparison from AMMO.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Dec 19, 2013 5:30:27 AM

After watching a fair share of college basketball games, there is not one player that will dramatically alter the landscape of the NBA in the draft next year (especially if he goes to a team like the Bucks or Jazz). No Lebrons or Duncans out there....heck I don't even think there is a Oden, Durant, or Anthony Davis out there.

Good, even great prospects....yes. But no elite guy worth tanking for.

Does Irving/Waiters/Parker/Bennett/Bynum beat Kemba/Hendo/MKG/McRoberts(or Zeller)/Henderson?

Maybe...but that's because of Irving not Parker at that point.

Posted by: cornchip | Dec 19, 2013 6:24:23 AM

All I know is that Clifford guy can coach. And Kemba may not be the perfect point gaurd, but I will take him on my team any day. He does so much that doesn't show up on a score sheet. Always around the ball on D. Quick hands. Getting to loose balls. Clifford knows the game and Kemba is his to to guy. Enough said.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 19, 2013 6:32:10 AM

Y'all are funny. If they don't make the playoffs, the plan isn't working. If they do, they left the plan in the dust. Really really funny.

Posted by: Smokey | Dec 19, 2013 6:34:35 AM

You are a "know-it-all" Bonnell.

Posted by: Timmy | Dec 19, 2013 7:45:39 AM

How about if they are looking like they are out of the lottery as they get to the trade deadline, they go the trade or free agent route. If not, they stick with the draft plan. So the team is better than we thought, so what. There is more than one way to build a team.

Great draft? What about last year that was supposed to be an all time "bad" draft. Already at least 3 all-stars coming from that top 10. Can't believe people still get sucked in on the hype.

The Bobcats/Hornets are playing it right for a change.

Posted by: Hank | Dec 19, 2013 8:16:38 AM

I completely disagree. If this were last year and you were heading into a historically weak draft then I would agree. Playoff experience is valuable but not more valuable than a potential franchise player (something the Cats have never had). You know what Kemba Walker needs more than playoff experience? Someone to pass to.

Posted by: Colby | Dec 19, 2013 8:58:55 AM

There likely will be an Adam Morrison bust player in the top 10 of the draft. Watching the guys this year in college games, I just don't see a franchise type player in the group. I just hope we use those multiple picks to get some NBA ready players. People with the right physical makeup and mental toughness to make it in the NBA.

Posted by: Beachbum | Dec 19, 2013 9:08:08 AM

A first round series with say Detroit would be fun to watch and great experience for both teams. How about a buzzer beater by Kemba to win a playoff series?

Posted by: apauldds | Dec 19, 2013 9:09:06 AM

Even if the top draft prospects were to start playing poorly, like Ben McLemore did over the season last year at Kansas, Chad Ford and all the draft people wouldn't let you know because they get free publicity and are making money off all this draft hype.

Posted by: RobertKatz | Dec 19, 2013 9:15:44 AM

Good point, about players getting playoffs experience, towards the following seasons.

Not only that: during the regular season, the way of developing for young players is not just getting minutes, being "present" on the floor. It's playing hard, with an intense desire to win.

Look no farther than Kemba's great effort last night. Not only it gave the fans the thrill of a buzzer beating shot, it was for him a great experience, of hitting the winning shot with time expiring.
Of course, it's not one shot only: this was for the whole team the experience of proving that they can come from 16 points behind and still win a road game. This is what some players were talking about after a few recent losses in games they gave themselves a chance to win: "we need to learn how to close such games". This is how they learn (through experiences like last night's).

All such experiences add up, and pay off in the future.

Posted by: Sandy | Dec 19, 2013 9:47:38 AM

This is team is by far exceeding expectations, regardless of how weak is the East. When the Bobcats finished second to last in defense last season and then signed Al Jefferson...every so called expert from ESPN and NBA.com, etc. ctriticized the move saying it would only hurt the defense more.

Well, so far this team is a Top-3 defensive team with pretty much the exact same crew, except for Jefferson, who by the way, is doing a pretty good job. They are allowing a whooping 10PPG less than last season and only added two guys that have been criticized for their lack of defensive effort (Jefferson and Zeller).

Next years draft is going to be solid, no doubt about it, it can be as much as 10-12 deep, in terms of all-star talent. That being said, the Bobcats can still package the two picks they will get in order to move higher into the lottery and maybe do something like Indiana with P-George. However, even if the Bobcats get a Top-5 Picks, I don't have too much trust in their drafting skills - although Kemba has been solid and Biyombo and Zeller are starting to look more like true NBA players. Henderson was not bad.

Make the playoffs as a 6 seed, upset Atlanta, Detroit or Boston - and then just try to steal 1 or 2 wins from Miami or Indiana. That will set you up in the media, with a new name, a great coaching staff and some young-hard working talent to maybe sign or trade for an impact player.

Posted by: RobC | Dec 19, 2013 10:17:49 AM

What Sandy said

Posted by: JayTee | Dec 19, 2013 10:20:56 AM

I looked at the Eastern conference standings and noticed something today. Yes, the conference is considerably weaker than the west but how many of these teams are actually tanking? New York, Brooklyn, Chicago definitely had no intentions on tanking this year and all 3 are out of the playoffs. Cleveland to a lesser extent than those 3 had no plans of tanking. They are still rebuilding but not losing on purpose. Honestly even Milwaukee didn't plan on being this bad when they signed OJ Mayo to pair with Larry Sanders. Injuries are killing them. Toronto is now in tank mode and will fall out of the 8th seed, which Cleveland will grab. So now it looks like Philly and Toronto are in full tank mode. The Magic are just bad tanking or not.

Maybe Charlotte is actually a legit at top 5 team in the Eastern Conference this season. I don't see anything that would really change that next year either. New York, Brooklyn and Chicago are maxed out cap space wise and Brooklyn has no draft pick. Charlotte will still get 2 first round picks next year and have enough cap space to get a shooter and scoring big man off the bench that they need. I don't see any one in the draft making Philly, Toronto, or Orlando any better than Charlotte will be. Boston scares me. Detroit I am not sure on and I think Cleveland will be good.

Is saying the Hornets could be a top 3 team in the East next year saying too much? Maybe. But the future is bright and watching this team grow and gel together is quite exciting. Good time to be a sport fan in Charlotte right now!

Posted by: Fraser | Dec 19, 2013 11:15:41 AM

Past 3 posts have been dead -on!!!

It's going to be weird the next few years and folks forget no stud comes out of college and is superstar day 1. It normally takes at least 3 years and even LBJ took a while to make Cavs dominate with no help.

At this point grab middle seed so don't face Pacers or Heat till 2nd round and win the 1st round and maybe a game 2nd round. Combine late round picks and maybe a trade or two for a top 10 and sign a good FA over next two years.

Folks miss that next year Ben and Sessions drop off. Now granted soon we have to sign Kemba. Biz may be a pass and if so trade him soon while worth something. Otherwise we have a lot of money and the top FA won't have as many choices as past few years. They may actually look for a really good (not great) small market team that can afford them.
Besides Lakers who can belly up alot in the future. Maybe Bulls but that's it of the big name cities.

Posted by: Season Ticket holder for now | Dec 19, 2013 11:25:07 AM

I have never enjoyed the NBA more than this year, and I've been watching the game since the three pointer was instituted. Back then, I also had the joy of growing up in Boston when the Larry Bird Celtics were just coming together. While that was an exciting time to be a fan, it was all about my one team (and some tense Finals with between the Celtics and Lakers). This year, the whole league is exciting with as much drama as comedy. At the top we have drama because there is so much parity between the elite teams. OKC, San Antonio, Miami, Indiana, who is going to win it all is anyone's guess. There's also parity in the middle with a sea of teams, including the Bobcats, having a chance to make it into the second round of the playoffs.

The thing that pushes this season, over the top, is the comedy of errors being staged by the intentional tankers and the unintended ones. The epically bad starts of the Nets and Knicks couldn't be a better comedy of errors given their payroll and 2014 draft pick situations. Equally comic, but more uplifting, is the surprisingly gutty play of some young squads going for it, whatever management's intention, and reminding everyone this game is not played on paper. It's almost as hard to predict who will will land the top four ping pong balls as it is to predict which of the four likely Conference Finals teams will win it all.

So it seems any team could win any night, there have been tons of unexpectedly close games, and a fair share of upsets. It's all good for fans of the game. Starting to remind me more of football in those ways, and a lot of the regular season excitement is owed to the new cap rules.

As far as fans of specific teams, like the Bobcats, you got to enjoy the stage of "life" you're at. We're starting to compete, which is fun to watch, and it's particularly fun to watch guys come into their own after struggling for a few years. Management can do what it wants with trades, signings, and lottery management, but there is an unspoken rule, being enforced mostly by the players and coaches, that the guys on the court must compete for the win. I only feel inspired by our team doing just that.

As far as the three to four franchise players in the draft, be careful what you wish for. With so much parity towards the bottom, some of these teams that blew up their rosters to get ping pong balls are going to wind up with a 5th or 6th pick in the draft and a young guy who takes a few years just to mature into a contributor. In other words, it's going to take them a few years just to get back to where they were before they shuffled things.

Sound familiar?

Oh, and what about the lucky ones?

Sure there'll be a few, but if history holds, some of the worst teams won't be among them, and some team is going to get an all star with a mid to late first rounder. Maybe even a franchise guy.

Posted by: Jeff | Dec 19, 2013 11:40:47 AM

This is the most exciting season in franchise history. We could finish with a higher playoff seed than we did in 2010 with a much younger core of players and a much lower payroll. You could argue that the east is weaker than it was in 2010 but if this team went head to head with the 2010 team, the 2013 Bobcats would win hands down. MJ has made some great moves since purchasing the franchise and now it's starting to show. The MJ critics are definitely getting quieter and quieter.

Posted by: NUCAT | Dec 19, 2013 12:39:03 PM

"This is the most exciting season in franchise history."

Talk about low expectations! Slurpers like this are who Air Min, Yes Co. & Cho built their business plan. Bad news is the the Biz Plan (pun intended) is failing -- place is empty night after night.

"...if this team went head to head with the 2010 team, the 2013 Bobcats would win hands down."

You've lost your mind...

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Dec 19, 2013 2:57:04 PM

Hey Nastar, Don't you realize that the Bobcats were a disaster from the start. MJ was wise to gut the whole thing out. And Yes this team would beat the 2010 team. I stand by that statement.

Posted by: nucat | Dec 19, 2013 9:41:45 PM

playoff experience is a big deal. but a series against another non-contender isn't really all that valuable.

and a 4 game sweep to miami or indiana isn't all that valuable either. ask milwaukee how that worked out for their young guys. or their coach.

the whole eastern conference is GIVING AWAY the playoff spots. if we're a 5 or 6 seed and we're a sub .500 team there is NOTHING good about that scenario. i don't see how anybody doesn't get it.

if we're a 45 win team that gets a better seeding because everyone else is horrible and we end up winning a round and competing in round 2, sure. but the FAR BETTER SCENARIO is landing a top flight talent in the draft and going all in going forward.

Posted by: charlottean | Dec 21, 2013 8:59:02 PM

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