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April 02, 2014

Charlotte Bobcats' Josh McRoberts out with ankle sprain; rookie Cody Zeller to make his first NBA start

With Josh McRoberts out for tonight’s road game against the Philadelphia 76rs with an ankle sprain, rookie Cody Zeller gets his first NBA start.

            Zeller came off the bench his first 74 appearances with the Charlotte Bobcats. Even when McRoberts was out previously this season, coach Steve Clifford had chosen to leave the No. 4 overall pick with the reserves and start veteran Anthony Tolliver.

            Wednesday Clifford changed that approach. Part of that was Clifford’s sense that Zeller was the better matchup with Sixers forward Thaddeus Young. But it’s also a reflection of Zeller’s improved play of late.

            As I wrote in this morning’s Observer, Zeller’s numbers are up of late. http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/01/4810530/bobcats-rookie-cody-zeller-learning.html#.UzyHPj-PJMs

    Over his last 19 games he’s shooting 52 percent from the field after shooting 38 percent before that. He’s doing better at guarding without fouling, adapting to the speed of the NBA game, which is radically different from college basketball.

            That’s no small adjustment. Sixers coach Brett Brown was speaking pre-game about the difference between the college game and the NBA and he called NBA players “a whole other species of athlete.”

            McRoberts said he sprained his left ankle in the fourth quarter of Monday’s comeback against the Washington Wizards. He was leaping to tap a rebound out to a teammate and came down awkwardly. He said he didn’t know whether he stepped on another player’s foot or not.

            Clifford said McRoberts is feeling better, but there’s no telling when he’ll be ready to play again: “It could be Friday (against the Orlando Magic) or it could be next Wednesday (versus the Wizards).”

Posted by Observer Sports on April 2, 2014 at 06:11 PM | Permalink


Just another win. Can't wait to hear what they did wrong tonight,

Posted by: Jason | Apr 2, 2014 9:25:48 PM

Haters will say they beat a bad team by 30 while sitting the starters the 4th and should have won by 40. Hope we can catch Washington and play Tor. but the way the Pacers are playing that's a better match up then the Heat.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 2, 2014 10:41:20 PM

Hey. Wait a minute. I am Jason. The one that thinks Iron Man has mental problems.

Posted by: Jason | Apr 3, 2014 12:44:00 AM

Love to be on your mind even when I don't post . What an honor . You don't rate enough for that ever to happen to me .

I clamored for Zeller to start since the break . Real mental . The away announcers said Zeller's length was bothering Young . He had 3 assists w 71 touches and 57 passes too .

Jefferson passed out of doubles quickly , had hockey assists , set screens and played bb correctly. The Cats worked the pick and roll w he and the bigger guard Henderson . A bigger guard has more passing angles to choose from , including seeing over the top . I clamored for the pick and roll to be run using players other than the pt gd here for yrs . Real mental . Lol . The Cats started
the Pick and roll from the mid post extended . This allows Jefferson to screen and roll closer to the basket which makes rolling much easier for him . The pick and roll is used up to 25% of the time and more in the playoffs . It gets players to the foul line, breaks up stagnant offenses brought on by team defenses that stiffened and is a staple in the playoffs the Cats must use .

The only negative is Kemba being abused by Carter Williams to the tune of 18 first half points . This will be the number one problem in the playoffs . It's been one of the major problems all yr . The Pacers may use Turner and Lance in the back ct , taking turns at abusing Kemba . Lance would defend him on the defensive end . Kemba has to play Beverly type hard core in your jock defense or this could be a nightmare in waiting .

Posted by: Iron man | Apr 3, 2014 8:27:48 AM

Thanks for acknowledging me right off the start. Nice to know I have that kind of impact on you. And thanks for posting. I am sure the coach is taking notes. Now he has what he needs for practice. Believing that is what makes you mental. Not your opinion. Of course writing it over and over and over might fit in that category as well. Glad you think they did almost everything right against the worst team in the NBA. Thankfully this coach focuses on team defensive principles. Not your simpleton philosophy about keeping point guards out of the paint which is virtually impossible in the NBA. Can't believe mr. pick and roll doesn't understand that. Hey, but you never know. Dunlap wanted to press full court against. NBA players so there is that. Wonder how that worked out?

Posted by: Jason | Apr 3, 2014 8:56:26 AM

Do you really think almost any other pt gd in the nba has the problems Kemba does w defending opposing pt gd penetration ? Or even the top 20 to 15 pt gds whc would make his effort about league average ? Maybe this is too deep for you . You can't teach height . He's a runt . I can't think of any pt gds that haven't taken him in the lane almost at will most particularly in the 4 th quarter . But you keep w slurping believing that it's next to impossible to keep pt gds out of the lane or work to push them towards the sidelines . Dummy .

Posted by: Iron man | Apr 3, 2014 9:29:36 AM

Jason, you supported Dunlap when he was here didn't you? And Silas too, right?

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 3, 2014 9:44:48 AM

Hi Ironman.

"Jefferson passed out of doubles quickly , had hockey assists , set screens and played bb correctly." That's right. It's not news, he's been doing it this season, even though it's the kind of thing that can't be proved with stats.
But I'm glad you acknowledge it now. (Newer is his increased effort in defense).

Now, please pay attention to the following: it's not name-calling, it's talking about basketball. On blaming Kemba for other PGs success in dribble penetration, you are wrong. I referred to this in past comments, especially last season, and things haven't changed since.

The NBA has lots of quick PGs who can zoom by their defenders and get to the rim. Kemba Walker is one of them. He does it to other PGs and they do it to him - and also to each other, just the same. The only hope a team has against this type of play is help defense, waiting for the quick PG after he already left his counterpart behind; that's the "second line of defense". This is not about a PG's size or defensive effort.

This is explained both by the quickness of most NBA point guards, and by the adoption of the "no hand-checking" rule. In the years since the NBA adopted this rule, the point guards ability to score in dribble penetration was greatly increased - compared to the NBA in prior years, as well as to college and international basketball.

This was done very much "by design', as part of commish David Stern's effort to make the game higher scoring and more exciting by favoring offense vs. defense. Another rule, to the same purpose, is the "D3" (defensive 3 seconds violation - which I happen to think is a horrible rule).

Being taller can help a guard against jump shooters, but no, it's not the answer to quick drives, when no hand checking is allowed. Most point guards in this league can do it, to most others; if you can cite any exception, fine, but it will only be the exception to what you can see all the time from most point guards.

Rick Bonnell had several articles that emphasized the dramatic difference the "no hand checking rule" had on the NBA game. Some people also advocate extending it to college.

Are you able to acknowledge your mistake on this issue? Or, will a stubborn false pride lead you to start an unnecessary argument on it?
Your choice. If the former, you'll move one step up in my eyes; if the latter, sad and too bad.

Besides, I also posted repeatedly the names of several point guards, ranging between good to excellent, who are same or about same height as Kemba (including smaller than him) - which didn't prevent them from being recognized as successful in this league: Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Ty Lawson, Raymond Felton, Mike Conley Jr., the smaller, but very talented "new" Isaiah Thomas, etc. What does this mean?
It means that, just as it's wrong to claim that bigger size doesn't matter, it's also wrong to make it into a big, or decisive, issue for a point guard's success in this league: it is not.

Posted by: Sandy | Apr 3, 2014 10:50:36 AM

If big al would come out on pic and roll defense kemba wouldn't look so awful on his one on one defense. ..and if big al starts doing that the team defense would be considerable better..

Posted by: shane | Apr 3, 2014 1:00:37 PM

" What does this mean? "

It means The Shortster is too short to play his natural position so is instead masquerading as a point guard.

"Short", and "great PG", are not mutually exclusive terms. However, to be a "great, short point guard", one must actually be a PG, and also possess the requisite skills and mindset/mentality to play and thrive at the position...

...The Shortster does not qualify.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 3, 2014 10:45:39 PM

NASTAR, you sure make a point here, but... I disagree. We all know about Kemba's scorer mindset. Yet, although he's not a pass first natural point guard, he is a talented and hard working player, who manages every year to improve his ability to actually become a productive PG. And, high scoring from a point guard is also more and more expected in the NBA.

I also love classic, natural, point guards.
The best playmaker this franchise ever had was its first starter, Brevin Knight - as underrated by many fans as he was.

Does it mean he was better overall than Kemba? I don't think so, and also, it's important to say that Kemba's development is still a work in progress. I'm rooting for him.

I see this, and the one above, as preliminary comments on this issue only. I'll complete and summarize my viewpoint on our team's second best player - which Kemba certainly is - after the end of the season (playoffs included).

By the way, you look much better when you stick to basketball comments than when you're throwing around jabs at the management and at fans who love this team. Whether you do, or don't, have a high opinion of these fans, no team can survive, and beyond that thrive, without the fans' strong support.

Posted by: Sandy | Apr 3, 2014 11:17:27 PM

Given the complete ineptitude of management and their corresponding total disregard for their key constituency, the fans, it's amazing that the Boobs have any!!

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 4, 2014 11:12:38 PM

And yet, they have them!

And the bandwagoners will keep coming!

Posted by: Sandy | Apr 4, 2014 11:36:38 PM

"And yet, they have them!"

Yup, and the common distinguishing characteristics of most are, (i) stupid, and (ii) broke.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Apr 6, 2014 10:29:55 PM

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