Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Bobcats Find their Man

I’m one of the few and the proud. No, I’m not a marine - I’m a Charlotte Bobcats fan. I grew up going to Hornets games in Charlotte with my dad, but when The Owner Who Shall Not Be Named moved my beloved Hornets to New Orleans after the 2002 season, I quit watching NBA ball. In 2004, the NBA returned to Charlotte with the Bobcats, and while I was initially apathetic, I’ve gotten used to the idea of a new team with a new name and new colors. For the first three years of their existence, under coach Bernie Bickerstaff (who resigned to take a front office position), they were not very good, but they were scrappy. I like that in a team. This year, under new rookie coach Sam Vincent, one could make a decent argument that they were good, but not that scrappy. This earned Vincent his walking papers after just one season. After yesterday’s announcement of our third head coach, I’m sure the team will be scrappy next season, and the odds aren’t bad that they’ll be good as well.

The ‘Cats hired hall-of-famer Larry Brown, a journeyman coach who has won championships at both the college (Kansas) and pro (Detroit) levels. Brown rarely stays in one place for too long, and his strong ideas of how the game should be played often create friction with players or management, but before they do that they have another effect – they make the team really good.

The Bobcats have the tools. Jason Richardson had a breakout season this year, Gerald Wallace is, in my opinion, the most underrated player in the NBA, and Emeka Okafor is a solid low-post defender. Couple them with Raymond Felton’s potential at point guard, Adam Morrison and Sean May returning from season-long injuries, and a lottery pick in the upcoming draft and the pieces are in place. Now, the Bobcats have the chessmaster to play with them, and the potential to make their debut as a legitimate NBA force.

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