Nothing in this world happens in a vortex. All is connected and in this connection comes the dynamic results that we refer to as life. How we perceive stories is no different. We’ve heard a lot about “framing” in recent years in regards to how political issues are “framed” in the mass media. Is the issue “Should the US military increase its efforts in the Middle East: Yes or No” or is it “Should the US even be involved such international conflicts at all?”
The world of sports is no different. In the aftermath of the Orlando sweep three weeks ago, Bobcats fans and pundits collectively framed the argument as “How bad are the Charlotte Bobcats and What Needs to Happen to Make them Better?” Now, with the added dynamic of time and another reference point by way of the Orlando/Atlanta four game non-series, the frame in which we view the ’09-’10 Bobcats changes once more.
The Magic absolutely decimated the Atlanta Hawks in four games by a combined total of 101 points. Average that out and the Hawks lose by 25 points a game. Those are blowouts, folks. The Magic averaged a blowout for the series. Contrast that with the now suddenly respectable Bobcats sweep in which the ‘Cats lost four games by a combined 37 points, averaging out to a little over 9 points per game. If the Magic manhandle the revitalized and dangerous Celtics in a seven game Conference Final series, then we’ll have to re-frame the Bobcats First Round exit yet again.
The point is that without playing another second of basketball, the Bobcats don’t look as bad as they did three weeks ago. You could argue that if they had they drawn ANY OTHER TEAM in the first round besides the Magic (and maybe the Celtics) they would have either had a real shot at winning the series or at the very least would have avoided a sweep.
Don’t get me wrong, the Bobcats still have many things to take care of over the next five months. The Eastern Conference isn’t standing still and there’s a good chance that New York and New Jersey will be much improved by early July. The ‘Cats are going to need to resolve a few major issues in order to stay in the Top Eight:
- Settle the Larry Brown situation.
The way that this thing has played out so far, my gut tells me that Larry will be back on the bench next year for a last hurrah. It seems like his comments to the media are to incite sympathy for his family situation which will make him look like a martyr for coaching the team next year. And then when the season’s over, he’ll leave the team — playing the “I was man enough to stick it out another year” card.
- Figure out the Boris Diaw/Stephen Jackson Dynamic.
These two can’t play together. The chemistry is way off and we witnessed this in gory detail during the Sweep. Since JAX is the alpha, it looks like Boris will be the one who will be on the move. It’s tough to gauge the market for Diaw. On one hand, there are few big men in the League with his diverse skills — D’Antoni’s Knicks and Colangelo’s Raptors would love to have him as part of their teams. On the other hand, Diaw is overpaid at $9 million a season for the next two years and I’m not certain what exactly the Bobcats could get back in return for him. Since both the Knicks and the Raptors are in the free agency mix this summer (Bosh & David Lee) I could see the Bobcats getting involved with Diaw going to one of those squads in a multi-team deal — perhaps a deal that would send Charlotte back a…
- Point Guard.
Congrats to Michael Jordan and Rod Higgins for standing firm last summer and not overpaying Raymond Felton. Over the past eight months, we found out exactly who Raymond is as a player: A high quality locker room guy, a spot starter or solid backup who can get hot a few games a year and can be somewhat of a liability on defense against smaller, quicker guards AKA Derek Fisher’s replacement AKA the ’10-’11 Los Angeles Lakers starting PG. Thanks for the memories, Ray. So glad that you and Sean May were so good that we turned down the chance to have either Deron Williams or Chris Paul.
- Tyrus Thomas.
Sign him. No brainer. One more year with Larry Brown and Tyrus could move into the top 15 power forwards in the League.
- Hold onto both Tyson Chandler’s and Nazr Mohammed’s Expiring Contracts.
Unless an incredible deal comes along that would net the team a star player (unlikely) the ‘Cats will be much better off just holding on to the $18+ million in expiring deals. This way they win if
a.) there is a lockout and the team has less dead payroll going into the shortened or cancelled season or
b.) there is no lockout and in the summer of 2011 the team can lure a big name free agent.
The Bobcats aren’t far away from becoming a second round (plus) team next season. Having Jax, Tyson and Tyrus for another year with Wallace will help. As we’ve seen from the Spurs, Lakers and Celtics during the Playoffs, consistency + familiarity goes a long ways and can give you an added edge in the postseason.
POLL : SHOULD CHARLOTTE RE-SIGN RAYMOND FELTON?
(32%, 59 Votes)
(68%, 127 Votes)
Total Voters: 186