Not too good…


The Bobcats lost their first preseason matchup 118-80 to the Magic tonight. If you watched this debacle, my apologies. If you didn’t, and want the post-mortem, continue reading:

The Good

  • Not much for the Bobcats. Adam Morrison looked surprisingly competent for a very brief stretch in the second quarter, as he was able to bury a couple of shots when everyone else was ice cold and totally out of sync.
  • DJ Augustin’s handle. It’s fun to watch Little Miss Giggles dribble… seriously. He’s one of those guys that just has exquisite control of the ball at all times – just don’t let him shoot (0-5 tonight).
  • Dwight Howard, the best big man in the world (sorry Yao and Amare), was utterly dominant in limited action. 20 points, 8 boards and 5 blocks in 25 minutes — yep, that’s a good night’s work. And 8-10 from the free throw line? Has Superman conquered his Kryptonite?
  • (I can’t believe I’m writing this) JJ Redick. Redick shot really well tonight and looked surprisingly quick and decisive. He looked like a guy who is prepared, and a little desperate, to prove himself.

The Bad

  • The Bobcats fell behind 40-9 by the end of the first quarter, due to awful shooting and sending the Magic to the line for 20 free throws. Thankfully, I missed the first few minutes of the game.
  • For the remaining three quarters, things generally continued along those lines: the Bobcats ended the game shooting 28.4% and the Magic ended the game with 53 free throw attempts (they hit an astounding 48 of them, good for 90.6%).
  • The Bobcats rotations were all sorts of wacky, as should be expected with a new coach, some new faces on the squad, and some old faces carefully working their ways back from injury.
  • Alexis Ajinca. He’s 7’2″, runs and moves like a small forward, and has a decent face-up short-to-midrange shot. But that’s all that he’s got going right now. This guy is not even close to being ready for prime time, with no sense of timing or basketball IQ. Don’t believe for a minute that Ajinca is going to play regular minutes in the regular season this year. He needs major work in the D-League. Ryan Hollins, your spot is safe for one more year.
  • The guys at the end of the bench playing for the 15th spot. I didn’t see anything remotely interesting or promising out of Andre Brown, Donell Taylor or Marcus Williams. I can’t see any of these guys making the roster out of camp, though Brown has the best chance simply due to his size.

The Ugly

  • The Magic’s new unis. Now I’m usually a sucker for any new uni, particularly when it has either a cool, modern feel (I’m one of those horrid people who actually likes Oregon’s football kits) or a decidedly throwback aesthetic. And the Magic’s new uniforms definitely have a cool, modern sensibility with the contoured pinstripes. But I’m just not feeling them – maybe because their previous unis were perfectly fine.
  • Amway Arena. Not that there’s anything physically wrong with Orlando’s building, but I get a kick out of it every time I hear “Amway Arena” (I know the Magic’s owner is the co-founder of Amway, by the way). Seriously, do they have the “Ponzi Scheme Practice Court” at Amway Arena? Then I remember that the Bobcats play at Time Warner Cable Arena, and I can’t decide which corporation I respect less.


Is this the year?


Will the Bobcats be smiling like this at the end of the regular season?’s NBA guru John Hollinger seems to think they’ll have reason to. In his season preview of the Bobcats, Hollinger projects the team to finish 40-42, good enough for the 8th playoff spot in the East.

Hollinger cites the upgrade of Larry Brown over Sam Vincent as perhaps the biggest driver behind the improved outlook, but also notes the returns of May and Morrison and the upgrade of DJ Augustin over Jeff McInnis as important reasons.

One positive that Hollinger doesn’t mention is that the core of this team (Wallace, Okafor, Felton) has been together for several years now. Jason Richardson (after initially seeming nonplussed about being traded to the Bobcats) has assimilated nicely into this group, providing the team with a solid group of young veteran leaders who are on the same page on the court. Core continuity is huge in the NBA, and the Bobcats have it going into the ’08-’09 season.

In other, less objective Bobcats coverage, Bonnell and Sorenson at the Observer sound like they’re doing kegstands with Larry Brown Kool-Aid, while Matt Rochinski at has similarly relentlessly positive, yet indispensable training camp news.