Maybe The Bobcats Know What They’re Doing?



Fans Felt That Allen Iverson Was The Answer.

Coach Larry Brown, Owner Michael Jordan, and GM Rod Higgins just might be smart enough to run an NBA team.

Before the start of the season, almost anyone with a casual awareness of the Charlotte Bobcats had an opinion about the possible addition of Allen Iverson. Days before Iverson signed a contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, steady rumors streamed the possibility that The Answer would reunite with Coach Larry Brown in Charlotte or find a spot with the Heat in Miami.

As the Bobcats headed into their training camp, Charlotte’s local media covered the news to capitalize on the buzz around the first relevant player to ever be associated with the Bobcats. Several sites (like this one) relayed each syllable of news related to the potential signing. Steadily, the predictably Charlottean (risk-averse, investment-minded) reaction toward Iverson’s “attitude problem” was pushed to the side by basketball fans wanting to see a star-caliber player that would entertain them with his on-court merits. While the public opinion may have been swayed, the Bobcats front office wasn’t. Reader polls may have shown that the serious ‘Cats enthusiasts wanted A.I. over team chemistry, but Larry Brown and company seemed to think otherwise.

Best Answer = No Answer

For a few weeks, Coach Brown delivered a consistent and diplomatic response when asked about the potential signing of Iverson, telling reporters that he didn’t think they could give him a respectable offer. Most of us didn’t see it at the time, but Brown was making it clear that the Bobcats were not going to sign Allen Iverson. Perhaps, it was entirely based upon Larry’s past experience coaching Allen in Philadelphia that told him that it wasn’t the right move for his team. Maybe, Rod Higgins and Michael Jordan dialed friends around the league (Detroit or Denver) and learned something that negated any marketing buzz that Iverson would have delivered to Charlotte. Despite the factors that affected their judgement to pass on the NBA’s 6th all-time scorer for a bargain contract, no one could have expected how the year would unravel for Iverson.

Fans from sites like this one, with much generous wisdom to share, would have ordered Bobcats GM Rod Higgins to draw up a contract for Allen Iverson on the first day of free agency. Instead, the team passed on the 34 yr-old shooting guard at the end of the summer. As the season began, Charlotte’s offense looked absolutely horrible. The Bobcats were on pace to become historically inept at scoring. At that early stretch of the season, The Answer seemed to be the obvious piece missing on the team. Quickly, Charlotte saved their season with a brilliant trade for another “difficult” shooting guard in Stephen Jackson, a player that brought the offensive skillset that the team lacked and the defense effort that Larry Brown required.

Disintegration may be a good term to summarize the contrasting situation for Iverson. Just as the talking heads warned, A.I. stepped into the Fedex Forum after signing with the Memphis Grizzlies and rubbed everyone the wrong way. The owner had several one-on-one meetings to discuss the situation and Iverson took a leave from the team nearly a week after the start of the season. Days later we was released, the Memphis marriage was annulled and the Grizzlies seemed improve right away. Briefly, Allen went into a short lived retirement. A good bit of the season passed before Iverson’s agent was able to secure a contract for the nearly untouchable player. Philadelphia brought A.I. back for a homecoming and the fans loved the story of his return. Unfortunately, the Sixers continued to struggle and Iverson performed like half the player he had been before. Injuries and family issues kept him away from the team at the mid-season mark. Although he had been voted in as an All-Star, Iverson declined to play so that he could tend to a family matter (presumably a child’s illness). Surprisingly, Allen had made his way to Charlotte for the CIAA tournament and after-parties rather than family matters during this stretch.  Then, in early March, Iverson left the 76ers and news reports surfaced that his wife had filed for divorce on the same day. Philadelphia Inquirer’s Stephen A. Smith, who is said to be a fan of  The Answer, wrote an article to publicly out Allen’s gambling and alcohol issues a week later.

It’s tough to hear about how the news and private information all went public so quickly, but it’s likely that this was the culmination of a pattern of troubled behavior. It just might be that the guys in charge of running Charlotte’s NBA franchise  had just enough familiarity with Allen Iverson to keep themselves out of harm’s way.


Bobcat’s Jordan Said No To Bringing In Iverson (Yahoo! Sports)

Charlotte Still An Option For Iverson (Summer 2009)

Allen Iverson & Bobcats Team Chemistry

Iverson Needs More Than a Prayer (Stephen A. Smith)

Iverson Going Through Tough Times (Yahoo! Sports)

Wikipedia – Allen Iverson

Bobcats Coast Past 76ers


Charlotte Bobcats vs 76ers, 3/31/10

The Charlotte Bobcats posted an easy win over the Philadelphia 76ers, 103-84, on Wednesday night at the Cable Box.  The Cats improve to 39-35 but remain in seventh place in the East, a game-and-a-half behind Miami, who also won Wednesday night.

AP recap here |  Box score here

After feeling out the Sixers in the first few minutes of the game, the Cats took control, building a double digit lead by early in the second quarter.  The Sixers briefly cut the lead to single digits before the half and again right after, but the Cats dominated the rest of the way.

Gerald Wallace led the Cats with 24 points (8-11 FG, 3-3 alley-oops, 2-3 3PT, 6-10 FT), 12 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.  Tyson Chandler had easily his best game since returning from injury (and probably one of his best games all year, really) with 15 points (4-5 FG, 7-8 FT), 6 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal in 23 minutes off the bench.

The Sixers generally looked like the Bad News Bears.  With Lou Williams, Rodney Carney and Thad Young all out with injuries, and Andre Igoudala reportedly dealing with plantar fasciitis, the Sixers didn’t have much of a shot to begin with.  They settled for jump shots (only 11 FTs compared to the Bobcats 35), turned the ball over an astonishing 25 times (rookie Jrue Holiday accounted for 7) and were probably lucky they didn’t get beat by 30.


  • Bill Simmons called Elton Brand’s contract (4 years, $66 million) the second worst in the league, (behind Gilbert Arenas: 5 years, $96 million), but Brand might vault ahead of Gil soon.  Dude is just dreadful.
  • Had a question from @kimosabe71 on Twitter about Raymond Felton tonight and wanted to expand on it a bit here. Felton is quietly having his best season ever.  A look at his stats shows that he’s sporting a career best 15.4 PER (had been in the 13.5-13.9 range the past three seasons), mostly due to shooting a career best 46% from the field.  That, in turn, is due to better shot selection, which itself is largely due to the presence of an alpha-dog offensive threat in Stephen Jackson.  So what I’m saying is that when Raymond gets a fat contract this offseason, he needs to treat Jack to a steak.  Or a Bentley — whatever NBA players do these days to thank each other.
  • Post-game locker room jibber-jabber.
  • It’s really starting to look like the Cats don’t have much of a chance to catch Miami for the 6th spot.  That’s a shame, because we really would have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs against Atlanta or Boston.  Orlando, not so much.  And don’t even get me started on the inane suggestion that we’d be better off slipping to the 8th spot and facing the Cavs in the first round.  That’s borderline moronic, our flukey 3-1 record against them this regular season notwithstanding.
  • Next game is Friday night at the Cable Box versus the surprising 5th place Milwaukee Bucks, 7 PM ET.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Decimate 76ers For Fourth Straight Victory


Charlotte Bobcats @ 76ers, 3/10/10

The Bobcats took care of business Wednesday night in Philadelphia, soundly defeating the 76ers 102-87.  The Cats are now 32-31 and in 7th place in the East with 19 games left in the season.

AP recap here |  Box score here

After briefly falling behind by a few points in the opening minutes of the game, the Cats got it rolling and went on to score 37 points in the opening quarter.  They dominated the rest of the way, leading by as much as 29 late in the third quarter.  The Cats shot 50% on the game and basically made this one look easy.

Gerald Wallace led the way with a 28 point effort on 9-10 FG and 10-11 FT.  Stephen Jackson had another off night shooting the ball (6-19 FG, 2-7 3PT) but added 10-11 FTs for 24 points overall and added 10 rebounds for a double-double.

The Sixers looked dreadful in turning the ball over 20 times and committing 27 fouls, putting the Cats on the line for 41 free throw attempts.

What A Difference A Week Makes

Just  seven days ago, the Bobcats were coming off a bad loss to the Celtics, their 6th out of 8 at the time.  They had fallen a full game off the 8th playoff spot and their Hollinger projection had fallen down to around a 60% chance of making the playoffs.

Cut to tonight: the Cats have won four in a row, including rousing victories over the Lakers and Heat and tonight’s road win over the Sixers.  The Cats are now in 7th place in the East, only a half-game out of the 6th spot, and hold the tiebreaker over the 8th place Heat.

DJ has his groove back (10 points, 5 assists tonight), Tyson Chandler is looking semi-competent as he works his way back into shape, and Gerald Henderson has broken into the rotation.  If we can get Nazr Mohammed back into the lineup, we could potentially go 9 deep in the playoffs, with Henderson, Stevie Graham and Derrick Brown available for spot minutes in a pinch.


  • As alluded to above, Tyson Chandler had his best game since coming back from his foot/ankle issues.  He scored 12 points on 3-3 FG and 6-9 FT and added 5 rebounds in 15 minutes.  Of course, that was against Sam Dalembert, Elton Brand and Jason Smith, but whatever.
  • Next game is Friday night — the Cats will be hosting the similarly reeling LA Clippers at 7 PM ET.  The Clips have lost 5 in a row, and will be on game 5 of a 6 game road trip.  I’ll be there tweeting live at the Cable Box.

-Dr. E

Bobcats Eke Out Win Against Sixers


Charlotte Bobcats vs 76ers, 12/5/09

A Win Is A Win

The Charlotte Bobcats overcame a 10-point 4th quarter deficit to defeat the Philadelphia 76ers 106-105 on Saturday night at the Cable Box.  AP story here, box score here.  The Cats played uninspired ball for most of the game, allowing Willie Green to go for a season-high 26.  But down the stretch, Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw were able to push the Cats past the shorthanded Sixers.

The Sixers led 99-89 with 5 minutes left, but would only get two field goals and two free throws the rest of the way.  Meanwhile, the Cats turned aggressive and clutch, going 7-8 from the free throw lie and 2-4 from 3PT over the same period.  The last minute of the game was notable for its drama and sloppiness.

With the Cats down 103-102, Stephen Jackson missed a three — Jack had a poor game and an even poorer finish to the game.  On the ensuing Sixers possession Jack completely whiffed trying to guard Igoudala, who was able to get into the lane with a head of steam.  However, the Cats interior D collapsed on Iggy, who lost the handle and gave the Cats the ball back with 24 seconds left.  After a 20 second timeout, the Cats inbounded to Diaw, who spun, drove into the lane and was able to get a pretty easy finger roll to take the lead 104-103 — but with 17 seconds left.

The Sixers took a timeout to set up a play; but they wouldn’t even need it as Stephen Jackson committed an inexplicable reach-in foul of Igoudala in the backcourt.  With the Sixers in the bonus, Igoudala sunk both free throws to retake the lead 105-104 with 13 seconds left.  With no timeouts, Raymond Felton had to freelance a play, which should make any Bobcats fan shudder.

Fortunately, Raymond was on point tonight and it was Sam Dalembert trying to guard him coming around a Diaw high screen. Dalembert committed the mortal sin of neither showing high, nor dropping back to defend the pick.  Felton was able to turn the corner, turn on the jets and get enough separation from Dalembert to get a clean, game-winning layup.

Boris takes player of the game honors with 28 points (10-12 FG, 5-6 3 PT, 3-3 FT), 5 rebs, 2 asst, 2 blocks, and a steal.  Nice to see you again, Boris.  Gerald Wallace continued his torrid rebounding pace with 24/14 and Felton played great with 18 points (6-11 FG, 1-1 3PT, 5-5 FT, 8 asst/2 turnovers and a +15 +/-.  Nazr Mohammed paced the bench with 9/6 on 4-5 FG shooting.


  • Retweet: The Cats gave away Stephen Jackson posters to the first five thousand through the turnstiles tonight.  There are leftover Stephen Jackson posters.
  • DJ Augustin logged his second straight DNP-CD.  He looked pretty bummed on the bench.  This is most unfortunate for DJ personally, but also for Bobcats fans that were hoping to see him take a couple steps forward this season.
  • It is fortunate for Gerald Henderson, who logged 20 minutes — some in crunch time.  He had a highlight reel block and dunk (see highlight reel), but was only 1-5 FG.
  • As mediocre and inconsistent as the 8-11 Bobcats are, they’re currently 7th in the Eastern Conference.
  • The Sports Guy can’t believe Gerald Wallace’s rebound numbers this year.  It’s a combination of things: 1) I believe Wallace has lost a step and some of his hops, and is conscientiously looking for other ways to contribute (good for him), 2) Diaw doesn’t like to rebound (so bourgeois) and Chandler hasn’t been much, 3) the Bobcats play good D, resulting in a lot of defensive rebounding opportunities and 4) the Bobcats play bad offense, leading to a lot of offensive rebound opportunities.
  • Next game is Tuesday night as the Nuggets (Thuggets?) come into town, 7:00 PM ET.

-Dr. E

Sixers Take Care of Business, Send Lowly Bobcats Away in Final Seconds


Charlotte Bobcats @ Philly 11/17/09

This game pretty much makes it official: The Bobcats are Terrible.  Coming into the game at 4-6 with a -5 point differential, the Philadelphia 76ers seemed to be playing at the same pedestrian level as Charlotte but we now know that the true pecking order would have the ‘Cats somewhere firmly beneath mediocre and slightly above The Meadowlands’ Finest.  Sixers win it 86-84 on a Lou Williams fast break layup with 3.1 seconds remaining.  AP recap here.  Box score here.

1. If This is Playing the Game The Right Way, Sign Me Up for The Wrong Way

I’m gonna hand it to fellow Baseline contributor Dr. E.  He was wary of Larry Brown from the start but I stayed optimistic and was hoping that the old man could turn the franchise around.  The Bobcats committed 16 more turnovers in tonight’s game and shot 42.3% from the field.  For those of you scoring at home, that’s 2.3% HIGHER than their season average of 40%, good for 29th in the League.  What if this poor performance isn’t a testament to the quality of the players on the court but, rather, to the antiquated coaching strategy of its leader?  We must face the possibility that the game has passed Larry Brown by and his insistence on “Playing the Game the Right Way” is really code for “Playing the Game the Way a 69-Year Old Man Thinks it Should Be Played.”  The Bobcats are forced into several HORRENDOUS shots simply because Brown demands that they hold the ball for 20 seconds of the shot clock and then force something up with time expiring.  Most players playing in today’s game simply aren’t used to a style of offense such as Brown’s and by passing up good shots with time left on the clock two MAJOR FLAWS in the Strategy reveal themselves:

  1. Players get used to passing up good shots and start intellectualizing their games instead of letting it flow naturally.
  2. The opposing team’s defense can pretty much coast for the first 15 seconds of the shot clock, knowing that Brown will chastise any player bold enough to shoot early.

Coach Brown’s goal is to slow down the game’s pace to prevent the other team from scoring.  It’s like when NFL teams play the Colts.  You know that if Peyton Manning is on the field, chances are that he’s going to put his team into scoring position so you remove him from the equation by keeping Peyton on the sidelines with a grind-it-out running attack on offense.  Tire the defense out during each drive, rinse and repeat.  Pretty basic stuff.  The problem with Larry Brown’s strategy is that the NBA isn’t divided into the ground game and the passing game so by holding onto the ball and grinding out the clock you are basically just constipating all of your players’ offensive (especially the younger players still growing into their games) at the expense of playing SLOW, BORING basketball.  And, ultimately, the only way you can win any game is by scoring points.  Brown seems to have forgotten that.

2. Short Endomorphs Who Can’t Shoot Don’t Make Great PGs

With Tyson Chandler sidelined during the 2nd half with a strained back, the Bobcats went small with Boris Diaw at center and Gerald Wallace at the four.  During most of this time Brown played D.J. Augustin and Raymond Felton in the same backcourt as he did for much of last season.  After Lou Williams beat D.J. on the block for the tenth time and Raymond over-complicated yet another simple pass, I caught a shot of Sixer backup guard Willie Green and it suddenly dawned on me why the Bobcats PG situation is in such disarray.  Green has a very similar body build to Felton: stocky with short arms.  And, like Felton, Willie can’t shoot (he’s a career 41% from the floor).  This is the fatal flaw with Felton and, at least thus far this season, with Augustin.  You can be an undersized PG and be successful in the NBA but you can’t be both undersized and a poor shooter, especially with a short wingspan.  The Bobcats simply can’t afford to have two guys like this on their roster and I would think that it’s A GIVEN that one of them will be TRADED between now and the deadline.  Especially now that the team has Acie Law on the bench who’s both taller and a better shooter.

3. The Stephen Jackson Thing Might Work Out After All

Watching non-Captain Jack hit shot after shot during the Bobcats improbable 4th quarter 14-4 rally reminded me of his value to the team.  No, not as a major cog to build around but rather as a player who could potentially be VERY VALUABLE on the open market around the trade deadline either this year or next.  Jackson can play.  He’s not a clutch-time shot maker (see’s Clutch Player stats, JAX is below Felton on the list.  Ouch.) but going for 26 pts, 5 asts and 5 boards on 9-21 shooting is something that a lot of contending team’s could use at the SF spot come Playoff time.  I could definitely see Jackson shipped out in a deal that brought instant cap relief, draft selections and/or prospects once Larry Brown’s had a few months to re-polish the volatile forward’s image.


Bobcats lose a close one to a team they should beat if they ever want to sniff the Playoffs.  Milwaukee and superstar in the making Brandon Jennings up next on Friday Night.  Hang in there Bobcats fans.