2009-10 Charlotte Bobcats Season Preview
Over the past five seasons the Charlotte Bobcats (35- 47) have been amazingly consistent, finishing fourth in their division and out of the playoffs each time. The Cats are coached by NBA coaching legend Larry Brown. Brown certainly understands the game inside-out. Last year, Charlotte won a franchise-best 35 games. That was certainly good. But they were 12 games under .500 and watching the playoffs on TV once again. The team’s fate was sealed early in the season when they got off to a dismal start going 7- 13. After that, they played at an even keel, winning 28 and losing 29. During the season, with Brown apparently pulling the strings, there were numerous roster changes. 24 different players appeared in games. In what was a mix-and-match process, the Cats often used inadequate players. Turnovers for the club were endemic, there was no go-to player and offense and rebounding were both weak.
The most tenacious player on the court for the Cats is small forward Gerald Wallace (16,6 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.7 APG), who led the club in points last season. Wallace, who is an eight-year vet, is a fine inside player who performs at a premium level in each and every game. However, he needs to stay away from the three-point shot, which he hit just 30% of the time. Power forward Boris Diaw (13.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.3 APG) was the club’s MVP last season. He shot 51% from the field and 41% from downtown. Center Tyson Chandler 98.8 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.24 BPG) is a decent defender.
Charlotte drafted Duke’s Gerald Henderson this past year. Although he was more of a forward in college, it looks like he’ll be groomed to be the starting shooting guard for the Cats. Right now that spot goes to big time defender Raja Bell (11.9 PPG, 2.1 APG, 3.6 RPG). The point is manned by Raymond Felton (14.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.7 APG); he’s one of the most competitive, driven, toughest players on the team. The other point man on the team, D.J. Augustin (11.8 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 3.5 APG), put up impressive numbers and played well last year in what was his rookie season.
The best thing that this team has going for it is its defense. Tenacious and studied, the Cat “D” is a product of Coach Brown. On offense, the club is exceptionally weak. It’s projected starting five look to average 91.0 PPG. That’s especially low considering no club last season averaged less than 93.0 PPG.
The Bobcats are up for sale and anyone who has seen the movie Major League or Slapshot knows that something like that can be distracting and unsettling. However, the sale, if it ever happens, could be just what this team needs in terms of having a committed owner. On the basketball court, the Cats will have their problems as center Chandler proves to be an inadequate scorer, the offense overall will be over-taxed and the club’s defense will be stretched out during the long NBA season. Fourth or fifth place in the division and out of the playoffs in the conference standings looks to be in this team’s future.