Last night was another of the Charlotte Bobcats’ Buzz City nights. Muggsy Bogues was on hand as the first 10,000 fans got a bobble-head of him. While the Bobcats are without Kemba Walker and Jeff Taylor, the matchup of these 2 teams is always one that is very fun to watch. The introduction of “The Swarm” was apparent as they walked through the crowds outside, chanting Hornets cheers, and handing out Buzz City trinkets. They were also inside, with chants of purple and teal, handing out purple beads, and doing all that they could to fire up the fans. Would that instill some excitement in the home crowd that would cheer the Bobcats on to a victory?
In a word: NOPE.
Games like these are very winnable. The Bulls are not a super strong team, regardless of that 22-21 record. Simply put for a game recap, All Jefferson cannot do it all. This stretch with Kemba being out is showing that in a big way. The Bobcats need more than 2 guys that can be consistent scorers. Kemba is usually the second part of the Bobcats 1-2 punch on offense, and Hendo completes the Tri-Fecta for this team. Unfortunately, Hendo is invisible more often than not. Last night he posted 11 points. Jannero Pargo put up 15. See the problem here? We do not have a consistent scorer in any position other than the center position. This means that if Kemba is out, unless someone gets on a streak, Al will be double teamed, and no one else will be able to score. We are not a good jump shooting team. For the longest time, the Bobcats did not have a scoring option in the paint. We have that now, and we don’t have the shooters and slashers that we need in order to win games. We are in a rebuild mode, and Big Al was a huge piece to add to Kemba.
Final score was 89-87, and that was getting beat that shot 40% to our 42%. It makes you wonder how that can even happen. We even out-rebounded them, 45-41, and we blocked more of their shots, but they stole the ball more, and turned it over less.
I’ve been a huge fan of Hendo for a long time. I loved his ability to get to the basket, his strong defense, and his interaction with the fans. Unfortunately, I can’t keep up the charade any longer. He would be a great 6th man coming off the bench, but he is not what this team needs to get to the next level in the NBA. We are in desperate need of a consistent scorer at the SG spot. This is especially true if we are going to continue to hang with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the SF spot. Scoring needs to come from one of or both spots. I do believe that MKG will eventually become a great defender and a good slasher, but if a team wanted either or both of these guys right now, I wouldn’t be totally against trading them away. I’m just being honest here. Gilchrist missed 3 jumpers last night. 2 long 2-point shots and 1 3-pointer would have felt really good. So good, in fact, that they could have come away with a win. The game is all about runs, and we have no scoring punch that can get things going night after night. Am I giving up on MKG or Hendo? Well, I’m not through with MKG yet, but Hendo, I need consistent 18+ points every night, and I’m not getting it. The fade away jumper on every jump shot just isn’t going to do it.
So what am I suggesting? I really don’t know. I love to have fun with the NBA Trade machine on ESPN’s website, and I really can’t fathom any team looking for any of our players in which we didn’t have to give up part of our solution to fix part of our problems. That’s just a fact. Players that other teams would want would definitely be Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson, and maybe Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Ramon Sessions. The maybe list would have Gerald Henderson on it, and possibly Josh McRoberts and/or Bismack Biyombo. The bottom of the barrel would include the contract of Ben Gordon for cap relief next season (because no one team views him as anything more than an expiring contract). Jannero Pargo, Jeff Adrien, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Brendan Haywood…well…while I love those guys…they would be filler on a trade of the first guys I mentioned. So what do we do? I believe firmly that the safest players on the team are probably Kemba and Al. If they are truly going to make a playoff run, then I would not be shocked in the least if ANY of the other players that I mentioned would be traded by the deadline. Some may be traded even if we aren’t making the playoff push (I’m glancing at Ben Gordon’s contract and Brendan Haywood if you were wondering). More likely is that we will stand pat, and whatever happens will happen. The only problem is that if we do make playoffs, we do not have our own higher draft pick and we are banking on having the Portland pick and the Detroit pick, if they don’t fall into the draft protection area. Playoffs would be great, but drafting a possible superstar SG and having Gerald Henderson as our 6th man would be quite nice as well. Who knows what will happen? I know I don’t. I never seem to know. I’ve guessed that we would draft Vucevic, Thomas Robinson, and Len in the past. I’ve guessed that we would have Gerald Wallace retire as a Bobcat. Obviously, I have not been right…any. We’ll just have to hurry up and wait to see what direction the Bobcats go in next.
One other note I wanted to mention. I was part of “The Swarm” last night. I was cheering and handing out the goodies we had to promote Buzz City, and I had some concerns. While everyone loves to get free stuff, when we were cheering outside, we drew more looks of bewilderment and confusion than we did of excitement and jubilation. I really was a little shocked that more folks weren’t cheering and showing excitement for the team morphing into the Hornets. I guess, from my observation of the number of Derrick Rose jerseys I saw, perhaps we were trying to entertain the wrong fans. I now that during the game, we were loud and proud for the entire game, cheering on the Bobcats until the final buzzer sounded, but I also know that we still have a ways to go before we win over the fans and we get the Hive ALIVE again. I would imagine that winning ways will assist with that. Look for “The Swarm” again on February 8th. Hopefully we can instill more excitement into the Bobcats/Hornets fans, and we’ll see less of the opposing team’s jerseys, and more of the home team’s gear.
In the meantime…
Let’s Go Cats!
Let’s Go Hornets!