And so it begins...
Jordan sucks! What's he doing? Why didn't we break the bank and get Nene? Why don't we get Chris Paul? Why haven't we won a championship? These are all illogical questions with logical answers. Why, you ask? Because this is the NBA and things don't always work out as planned, ask the Miami Heat. If you think sitting through a bunch of losing seasons for the fledgling NBA team in this city was over and that'd the Charlotte Bobcats had turned the corner; you're only partially right...and wrong. More after the tip featuring vet minimum center #1!
There's perception and there's reality. The perception is that is was bad and now it's worse. The reality is it was bad, it's currently worse, but it's getting better! We have young, high ceiling players to build around, and we have expiring contracts coming off the books in successive years. What does this all mean, and WHY DON'T WE HAVE LEBRON JAMES?!? Answer is pretty simple, we aren't going to be winning for a minute, but we're going to be a heck of a lot more fun to watch! Rich Cho is a master drafter, and works a lot of different angles. He built Seattle/OKC out of the rubble that was left when Shawn Kemp and Gary Payton had made their way out. What did it look like when Cho made his major moves to get the team in place where it is now? He filled the team with young, upside talent, and loaded them up with draft picks. What does a team full of young upside talent do? They lose, and lose like crazy, but they sure are fun to watch. Then what happens after a few seasons of losing? They WIN, and they win BIG TIME. Then, with the proper contract management, they win for a loooong time. Am I saying that the Bobcats will win a championship and dominate the league? No, I'm saying we have the potential to be a playoff team that contends for years to come. Obviously, there are a lot of factors involved and things need to happen in a big way for us. Drafting REAL talent is step one, and we'll see how step one worked out this season. The next step is coaching that talent to play like a team. Once this young talent starts playing like a team and gets to scrappy wins level you've got something. Step three is the playoffs, this one gets tricky. I'm not talking 7 or 8 seed. I'm talking 5, 4, and 3 seeds. I'm talking real movement and shocking the league. This is where OKC is right now. It's taken them years to get there. Even with Kevin Durant they had multiple seasons of less than 30 wins. People have to understand that these things take time, and we're in YEAR ONE.
How are we in year one? We've been a team since '04 WHAT GIVES?!? This is not the Bob Johnson Charlotte Bobcats; this is the Michael Jordan Charlotte Bobcats. This is not a Sam Vincent coached team; this is a Paul Silas coached team. This isn't Jeff McGinnis, Adam Morrison, and Walter Herrman. This is Gerald Henderson, Kemba Walker, and Tyrus Thomas. We're in year one and we have a real, actual foundation. With the new CBA in place, in two years we're going to have an actual competitive edge! Why two years? Multiple reasons that include; the "harder" luxury tax doesn't hit until then and means that huge contracts will run amok until then; our younger players will be experienced and vets will be coming in; Michael Jordan will have a better handle on the team. Am I saying that it's going to be two years before we see progress? No, we're going to see nominal progress throughout, and that's where places like Trade Street Post come in. It's our job as bloggers and as fans to communicate (in layman's terms and not bloated NBA Owner-to-fan speak) what progress the team is making that might not be so obvious to the untrained eye.
Free agents, we don't have them, WHY?!? First, we simply cannot afford to over pay anyone else on this team. The strategy behind the large contracts on our team is a smart one. No big free agent sees Charlotte as an attractive destination, but a traded player will see it as a fresh start. Take Jack, for example, on Golden State he was a bloated contract player with serious problems. On the Bobcats, he was a team leader in stats and in the locker-room. He helped lead this team to it's first ever playoffs! The mentality is that we have tradable assets in place to get seasoned vets as time goes on to compliment our young, budding talent. This year we have Diaw and Najera. Will we do anything with these contracts? That's a big MAYBE. We're in year one, the biggest thing is shedding money and getting young talent, right? Yes it is, and how do you get young talent? You suck. This year might end up being the sacrificial lamb that we need to get that marquee player that the Bobcats need. It could be Anthony Davis, it could be Jeremy Lamb, or it could be Harrison Barnes (these are all hypothetical of course). How do we get them? We get a lottery pick.
This all being said, it's OK EVERYBODY! It's not nearly as bad as it seems. We've got some good guys at the helm. I know that not a lot of us have a very good opinion of Jordan as an evaluator of talent, but that is exactly why he hired Rich Cho. Rich Cho knows talent, and knows how to sign and draft talent. Jordan knows, after a number of mistakes, that he needs a hand in getting where he wants to go. Give the team time, and you as fans will be rewarded. The problem about rebuilding this way (the right way and not the stop-gap way) is that it takes a bit of time and has to have the precise person behind the helm. I am fully aware that I have used Rich Cho's name a million times in this article. The purpose is to get you all acclimated to the idea that we have a very trust worthy, and knowledgeable GM. While this takes a while to fully execute, he already has a foundation better than what he had in Seattle when he started plugging away at the woodwork (remember Eric Snow and Desmond Mason? lol). Give it some time, sit back, relax, and enjoy the show. This Bobcats team is going to be fun to watch and we as fans should be excited to get to grow along with it!