So, as the game was coming to a close last night, someone made mention via Twitter, that we should have never signed Al Jefferson. They said that now was not the time. We have sucked for this long, so why not continue to suck for one more season knowing full well that the Summer of 2014 would be one of the biggest drafts in a long, LONG time. Now, we all have our opinions of how this team SHOULD be run. We’re all right, right? Well, I’ve been in the arena during amazing wins and embarrassing losses. I’ve had season tickets in the shortened season, which was the worst win % for an NBA team ever. Perhaps my views are biased because I’m tired of losing, but here goes my explanation…
The Bobcats in this Jordan era has seen its own share of highs and lows. There were good and bad draft picks, good and bad trades, and good and bad coaching decisions. Again, these moves are good or bad in the eyes of the fans. I believed Dunlap was the answer, but a short span into the season; I wanted his head on a platter. I was pro-Biyombo. I was also pro-Vucevic, pro-Thomas Robinson, pro-Andre Drummond…see where I’m going here? I’m not always right, and I admit it. I can’t read the organization’s mind as to whom they will draft, but that’s also why I run an independent blog site to educate the fans about the team and to give the team my undying support.
So what’s my point? It’s a simple one. Tankin’ ain’t easy. Really, it isn’t. It should be, but this season, in the East especially, it is far from easy. Did you know that right this minute, at 7:30PM on 01/30/2014, there are exactly 5 teams that have win percentages over .500? That means there are 10 teams that are sub-.500. That also means that 3 sub-.500 teams will make playoffs. Those 3 teams would be Washington, Brooklyn, and Charlotte. The current worst record in the NBA is the Milwaukee Bucks with an 8 – 37 record, followed by Orlando with a 12-35 record. Also worth mentioning is that in the West, there are only 4 teams with a sub .500 record. I won’t bore you with more stats, but if you get a chance, just go look at the NBA standings by Conference. The East is just an utter embarrassment. Cleveland has had top picks for the last few years, and they are still sitting at the 5th worst team in the East. We’d really have to stink up the second half of the season to stoop into the “Lottery Zone”.
Here’s my first issue with the whole tanking idea and the Al Jefferson comment:
Kemba is due to get a qualifying offer in the 2015-2016 season. Have you seen the news today? Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland. Why? They keep sucking, no matter what pieces they add. What else can they do? Kyrie and Tristan Thompson joined the team in 2011 on #1 and #4 picks. In 2012, Dion Waiters joined the team in a #4 pick. This year, Anthony Bennett was added with yet another #1 pick. 2 - #1 picks in a 2-year span and 2-#4 picks…and they still suck. Why is the draft not working for them? They have had 4 picks in the top 4 in the past 3 years. Do we fully blame the “weak” draft years? They had top picks. What about trades and free agents? Could they have moved one or 2 picks to add a vet presence? Possibly. I have this thought that is there is such a thing as too much youth. All I know is that if we didn’t start winning, that could have become Kemba in the 2015-16 season, and could have been Gerald Henderson, Josh McRoberts, and others at the end of last season. Instead Al Jefferson was drafted to show that we are serious about winning. We had the worst record ever, and we still wound up with the #2 pick, which helped us to miss out on Anthony Davis, the last “sure thing” in a draft.
This brings me to my next point:
How many young guys do we need? In our same short span of 3 years, we have added Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffery Taylor, and Cody Zeller. In that same span, we have posted records of: 7 – 59, 21 – 61, and currently 20 – 27. We are getting better. Over the course of rebuilding, we are actually getting better. We aren’t doing it completely through the draft either. Have we drafted poorly? Hindsight is 20/20; so don’t judge the picks off of what we know now about other players in that same draft. I could build a great team through the draft if I had a crystal ball and a time traveling car of some sort. I believe that we have added youth, and added youth, and now we don’t need any more youth. At some point, there has to be a veteran presence to steer the young guys in the right direction. Al Jefferson is proving to be a great addition. I was skeptical of the addition, but I’m not a GM, and now, with 21 straight games with 20+ points, and double double after double double, I get exactly why he’s here. Even in last night’s game, the second game in a row where MKG fouled a 3-point shooter, creating the opportunity for a 4-point play, you immediately see Al going to the young guy, telling him what he has got to NOT do in those situations. Al was a great mentor to Kanter and Milsap in Utah, and now he can be a great mentor to Biz and Zeller.
So we signed Al too soon. In my mind, I sometimes wonder what this team would have looked like without adding him. I could see no more Gerald Henderson. I could have also seen Byron Mullens still being in Charlotte because our centers would have been Biz and Haywood, with Biz not being ready just yet and Haywood being injured up to the all-star break. Could we have attracted another free agent SG? Would we have grabbed a different Center? Again, no crystal ball or time machine, so I can’t say what would have happened. All I know is that sometimes lightning strikes or strikes twice and you get lucky in the draft. It happened with the Charlotte Hornets version 1.0 when we drafted Larry Johnson, and then were able to draft Alonzo Mourning the next year. I thought it was going to happen with Kyrie and Tristan in Cleveland, but I was wrong. I can’t even say that they are 1 piece away from really running away with the East. I can say that we are 1-2 pieces away from being really good.
Why can I say that about our team? We are improving. We hit rock bottom, and we are now battling our way out of the cellar. This is the 3rd year of improved play and an improved roster. We have seen bad contracts fall by the wayside, and a salary level that has us positioned to make more moves in signing needed pieces to continue to get better. I get that this is supposed to be the biggest draft in a long time, but I also here where there are a few of those top guys who may just stay in college. What if they do? What if they decide that it would be better to stay another year in school, get even better and make themselves a lock for a higher pick position next year. It could very well happen. Imagine if Jeffery Taylor hadn’t ruptured his Achilles tendon. He was really coming into his own. He was improving so much, in fact, that I could have seen him taking the starting SG job from Henderson. A versatile 6’7” SG/SF that could shoot the ball, slash to the basket, and play shutdown defense. Instead, Taylor’s hurt and out for the season, Hendo gives us north of 20 points every 8th game, and aside from Big Al and Kemba, no one can score the basketball. A healed Taylor next season will most likely be a key piece to make Gerald Henderson a 6th man on this team…or another team.
Rumors are out today that say that we will be “buyers” at the trade deadline. That means that we will be looking to add more talent to make that playoff push. Making the playoffs gives our pick this year to the Bulls, and we would only have the Portland pick late in the 1st round, and possibly Detroit’s. I believe this is just the beginning of Charlotte Basketball becoming a legitimate player in the playoff race.
I guess this hasn’t been so much as a straight up list of reasons as to why not to tank so much as just what goes on in my mind when someone says we should tank. I get that this draft is deep, but folks make it sound like a sure thing that if we tank, we’d get a top 3 player that will be a perennial superstar that will propel us into multiple championships. They also act like it is a guarantee that all these “future stars” will definitely be in the draft. Lastly, they act like this is the last time this will EVER happen. We just are not in a spot to take on even more youth. We need young vets that can score, and just need a shot to prove themselves on a new team. I like the draft, but after missing out on Anthony Davis, I just don’t care about it anymore. I think it is a secretive, unfair setup that can easily be manipulated behind closed doors so that the team the NBA wants to have the #1 pick can have the #1 pick. Cleveland got it when LeBron left them. New Orleans got it when the team was finally sold off of the NBA’s books, like a free gift for purchasing the team from them, and this past year, Cleveland got another #1 pick, like it was given another shot at getting a replacement for LeBron, to go with Kyrie. Call me a conspiracy theorist, but I remember when the lotto balls were drawn on live TV. I believed that the lottery was a true lottery, and the worst team had the best chance at winning. When it went behind closed doors, I lost the faith. Let me throw this one out there though…what if this is Charlotte’s year. What if our reward for taking back the Hornets name is to be granted the glory of going from the projected #10 pick to getting the #1 pick. Adam Silver did receive a “Bring Back the Buzz” sticker when he was in Charlotte. Foreshadowing? Who knows? All it takes is for us to have been beaten by a team that has the same record as ours, but they beat us more than we beat them, and we’re back in the lottery again, then the closed doors can work their magic.
I would like to share some dialogue that went on earlier this evening by some avid Trade Street Post followers. They shared their perspectives on our Facebook wall, and I’d like to share it here. Hopefully this article, and their discussion will spark more discussion on tanking, the draft, the players, and everything else related to the NBA and the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets:
From Facebook –
Trade Street Post:
There will be a game recap posted this evening...also...from some of the rants last night on twitter...again...I have an article brewing on the whole To Tank, or not to tank.
A few nerves were struck last night, and I can't let it go...so I will be sharing MY perspective.
^ Damn it, that's what I've been working on! Maybe we should put our heads together...
Trade Street Post:
We can...I'll write mine and you write yours and I can turn it into a point/counterpoint...but it will most likely be a point/point article. I can make it work either way.
I really don't get how the team could tank without killing themselves in the long run. We'd probably need to get rid of a good player to do it.
Trade Street Post:
I agree...there would be no way to tank without being blatantly being obvious...and so many think that it would be completely easy to do so. The East is just that bad...
^ Agreed. However, if we make the playoffs we surrender our first round pick to Chicago. We aren't winning the East, so.... do we *really* want to make the playoffs?!
T.C. Brown: I think that's a losing mentality. I can't think of many teams that brush off the playoffs just because you have no chance of winning. Getting there is the first step. We will need to take our lumps one way or another.
And as long as that stupid lottery system exists, there are no guarantees of a good draft pick
Exactly. I mean, all things considered, let's be real. We've made the tournament one time in our history. I think it's comical some are willing to tank super hard to avoid it like we are already stuck in that Hawks/Bucks phase of being there but never getting over the hump. No part of me believes that the benefits reaped from having our core experience the playoffs is outweighed by the impact another drafted player will bring us. Not unless it's a top 5 pick. And even with that, honestly the talent in this draft has been over hyped from day one. Not to mention that several guys near the top are still on the ropes on whether they should declare or not. We made our decision to win the day we signed Al Jefferson. No reason at all to go back on it now.
I can provide a counterpoint if you'd like
Cho's plan was to build through the draft and free agency. Can we build through the draft with ZERO picks in what most are calling the deepest draft in history? And while getting to the playoffs is a GREAT moral victory for a young up-and-coming team, doesn't it hurt the team in the long run more than it helps?
Look, I'm not saying we should tank. I'm just playing devil's advocate here. In fact, I spent HOURS debating with 2 friends of mine here on FB on why we should NOT Tank and try to make the playoffs. There are plenty of good arguments on both sides, though...
We have picks from Portland and possibly one from Detroit. We wont have 0 picks. We plucked a 20-10 big man from free agency that it will take years for anyone in the draft to reach if they ever are at all. I think having homegrown talent is overrated. We already have 5 players 25 and under whom we are counting on for the future. Constantly infusing the roster with more youth from high draft picks can end up hurting your cap too, especially with players like Kemba needing to be extended soon. We need to put a team of players together that fit rather than worrying about a "star" and building around them. That really guarantees you nothing in the end. Look at superstar Melo in New York. Superstar Kyrie in Cleveland. Sub par teams still. You don't mess with chemistry in the NBA. You don't need high picks to win, you need chemistry. Look at the Pacers. Contenders but not full of high picks. There are other ways of building rather than tanking.
Trade Street Post:
Hey guys...I wish I had this commentary on the website...and in a way, I will. I'm going to put this all into an article on the site and hope for more discussion there and here
Trade Street Post: I'm going to list all you guys as authors
It's all good Lail.
Both those picks (Portland and Detroit) are protected. Right now we would get Portland's but it would be at the back end of the draft and Detroit's remains to be seen as they are behind us. There pick is protected from the top 8, so as of right now we'd get it, but that doesn't mean anything. The advocates for tanking DO have a case. While I don't personally agree with them, a large chunk of the best teams in the league were built by drafting stars after terrible years. While I personally believe that Kemba and Jefferson, combined with this season's success and the re-brand buzz, will help attract bigger name free agents, it's hard to argue with someone who wants to see us draft Parker or Wiggins knowing full well it will take an act of God for us to make it past the first round of the playoffs. The reason it's such a good debate is that both sides have merit and both formulas have proven to work in the NBA. The problem with the logic TC and I seem to share is that more teams have risen to the top by sucking/tanking than have through long rebuilding projects.
And I will gladly continue this debate on the site and invite Joshua Justin Leonard and Doug Cross to chime in since the three of us had a lively debate about it a month or so ago.
I hate the Tank idea. It’s a deep draft. Great, lets get a good pick deep in the draft! Play to win! End of story. Do as much as you can with what you have, anything less does not deserve my fanaticism.
And finally, the effects of tanking (Especially with a young team, rebranding, and new/returning fans). And my apologies, I spent hours and hours on this the first time around, so copy and paste was the most efficient way to go. Now all you debaters can have some good reading, and I can look forward to some interesting feedback :)
-Not to mention the effect tanking has on players, coaches, and fans. You're essentially telling all your players that will be here next year, they're not good enough. You're telling your coach, he's not good enough. And you're telling your fans that A. you're not good enough to win and B. we care so little about you we're going to give up 10 games into an 82 game season but please still come to the games and buy all of our shit before you have to buy it all again next year when it's Hornets stuff again. This would be absolutely the worst year for the Bobcats to tank. Talent available at the top of the draft aside, cultivate the talent you have, continue to make money and have fans at the games, continue to sell merchandise, then in your rebranding next year, land the biggest, best FA you can under the premise of "Look what we've done in the last year after finishing as the worst team, we've got talent, we've got a good coach, we've got good fans, we've got the supporting cast all in place for you, we're your best fit and you'd put us over the top. You want to be an icon? Be the face of triumphant basketball in Charlotte. Be the guy that comes in to complete the puzzle. Elevate yourself to not just being good, but being great".
-Joshua, I get you're enamored with the projected top 3 players in this draft class. I get that you want the Bobcats turning into the Hornets to be a dynasty. But dynasties don't happen overnight, they take more than 1 year to build. It takes coaching, drafting, and FA acquisitions to come together in blissful harmony. The first year of the Miami big 3 they didn't win it all. But they had the hype to fill the seats and sell the product, they showed the fans they were giving maximum effort since after Shaq left they weren't very good. They showed the other players on the roster that they were good enough to be a part of this, they put faith in their coach. They won, but they didn't win it all, they came back hungrier. The Patriots dynasty didn't start until Bledsoe got hurt and Brady came in and The Hoodie got a chance to showcase his coaching abilities after not doing so hot in his career up to that point. The rest is history. It's easier to coach with better players, sure. It's not easy to cultivate a fanbase when all you do is lose lose lose no matter what because of incoming draft class hype.
Winning breeds more winning. Even superstars don't know how to win on the NBA level upon entry (See Lebron, Kobe, Garnett, and every other high profile highschool to NBA players first year or few) Lebron was bigger, faster, and stronger than everybody the day he set foot onto an NBA court for the first time, still is, it's why he can guard 1-5 unless 1 is way faster with a quick release or 5 is bigger and stronger than him. So why didn't he win the Championship every year? Why was it for years in clutch situations he'd pass it off to someone else? It's the glare of the lights, the cameras, the expectations, the pressure. Losing breeds doubt, fear, assumption of more losing. Winning breeds confidence, courage, assumption of more winning. Winning and then losing builds hunger. Losing on purpose doesn't build anything in the vast majority of cases. Losing on purpose is worse than losing because you're not good enough to win yet. At least if you keep fighting you hold yourself to the standard and belief of "I can get better, I will get better". When you lose on purpose psychologically it is programmed into you, especially if you're a younger player that "I'm not good enough, and coach is having us lose on purpose because I won't be". Much in the same way all the ability David Carr once has was literally sacked out of him in Houston. You can only take so many hits, physically or mentally, before your confidence wanes, and your talent follows quickly. In professional sports, everyone is confident, macho, wants to not only win, but dominate, it's the driving force of greatness. Greatness is earned, not given. It's been given to people who weren't ready for it, and it was eventually earned, and it was not given to people who eventually earned it, but it's always earned. Expectations can crush a players psyche, so can tanking with youth and a new coach in a new old market you're trying to rebuild. My whole point with going through all those old draft positions was that talent is 1 thing, greatness is another. You can get a raw player late and groom him with proper training into a superstar. You can get a player who is 1 or 2 skills away from developing into an all time great player. A top 3 pick does not always guarantee a superstar, it does increase the odds but it is not guaranteed, and going from worst in NBA history to a playoff team in 1 year, even if it's the 8th seed and you're bounced in the 1st round, would build irreplaceable confidence in your young players, your coach, your fans, and the entire organization. Young players would become leaders, would buy into the coach and so would the fans, it would validate the moves ownership has made, it would do nothing but build. Going from terrible to mediocre as you call it in 1 year is still a HELL of a leap. The Cheifs were AWFUL last year, they got a great coach, had a good draft, and got a very NOT superstar QB but one who could manage the ball, take care of it, and rely on his coach and team to put him in the position to succeed. Doubt the Bobcats make the leap that the Cheifs did, but Alex Smith and Andy Reid were cast out of places where they had been successful, had chips on their shoulders from winning but not winning enough, and losing their previous positions. Their next chance they would make the most of, and that's what giving full effort does. If you're not good enough today, you practice harder tomorrow, you study more, you shoot extra jumpers before and after practice, you become hungry to prove the doubters wrong. When you're coached into losing it does mental damage to the athlete mentality. You're a paid professional player being told to lose because you're not good enough. Imagine that in your life or at your job, if you take pride in your job and do your job well, then 1 day your boss tells you that you have to start doing stuff wrong so we can get this really awesome transfer from another location that we MUST HAVE if we're going to be the best location. Think about how that would impact your work ethic going forward, your pride in your work, how you'd even feel about going to work, or saying where you work or what you do. And yes, it IS that deep, that's why coaching professional athletes isn't for pussies, it requires a relative degree of genius.
(Part 2 of Snippet)
-My point is you don't have to have a SUPERSTAR to win an NBA title. The Pacers didn't have a superstar last year and took the Heat to game 7. If you build a team full of almost superstars, you have no weakness and are impossible to stop. There are plenty of teams with more than 1 SUPERSTAR that don't sniff the conference championship. Individual talent isn't enough, combined talent + coaching = championship. Good GMing + combined talent + coaching = multiple championships
-Marc Gasol, last years defensive player of the year, went #48 in 2007, 2nd round. Superstar? Maybe maybe not. But if you put a PG who can distribute and score up top, 2 wing players who can shoot, and a PF who could do nothing but rebound for all I care you're looking at a team you don't want to play all built around a guy taken 48 out of 60. Just sayin, jems exist.
-Rajon Rondo went 21 in 2006. Pair him with Millsap who went 47. Pair them with 2007 Gasol. Would it matter if you had double Gerald Henderson on the wings?
-Monta Ellis went 40 in 2005. Gortat went 57. Lou Williams went 45. David Lee went 30. CJ Miles went 34, Ilyasova went 35. So Lou at PG, Ellis at SG, Gortat at C, Lee at PF, CJ or Ilyasova at SF with the other coming off your bench as a 6th man. All 30th or later, in 1 draft. You start with Kemba as your young star, you have AJeff in the middle, if you can pull a gem or 2 out of 2 drafts, all you're missing is a big name FA and if you're a big name FA of the position needed on that team, why would you NOT want to go to a mostly young team, who finished in the middle of the east, knowing you could put them from 5 to 1. Just saying, it's entirely possible.
-Ainge got maximum return on investment from when he traded for Garnett and Allen. The Spurs shouldn't blow it up yet. Yes, Duncan is old, that's why he'll be rested for the playoffs. Parker is really good. Ginobli is a great 6th man. Green and Leonard are growing. It's been on Duncan to carry the team, now it's on Parker. Good team > Great individuals. And coaching seems to be something you're paying no attention to. Not all stars are drafted, some are grown, refined, developed. Very few just get drafted and walk into the NBA playing with Men instead of boys they're bigger than and just go beast mode. A good reference is Michael Beasley.
-And I don't think the heat will 3 peat. DWade is still made of glass. Chris Bosh still regrets cutting off his predator dreadlocks because once he lost all that intimidation factor is became evident that he's just not that good. It's all on Lebron, and while you can't stop Lebron, you can slow him down. If I had to pick 1 person to defend Lebron, it would be Paul George. Bosh doesn't want none of Hibbert on offense or defense. Stephenson won't shut wade down or anything, but he'll run him in circles until his old knees and ankles fall off in another 7 game series. Then when it comes to the benches of the 2 teams, you're looking at something like an A- rating vs a D+ rating. And Lebron is already thinking about leaving Miami, does that not seem remotely suspicious to you? Like his heart isn't in it, or he doesn't believe in Wade and Bosh like when he decided to go there and took the smallest contract of the 3 while Bosh took the largest? Hmmmmm
Other Snippets on rebuilding, rebranding, dynasties, age vs youth vs mixture, talent vs chemistry, drafting and DEEP DRAFTS and coaching WELL:
-And Tommy I like how you included the Pacers in the 4 teams everyone should just roll over to. They became great last year when good picks, coaching, and team chemistry came together in glorious fashion. Weren't they the 8 seed? Didn't they almost beat Miami in the Conference Finals? They're better this year, they're deeper this year, and this is the 1st year people have respected them coming into the season. The turnaround can be dramatic and rapid. It doesn't take Lebron James, Kevin Durant to do it. Sometimes it just takes an incredibly underrated Paul George, who went undrafted in every keeper league last or was drafted REALLY late and was a top notch #1 keeper unless you had Love, Durant, or Lebron.
-Yup, and the same way the Wizards are *trying* to. You don't have to come into the league labeled as a star, to become a star. And coming into the league labeled as a star, doesn't mean you're going to become 1. I remember Oden was the unquestioned 1st pick because he was a 7 footer in a time of fading big men, and Kevin Durant couldn't do 1 bench rep at the combine. Poor Portland, they're like the Cubs of the NBA.
-2010 NBA Draft: 1. John Wall, 2. Evan Turner, 3. Derrick Favors, 4. Wesley Johnson, 5. Demarcus Cousins, 6. Ekpe Udoh, 7. Greg Monroe, 8. Al-Faroq Aminu, 9. Gordon Heyward, 10. PAUL MFING GEORGE, then in the 2nd round they got Lance Stephenson, who was a constant on most of my teams last year but wasn't great enough to not be drop eligible at times when he wasn't playing enough games. But tell me everyone in that draft perhaps including even the Wizards second guess themselves in that draft. Definitely #2, 4, 6, and 8 for certain, but even 5, 7, and 9 aren't as good as PG.
-In 2009 Jrue Holiday went 17, Ty Lawson 18, Jeff Teague 19, Taj Gibson 26, DeJuan Blair 37 (Been a lot better without Duncan in front of him), and Danny Green went 46.
-In 2008 Westbrook went 4, Love went 5. Ryan Anderson went 21, Ibaka went 24, Batum went 25. Dragic went in the 2nd round, he was good enough for them to jettison Nash. Pekovic went 31, DeAndre Jordan 35, Asik 36.
(Continued, this post was too long)
And my second:
The only "Lock" I've ever seen is Lebron, and maybe it'll be Andrew Luck too but give it 5 years and see. And while Lebron was a lock, he wasn't God like he was expected to be, he didn't take every final shot and win every game he could have and he was so talented his cheap ass owner didn't feel the need to surround him with MORE TALENT. Otherwise he never would have left. He was a lock, but he didn't meet expectations, because they were impossibly high. This is, in essence, the problem with tanking now on pure speculation of what a "lock" will do for you. And with the draft lottery even if you're the worst team you don't always get the best pick. The year the Wizards got John Wall they had the lowest odds of getting #1, but they did get it, and they got John Wall. I don't follow basketball enough to really say, but I've seen plenty of football "Locks" turn into absolute nothing. Tim Couch, JaMarcus Russell, Vince Young, the 3 Lions WRs taken before Megatron, that SD QB who's in jail for the 3rd time or whatever for being a drug addict and breaking into people's houses, Mark "The Next Emmitt Smith!" Ingram. Then you have people like Reggie Bush who flounder miserably then recover to an extent, or Josh Hamilton going #1 overall then turning into a crackhead and disappearing for a while only to show the "lock" talent years later on another team. Then there's your Sam Bowie over Jordan, your Greg Oden over Kevin Durant, your Jamarcus Russell over Calvin Johnson and Adrian Peterson, hell add Joe Thomas, Gaines Adams, Levi Brown, and LaRon Landry over Adrian Peterson (Stupid, stupid Redskins...), 22 people being drafted before AARON RODGERS, including Alex Smith #1 and guys like Ronnie Brown, Braylon Edwards, Cedric Benson, Cadillac Williams, PacMan Jones, and Troy Williamson going in the top 7. Nothing is more valuable for any sports franchise than "Winning now". Sure, the tank for a better pick things works SOMETIMES, but so does the undrafted FA turning into Tony Romo or Arian Foster, or the last QB taken turning into Tom Brady, or Mr. Irrelevant turning into Marques Colston, or torn elbow, done and washed up San Diego Charger Drew Brees turning into New Orleans Saints Drew Brees. If you can win now, you do. Remember when Matt Leinhart and Jake Locker were the consensus #1 overall picks, but they went back to school instead. Sure, it's easier to excel in the NBA off individual talent, it's way more of an individual sport than the NFL, but the lock ends up not being a lock MUCH more often than not, especially in this age of endless social media coverage and a never ending hype machine. Trust the coach/GM to find the talent, don't sacrifice wins now on pure speculation of what might happen, because you're almost always going to be wrong.
I'll just start with posting my 1st giant post of the November 16th conversation that lasted about 3 hours:
The main point you're missing here Joshua is growth of the Franchise. The SuperSonics drafted Kevin Durant, and still lost the team to OKC because the Franchise wasn't growing, they hit big time on a lottery pick but it was too late, they had sucked too long. At the beginning of last year (or 2 years ago? Not sure) Jordan came out with buy 1 years season tickets, get next years season tickets FREE. I've never seen or heard of that in any professional sport (Though I could easily be wrong, but I'm talking NBA NFL MLB, Hockey may do this all the time which may be the only reason people pay attention after like 50 strikes/lockouts). Charlotte lost a basketball team once, fought long and hard to get an NBA Franchise again, it was owned by Michael Fucking Jordan this time, and he made such poor decisions (Like Dan Snyder when he first bought the Redskins bad) that people weren't going to games, or even watching them on TV, much less buying merchandise. You don't profit off parking and concessions if no one is at the game. Jordan has plenty of money, but Jordan could go broke running an NBA franchise into the ground with his own 2 hands. Drafting Kemba created a little excitement. The buy 1 get 1 free season tickets got people coming to games, people will buy half priced anything even if it's a bad product, ITS ON SALE!!!!! Even if Jefferson isn't top 10 great, it creates buzz and gets butts in the seats, shows the fans the team is either improving or trying to improve which gets them to buy in mentally and emotionally to the team, which is the single most important thing to have if you own a team, resigning Henderson even though maybe they shouldn't have keeps a guy on the team who knows the scheme, shows prospective future free agents that the team will invest in you even if you're not a star if you play hard and do the right things. When you're building a brand you can just suck every year and say "Maybe next year!". That only works if you're established with a fanbase that will go to games no matter what (Redskins, Cubs, RedSox for a long time, Steelers, Celtics, Lakers etc...but there aren't many that can just suck forever, Charlotte was an expansion team, no history means no fond childhood memories to make you still love the team that sucks donkey dicks and has an owner who has no idea what he's doing) and if you tank 1 year too many, take 1 too many steps back, you might never GET to take that step forward. Jordan learned what Snyder did (And it took less time) that you can't just throw money around and win (Unless you're the George Steinbrenner Yankees) . What a FA did on another team doesn't mean they'll do it on your team when they're fat and happy with a big contract, a different coach, a different system, living in a different place, things that change in your family by uprooting them to a new town and other things you'll never hear or think about when someone signs a big FA deal. What if you're married and your wife HATES the new place you are, home becomes a place of chaos and you don't get the rest you need, you're mentally taxed at all waking hours. What if you have kids and they start doing poorly in their new school, or get bullied, external forces pushing on you at all times reducing the amount of new information you can take in, slowing your progress in the new system, mental stressors turn into physical injury, you underperform for an owner that highly coveted your talents, the fans don't know or care about anything other than you're losing and the guy running the show is an idiot, you don't buy in. You need a GM who finds talent, no matter where your draft pick is, can find role players that aren't the highest profile free agents to maximize the talents that you do have, the system that you do run, coachable players who buy in will always be better than talented players who are rooted in their old way of doing things. You need to trust your GM, your scouts, swallow your pride a little bit and know just because you own the team and make the final call, doesn't mean you know what the best call is. Just because you're maybe the best basketball player that ever lived, doesn't mean you're fit to be a talent evaluator. Jordan wasn't the 1st pick, he was the 3rd pick. Sure, Hakeem went #1, hall of famer, ok that's fine, but he wasn't Jordan. Sam Bowie went before Jordan, how do you think the guy who pulled that trigger in 1984 has slept since then? I completely understand your philosophy of tanking for a year, MAYBE 2, but it either has to be extremely LUCKy timing like the Colts (Luckiest team in sports history if you ask me), or you have to be established enough that your fans know tanking this year is to be better next year, and they'll still come to the games and support the team because they have enough pride in their team they want to be able to say "Yeah, I was a season ticket holder way before we were good and Nationally followed" or "Yeah, I've been here since day 1, and even when we were awful I was still here" or "I never gave up on the team even when they were terrible, so now that we're good all you people jumping on the bandwagon don't get 10% of the feeling from supporting the team that I do because I was here the whole time".
@WebPresenceJedi : we also have Portland's pick.
I was, and obviously still am, a big fan of the Jefferson signing. He was my #1 free agent target. I was NOT happy with the Zeller pick until we signed Jefferson in fact. The fact that he can serve as a mentor to the young guys is worth the extra cash we had to hand him to come here in the first place. I've been saying #InChoWeTrust since he first arrived in Charlotte, but he HAS had some missteps. And while Parker or Wiggins might be the next Durant our team is not bad enough to land one of those guys. We have quite the opposite problem, albeit a good problem to have: we are stuck in NBA limbo. We are good enough to make the playoffs and place out of the lottery but we aren't good enough to win the East, much less get out of the first round. All that being said, I still believe in sticking to the plan and building through the draft and free agency. Another year with Clifford at the helm, and thus another year of stability for a change, another strong draft and free agency period and the rebrand buzz helping ticket sales all has Charlotte's arrow pointing up. I totally understand why some would favor tanking, but I don't think you can ask our players, most of whom are tasting success with this team for the first time, to throw in the towel in the hopes that a 19 year old freshman can come in next year and lead us to the promise land.
@tradestreetpost it really doesn't matter though. we're picking with Detroit's pick anyway.
@raverain Amen! #InChoITrust