It sounds simple: Determine the best 15 among the Charlotte Bobcats, cut the rest and start game-planning for the opener.
Bobcats coach-general manager Bernie Bickerstaff wants it that simple.
"I would like to hope we have the ability to be objective and just keep the best 15," Bickerstaff said.
It's not that simple. This is a bake-off between players at different positions with different skill sets. Some are owed more guaranteed money than others. Some have been here longer than others.
The Bobcats have 18 candidates for 15 regular-season roster spots. Sixteen of those players are owed guaranteed money. If you assume the two remaining players with unguaranteed deals (Will Conroy and Donta Smith) get cut, that still leaves you wondering who is 16th among 15.
Cut Kevin Burleson, and you have no third point guard. Cut Walter Herrmann, and you'll wonder if you gave up before he figured out the NBA. Cut Bernard Robinson, and you lose a pure athlete.
"It's a dilemma," Bickerstaff said Friday, before the Bobcats lost an exhibition to the Milwaukee Bucks. "We've got to be patient. Let enough play out" to make an informed choice.
Burleson hurt his case Friday, shooting 0-of-3 from the field and committing five fouls and two turnovers in 11 minutes.
Ideally, Bickerstaff would keep three point guards. The position is highly specialized, and veteran Brevin Knight gets hurt a lot (he's out two weeks with an ankle sprain.)
Still, Bickerstaff said it's conceivable he'd cut Burleson to keep a better alternative at another position.
You can just about guarantee Bickerstaff won't cut one of the seven big men to get to 15 players. Like athletic linemen in football, you can never have too many bigs in basketball. Rookie center Ryan Hollins is already a lock to make the team, based on his potential to protect the basket.
That leaves the wing position -- shooting guards and small forwards -- as the spot where a cut might come. Matt Carroll and Alan Anderson look safe, Herrmann and Robinson less so.
Herrmann, from Argentina, is still overcoming a language barrier, and he was 0-of-9 in the first two exhibitions.
Robinson, for all his athletic gifts, didn't prove in his first two NBA seasons he can impact an NBA game.
The good news for these guys? There are six more exhibitions, and Bickerstaff is in no rush to make this cut.
"The true test is time," Bickerstaff said. "We want to see the full body of work."
IMO we should cut Robinson. You can be the greatest athlete in the world, but if you cant shoot or play D, you're worthless in the NBA. Otherwise we can cut Burleson. I'm sure guys like Caroll and Anderson can run the point if need be.
In hindsight it's a good thing that the Cats didn't sign Bonzi; apparently he's been a mess of physical problems and missed pre-season practice/games. As far as the last cut from the roster, I agree that Burleson had better show his stuff bigtime between now and the end of this month!