That is, until attention and respect mean you no longer get open looks at the basket.
Welcome to Matt Carroll's new reality.
Carroll, the Bobcats' starter at shooting guard, has been tremendous of late, averaging roughly 18 points and 50 percent shooting over the past six games. He had a recent five-game span when he made 56 percent from 3-point range.
Opponents recognize these things and adapt.
"I first noticed this about the Detroit game" on Jan. 10, Carroll recalled.
"Suddenly teams were putting their best defender on me. It was Tayshaun Prince (for the Pistons), and he blocked the first jump shot I took.
"Then it got even worse because they wouldn't leave me. Before they might sprint (back and forth) to go down and double the post. Now nothing. They never leave."
Carroll isn't imagining this. A scout from another Eastern Conference team says Carroll is the first outside shooter the Bobcats have had who is dangerous enough not to leave. The scout said teams typically double-teamed the post -- usually Emeka Okafor -- with little fear that any Bobcats guard would beat them from the outside.
The increased attention shows up in the numbers. After Carroll scored 20 in the first half against Milwaukee, the Bucks shifted their defense to make sure he was covered. Carroll took three shots in the second half and scored two points.
"That's not because I stopped looking to shoot," he said. "Now I hear them saying, `Don't leave him!' "
"That's what happens in this league when you have success," coach Bernie Bickerstaff said. "The work that goes into scouting in this league is pretty good. They'll find ways (to take away your strengths). But he's putting the ball on the floor and getting to the foul line."
He should be, because Carroll is a 90 percent foul-shooter. He can either get frustrated or exploit the changes defenses have made to account for his jump shot.
"I'm known as a catch-and-shoot guy, but I've always been good at getting to the foul line," Carroll said. "I've just got to set (defenders) up better with the screens or use the slip.''
"Slip," in basketball jargon, is when defenses start overplaying outside shooters and the big men suddenly cut to the basket for a pass.
Have you seen all the dunks Okafor's been getting lately? Many of those are the result of slips.
It's not so much that people hate Matt, just people doubt him.
Matt can be an excellent player with consistency. Now that he's gotten his chance as a starter he's making the most of it. If he can't get the open jumper, he drives and draws the foul. He can be a superstar in this league and he's been the reason the Cats have been doing fairly well these past few weeks.
Talking about people who think Morrison should start over him.
I bet that you're right. And just what those folks see in a new and inconsistent Morrison that is better for the Cats than Carroll's performance is beyond me. I don't know too much about basketball but I do know dumb when I see it.
He can be a superstar in this league and he's been the reason the Cats have been doing fairly well these past few weeks.
I love the way he's producing at the moment, laying some hurt on the Hawks. But I wouldn't go as far as calling him a future superstar, he seems a bit too one-dimensional to me. I see him being a 15 PPG offensive contributor.
Carroll doesnt have the athleticism to create off the dribble and such to be a "superstar". He can be a good player, yes.. But the best I can see him possibly becoming is a Richard Hamilton, and even thats a stretch.