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Old 11-05-2006, 03:54 PM   #1
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Default Bickerstaff critics need an updated position statement

Charlotte Observer

Pro basketball would be a lot easier to digest if we did away with some labels.

You start five players, so the core fan is conditioned to believe you must start five distinctly different players -- a point guard, a shooting guard, a small forward, a power forward and a center.

In truth, that doesn't apply to most NBA rosters, including that of the Charlotte Bobcats. There are really three positions these days -- point guards, wings and big men. Anything more is trying to draw a distinction that doesn't really exist.

I mention this because there sure seems to be a fuss on the message boards about starting Brevin Knight over Adam Morrison or moving Emeka Okafor to center to start Sean May. I like a good bar-stool argument as much as the next guy, but the debate isn't justified by the reality.

Some fans wanted Bernie Bickerstaff to replace Primoz Brezec with another center. In reality, Okafor has always guarded the superior low-post scorer. Label him a power forward, a center or a flower pot; at the end of the day, Okafor is the Bobcats' best defender close to the basket and probably will be for years.

The way Bickerstaff describes it, Okafor can guard any center except a healthy Shaquille O'Neal, and nobody can guard a healthy Shaq.

So Bickerstaff's challenge, with Brezec shut down, was to pick the next-best big man. May, who had a tremendous preseason offensively, was the logical candidate. He deserved the first shot at the job.

The Knight-vs.-Morrison decision was a tougher call. I would have gone the other way, starting Morrison and telling Knight he'll play 30 minutes a night off the bench. I'd do that to speed up the inevitable; Morrison has to start, just like Raymond Felton last season, for this team to pursue its potential.

But I understand the counterargument: Morrison was a disappointment in the preseason, missing shots he probably made in the ninth grade.

Knight did nothing to lose his status. In fact, his two-week absence while mending a sprained ankle demonstrated how much the Bobcats still need him. When Knight is around, this team is calmer and more organized.

I've never understood the grief Knight takes from some Bobcats fans. Maybe it's about Felton being a Tar Heel, but some fans can't wait to shove Knight out the door.

Felton sure doesn't feel that way. He considers Knight a mentor and a close friend. He'll miss Knight when he's gone, as will every guy in that locker room.
This is a good article. I agree that Morrison starting would lead the team more towards it's real potential, and even with Morrison starting, Knight can still come off of the bench and relieve both Wallace and Felton at different intervals of the game. Another thing is that people always expect to be the tallest guy on the court to be the center which doesn't always have to happen. Okafor does a great job playing the 4 spot, so when you have Sean May who played center through college, why not put May at center and leave Okafor at 4? Remember, Jawad Williams was a good 2 inches taller than May in college and May played center while Williams played the 4.
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Old 11-05-2006, 04:39 PM   #2
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I agree whole-heartedly and it basically backs my point from earlier. The 7ft requirment for center has been broken and I think our best line-ups have May and Okafor out there on the block at the same time. Who cares if neither of them would have been considered a center in the early 90s, in todays game they can play together and do it well, and hopefully by the end of the year will be our starting bigs.
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Old 11-06-2006, 08:09 AM   #3
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I'm a big fan of Emeka being at C. He is more built to take a beating than Sean. Emeka is a model of an all-around good post player. Shot blocking, rebounds, can score inside etc. May has a good shot and I think he would get more oppurtunities to use that playing PF. I don't know, just my opinion.
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