I hate Bonnell's attitude about the possibility of the Cats getting into the playoffs. He puts his not so subtle negative spin on any opportunity that he gets. This is an interesting article, nonetheless.
Bobcats on a familar road for Brown
Coach's trend is to start slow with a new team, retool the roster, then finish strong.
By Rick Bonnell
Posted: Thursday, Mar. 05, 2009
Bobcats coach Larry Brown, in his 24th NBA season with his ninth team, has guided his teams to eight 50-plus win seasons, 17 playoff appearances and one NBA title – with Detroit in 2004.
It doesn't happen every time Larry Brown takes over an NBA team – the New York Knicks were bad when he showed up and worse when he left – but the pattern is well-documented.
The 1981-82 New Jersey Nets opened Brown's first season 3-12. They finished that season with a 9-1 kick. They reached the playoffs, a complete shock at the time.
The 1993-94 Indiana Pacers started 1-6 under Brown. They won their last eight regular-season games, then advanced all the way to Game7 of the Eastern Conference Finals (losing to the Knicks).
The Charlotte Bobcats will be lucky to squeeze into the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. But their course this season fits almost precisely what one of Brown's former players, Mike Gminski, predicted a week before training camp.
Gminski played center for Brown as a Net. Now the former Duke player lives in Charlotte and does television as a college basketball analyst.
Gminski envisioned most everything that has happened to this team: How the players would look physically and mentally exhausted in the preseason. How they'd flounder in November (a 3-9 start). How the roster would churn (a league-high 23 players and three major trades). And how they'd emerge mid-season stronger for the experience (win Friday against Atlanta, and they match a team record with five straight victories).
Then Gminski made one final prediction:
“Watch,” Gminski told the Observer in September. “They make the playoffs.”
Brown tends to deconstruct a team, essentially trashing the room before redecorating in his own vision.
“I think, as a staff, we hold them accountable to do the things they do best. We have values we hope everybody understands about sharing the ball and rebounding and defending,” he said Wednesday.
“Not everybody buys into it right away.”
It's a sort of Social Darwinism. Those who don't fit are quickly moved (Adam Morrison and Matt Carroll) and even those who might fit (Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley) can be moved for those who fit better (Boris Diaw and Raja Bell).
Brown said Wednesday that the Bobcats more resemble that Pacers rebuilding project than the Nets.
That's because of the roster moves the two teams made.
The Pacers traded a go-to scorer (Detlef Schrempf) for a versatile power forward (Derrick McKey).
Brown links that to the Bobcats giving up Richardson to acquire Diaw.
Then the Pacers signed veteran guard Byron Scott, a player Brown compares to Bell in maturity and savvy.
Brown says both the Pacers and Nets were deeper than this Bobcats team, so he's not promising similar results.
But he sees the parallels.
“You demand a lot and I don't let up,” Brown said of his expectations. “I don't want to ever ask anything of someone he's incapable of doing. But I've found all pros want to get better. If they know you care – that you're trying to improve them – they buy in.
“As a result, they all buy in together and do the things good teams do.”