Monday, November 5, 2007

Bobcats Thoughts After Week One

1. Jason Richardson has exceeded my expectations. He leads the team in points scored , and he's done it by shooting 51% from the floor and a staggering 56% from 3-point range. This efficiency has been one of the biggest factors in the Bobcats' early success.

2. Raymond Felton has been masterful in helming the team's new fast-paced offense. He's distributing the ball well while avoiding needless turnovers (aside from an ugly possession yesterday where he allowed himself to be trapped, then threw it away). Felton has also done a nice job of getting to the foul line - he leads the team in free throw attempts. Finally, and most importantly, Felton is deferring to Richardson/Okafor/Wallace more when it comes to shooting the ball - he still is shooting, but he's driving to the basket more and as a consequence is making a much higher percentage of his shots. Great all-around play by Felton.

3. Okafor remains the team's best player. He is a double-double machine and is the team's only shot-blocking presence.

4. Wallace has been great, but his style of play worries me. When he went down clutching his knee in the second quarter of yesterday's game, the Bobcats' season flashed before my eyes. Because make no mistake, the Bobcats are not a playoff team without Wallace. I am not advocating that Wallace dramatically change his game - but when my "Wallace-on-the-floor" count topped five yesterday, I got nervous. Is Wallace giving 75% for 75 games better than Wallace giving 100% for 50? Tough call.

5. McInnis is clearly a significant downgrade over Felton, but he has taken less shots this year and is taking care of the ball. Both are good signs. He is committing too many fouls, though, and this aggressive play has only netted 1 steal in 48 minutes. Is this worth the offensive handicap we take when McInnis is in the game? I don't like the dual McInnis/Felton lineup.

6. Hollins has been very impressive. At times he strays into a "Tyrus Thomas" out-of-control style, but he has rebounded well and his quickness provides a great spark. He's only played 15 minutes, though, so I don't yet have a sense of his defensive ability. So far, I really like what I see from Hollins.

7. And then there's Primoz Brezec. Primoz has been horrible. Absolutely, indisputably horrible. He has provided no offensive help, managing only 4 points in 42 minutes. He is a massive liability on the glass - Matt Carroll has as many rebounds as Primoz, and he's played far fewer minutes. Meanwhile, he's committed bad turnovers, committed too many fouls, failed to get to the free throw line, and been absolutely abused in the paint by Shaquille O'Neal, Udonis Haslem, and Alonzo Mourning. I know a sample size of two games is small, but Primoz needs to improve or be benched.

8. Word association for the rest of the team: Matt Carroll: disappointing; Jared Dudley: promising; Walter Hermann: bricking.

Love what I've seen so far. 2-0, with the big three playing like All-Stars and Felton elevating his game.

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