Charlotte Bobcats: 5 Things We've Learned After Two Games
It has been a very exciting first week so far in the NBA.
We've seen close games and blowouts, we've seen the big guys crumble, and the little guys rise, and we finally have the NBA back to love and to cherish.
At the beginning of the season, I wasn't too excited about what the Charlotte Bobcats were going to look like this season. But after two games, I can honestly say that I am pleasantly surprised.
Here are five things we have learned after these first two games of Charlotte's season.
1. DJ Augustin Might Just Have Arrived
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DJ Augustin has frustrated Bobcats fans since he first entered the league back in 2008. He was selected ninth overall by the Bobcats, and so far he has not lived up to the hype. He showed some improvement last year, starting in all 82 games at point guard, but he only averaged 14.4 points per game.
Augustin has always seemed timid...afraid to take big shots, and is not confident in his abilities at this level. I think most fans realize that Augustin has always had the talent to be a high scorer, just not the confidence.
Two games into this new season, it looks like he just might have found his swagger.
I know it's early, but Augustin has looked like a new player on the court. Just the way he carries himself...smiling, keeping his head up, and most importantly, not being afraid to take some shots.
In the first two games, Augustin has averaged 19.5 points per game, 7 assists per game, and 3.5 rebounds per game. He's taking three point shots, and made an excellent three-pointer at the buzzer to give Charlotte a 15-point lead at the half versus Miami.
Augustin might feel the fire of rookie Kemba Walker's competition off the bench to play his spot, or maybe he has just finally figured out professional basketball. Either way, I hope it keeps up.
2. Boris Diaw Is Very, Very Versatile
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Everyone knows that Boris Diaw is a good player and is a legitimate triple-double threat in every game he plays.
In these first two games, he has been as versatile as ever, and an invaluable presence in the paint.
In his first game, Diaw very nearly got that triple-double, going for nine points, nine assists and 11 rebounds. He also recorded two blocks.
He was even more impressive in his second game, notching 16 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists, a block and a steal. Unfortunately, those impressive numbers may be overshadowed by the six turnovers he committed.
Nevertheless, Diaw is emerging as a leader on this team. He is playing power forward right now, but he is playing the boards like a center, and shooting and passing like a guard.
His dominance at the boards and his versatility to shoot outside jumpers is going to be huge for the Bobcats moving forward.
3. This Could Be Gerald Henderson's Breakout Year
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Gerald Henderson has had a coming out party in these first two games.
Henderson rarely started in his first two seasons with the Bobcats, usually playing the role as a serviceable six-man with poor outside range for his position.
So far this year, though, Henderson has been fantastic.
In these two games, Henderson has averaged 19.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds per game. He played very good defense in the loss to Miami, gathering two steals and blocking two shots. He's shooting over .500 from the field and hasn't missed from the charity line so far this season.
Again, it is still too early to tell, but Henderson and Augustin are both looking pretty good right now. These are two first-round draft picks that so far in their careers have been underwhelming.
A big part of the reason most people (myself included) believed the Bobcats were going to be below-average to bad this season is because the thought of having Henderson and Augustin starting in the backcourt was pretty scary to think about. Neither one of these guys have lived up to their potential yet.
After the first two games of this season, though, it looks like Charlotte's backcourt might just be pretty good.
4. Kemba Walker Is Going to Be a Star...but Not This Year
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The title of this slide might sound like I'm kind of taking a dig at Kemba Walker, but let me assure you, I absolutely am not.
Kemba has done very well in these first two games...as well as anyone could expect from a rookie who was selected ninth overall. In his first two games, he's averaged 13.5 points, three assists, four rebounds and a steal per game.
The only problem is, as mentioned on the previous slides, Augustin and Henderson are both perennial breakout candidates this season, and that is going to take away from Walker's playing time.
Henderson and Augustin are likely going to get the majority of the starts at the guard positions, leaving Walker as a sixth-man who will likely play around 20 minutes per game this season.
That said, having Walker come off the bench is not a bad thing. Twenty minutes per game as a rookie is nothing to shake a stick at, and Kemba has proven in these first two games that he has the skill-set to excel in the NBA.
His outside shooting abilities are still a little raw, and he sometimes hangs onto the ball for too long, but these are all things that are going to be ironed out as the season progresses and Kemba gets more playing time.
The sky is the limit for Kemba, but as long as Augustin and Henderson continue to play like they have in these first two games, he's going to have to settle for being the sixth man for a season.
5. The Bobcats Might Not Be as Bad as We Thought
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OK, OK...I know...we are only two games into the season, and the Bobcats are only 1-1 so far.
But these first two games have given me hope as a Bobcats fan. I will be the first to admit that I did not give these guys much credit going into this season. I thought it was going to be another write-off of a season for Charlotte, and that I really had nothing to look forward to aside from seeing Kemba Walker play.
Milwaukee is considered a possible playoff team with more weapons than Charlotte, and the Miami Heat is...well...the Miami Heat. Charlotte should have lost the first game and been blown out the second game, but instead they are 1-1, and are one basket away from being 2-0 against two very good teams.
There is a possibility that it could fall apart...Augustin and Henderson might revert to their old ways, Diaw might not be as good as he has looked so far this season, and players on this team might start abandoning the team-first philosophy in favor of trying to be stars on their own.
But the Bobcats have played well so far, and the team seems to play together very well.
There are mistakes happening that need to be worked out if the Bobcats want to stay competitive this season. Turnovers lost the Heat game and kept us out of most of the Bucks game, and no team is going to succeed if they throw the ball away. They are making some unintelligent shots when they should pass the ball, and they are committing some stupid fouls that should be avoided.
But when it is all said and done, I am willing to overlook those things for now. This is one of the youngest, smallest teams in the NBA, and the kinks are hopefully going to be worked out over the course of the season as they continue to play together.
I am not delusional...I am not saying the Bobcats are going to make the playoffs this year. It's going to take a lot of luck to get them into a tough Eastern Conference playoff bracket, and it probably won't happen with this team this year.
But at the very least, the Bobcats are playing good basketball so far this season, and here's to hoping that it continues.