Pop-Quiz: What do Matt Carroll, Eduardo Najera and DeSagana Diop all have in common?
Yes, they all averaged less than three points per game last season, but can you think of anything else? Each of them made the transition from Dallas to Charlotte at some point in their careers.
It’s not great company (I can’t believe I even used the word great), but former Mavericks center Brendan Haywood will be joining the club.
Before discussing Haywood’s potential impact with the Cats, does anyone have an explanation for Charlotte’s strange obsession with the Dallas Mavericks? Replicating their uniforms is one thing, but scrounging off the talent of their bench?
Anyway, two days ago the Charlotte Bobcats continued their offseason makeover by claiming Haywood off waivers, winning the bidding process by offering the North Carolina native $2.05 million. Haywood became available once Dallas decided to amnesty Haywood’s three-year/$27 million contract.
The Bobcats already have two centers under contract (Byron Mullens, DeSagana Diop, and Bismack Biyombo would make a third, but I still think he’s more of a power forward) for the 2012-2013 season, but Haywood will serve as an upgrade in practically every category at that position.
Think about what that says about the state of this team. Haywood’s averages have been declining for the past five seasons, and he’s an upgrade? As if you haven’t heard it before, here it is: 7-56, a .106 winning percentage.
Head coach Mike Dunlap should have an interesting preseason battle between Mullens and Haywood, but Mullens will likely remain Charlotte’s starter at center. Nevertheless, expect Haywood to split a significant amount of time with Mullens; I’m thinking each will average about 20 MPG, while Diop and Biyombo sweep the leftover crumbs off the floor.
At 32 years old, Haywood is well past his prime, but his role as a backup frees up Charlotte’s obligation to throw any random body in at center. Signing Haywood means Biyombo can finally test his skills at the No. 4 spot, a position where the Bobcats are incredibly thin.
If Biyombo can find a way to produce there, that means the Bobcats could potentially have two defenders with seven-foot-plus wingspans. For the last ranked defense in the league last season, that’s a major improvement.
Above all else, what fans in Charlotte have to be thrilled about is that Diop might never see the light of day again. Finally, no more missing free throws by five feet!