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Charlotte Bobcats Breakdown: 'Cats Need Sharper Offensive Claws

Erick BlascoSenior Writer INovember 13, 2009

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 28:  Raymond Felton #20 and Gerald Wallace #3 of the Charlotte Bobcats react during a game with the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden on October 28, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

After jumping out to a 21-point lead, the Charlotte Bobcats tried their best to give away a surefire win. Too bad they were facing the equally inept Knicks, backing their way into a 102-100 double-overtime win that was high on drama, but low on crisp, clean basketball.

While Larry Brown has the Bobcats trying to play the right way, and while the Bobcats do have some nice pieces, there’s so little firepower across the roster that the team may win the Nobel Peace Prize.

With such little scoring punch across their roster, Charlotte’s staple plays were either high screen/rolls for Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin, or post ups for Gerald Wallace and Boris Diaw. However, those post ups didn’t lead to much success for either player.

Wallace posted up a total of 15 times. Out of those 15 post ups, he shot 3-6, was fouled in the act of shooting twice (hitting all four free throws), committed a turnover, had ball movement lead to a three-pointer by Diaw, had ball movement lead to three missed jumpers, bobbled the ball leading to a pass that gained no advantage, and drew a non-shooting foul.

Excusing the non-shooting foul, Wallace’s post ups only lead to 13 points on 14 possessions, a subpar ratio.

Diaw posted a total of 13 times. Out of those 13 times, he shot 1-5, drew a foul in the act of shooting twice (hitting all four free throws), passed out four times leading to missed shots for teammates, and threw two passes which gained no advantage.

His post-scoring ratio was even worse, six points on 13 possessions. Combine Diaw and Wallace, and Charlotte’s main offensive option only generated 19 points on 27 possessions against a horrendous defensive club. Ouch!

In fact, both Wallace and Diaw are miscast as primary scoring options. Wallace aggressively attacked the basket and both backboards (15 REB), but he’s not explosive enough to consistently score against double teams, he’ll commit turnovers if pressured, and he’s a terrible jump shooter.

Plus, while he started off the game playing quick-handed defense leading to innumerable deflections and steals, his defense sagged off as the game wore on as fatigue set in. Unfortunately, with this sad sack, he may not last the season.

Diaw isn’t a prototypical featured scorer either. He looked to make the extra pass and showed good touch when slipping screens, but he’s simply not good enough to take on double teams and score.

Both players showed enough down low that causes one to believe that they might be able to hold their own against single teams. However, Charlotte’s spacing was awful. That’s what happens with a ball club that shoots 3-18 from three-point land.

Neither Diaw, Wallace, Raymond Felton nor Stephen Graham are accomplished three point shooters so Vladimir Radmanovic played substantial minutes trying to stretch the floor. However, Vlad-Rad embarrassed himself—2-9 FG, 0-4 3FG, 5PTS—by bricking the majority of his shots, including an airballed three and a botched layup in crunch time.

Tyson Chandler was another disappointment, bobbling catches, missing layups, and having a five-foot hook come up three-feet short. He ended the night with almost as many fouls (six) as rebounds (eight).

Raymond Felton played smart, fearless basketball. However, he can’t make a jump shot unless he’s wide open, and doesn’t have big time talent. He wouldn’t be starting on a winning club, but would make an excellent backup. Give him credit for a handful of tough finishes down the stretch which were crucial to Charlotte surviving.

D.J. Augustine made several poor decisions with the ball, namely kicking out a few passes when he driving angles to get to the rim, and leading Tyson Chandler with a bounce pass into three defenders leading to Chandler picking up an offensive foul. But he’s a tough finisher at the basket, is super-quick around screens, and may is Charlotte’s only versatile shooter until Flip Murray and Raja Bell come back.

Stephen Graham is a powerhouse scorer in an open field and near the hoop, but he too lacks a consistent jumper.

Gerald Henderson threw a pass to nobody, Nazr Mohammed bobbled a pass and missed a fadeaway, and Derrick Brown’s only play of measure was an uncontested dunk.

Defensively, the Bobcats displayed great on-ball pressure, especially early. Players holding the ball loosely were attacked, dribbles were challenged, and deflections were the norm. Wallace and Diaw had their fingertips on a number of careless Knicks dribbles, and token pressure frequently resulted in Knicks turnovers.

The only Bobcats who played serious minutes and weren’t up to snuff defensively were Radanovich, who was a disaster, and Graham, who frequently lost track of his man and the ball. Otherwise, the Bobcats held the Knicks to under 39 percent shooting, with a very good true shooting percentage under 44 percent. It was that obnoxious defense that won Charlotte the game.

However, as presently constructed, the Bobcats need Raja Bell and Flip Murray to provide enough offense just to come close to beating any respectable team.

Charlotte simply doesn’t have the offensive juice to earn their franchise’s first trip to the postseason.

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