The Other Side: Charlotte Bobcats
The Team That Ed Tapscott Built has undergone a minor makeover under Michael Jordan in the past few months. Vagabond Larry Brown returned to the bench as head coach for his ninth NBA coaching job, and the Bobcats traded leading scorer Jason Richardson to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Boris Diaw and Raja Bell.
The Bobcats recently bounced back from a seven-game losing streak with a two-game win streak that was snapped on Saturday in a 110-103 loss against the Golden State Warriors. Charlotte allowed Warriors guard Jamaal Crawford to explode for 50 points, with the Bobcats players and coaches claiming that the team got a bit overconfident with its (small) taste of success.
Surely, Tapscott will feel some emotion going into this game, since he was bounced from his position as chief executive of the Bobcats just two years ago. But here's what else you need to know about the Bobcats heading into tonight's game in Charlotte:
1. Diaw Is Doing Well
The Bobcats sacrificed their leading scorer to get Boris Diaw and Raja Bell from Phoenix, but it didn't necessarily mean that they sacrificed offense completely. Charlotte still ranks last in the NBA in scoring, but Diaw has helped the Bobcats average about eight more points and shoot 3.5 percentage points better. After failing to score more than 14 points in 22 games with the Suns, Diaw has had two games with at least 25 points for the Bobcats. He is averaging 16.8 points, 4.8 assists and shooting 53 percent from the field. His impact has already been referred to as the Diaw Effect.
2. The Bobcats Might Not Be Done Dealing
With Richardson gone, the Bobcats are reportedly looking to trade point guard Raymond Felton, who had to feel that his days were numbered when Charlotte selected point guard D.J. Augustine with the ninth overall pick in June. Felton was rumored to be moved in a deal with the Golden State Warriors that would yield either Brandan Wright (whom Charlotte traded for Richardson in 2007) or Anthony Randolph. Augustine, a rookie from Texas, has made Felton expendable, averaging 13.7 points and five assists this month. Augustine, though, has been limited with a sprained ankle.
3. Michael Jordan Is Not Hands On
This isn't breaking news in Washington, where Jordan once ran the Wizards front office. USA Today's Jon Saraceno wrote an interesting article about the Bobcats remote management in Michael Jordan and owner Bob Johnson. The headline referred to Jordan as "Where Jordan?" The answer might be attending one of his son Marcus's high school basketball games for Chicago's Whitney Young. And, don't forget, the new $230 Air Jordan XX3s come out today.
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