The head is at an angle, just like the last facial hair photo, only this time, something is horribly off. Just as the Bobcats tried to do the same thing they did Friday, only yesterday it was against a very different team. (As a side note, nobody believes me when I tell them the drunkenness in that photo is faked. It was New Year's Eve, 10pm. I was fine.)
It's Year 4 of Raymond Felton's career, and Larry Brown is the third coach to not realize playing him alongside another point guard is a disaster. Note my diction. Another point guard. Raymond Felton is a point guard. He's not a shooting guard, off guard, point forward, two guard, or what have you. He's a point guard. Stop playing him at shooting guard. Stop. Please. Point guard. Got it? Point guard.
I wouldn't care too much if DJ Augustin took over the point guard position on a full time basis and we traded away Raymond for a backup point and some fringe athlete like Gerald Green or Desmond Mason. But as long as we have Raymond, he's a point guard, dammit. A point guard. Stop asking him to guard Jason Kapono and play off the ball on every possession.
This violent reaction was brought to you today by the number 4, the letter T, and the letter R. The T and the R are for the Toronto Raptors, and the number 4 is the number of minutes Felton and Augustin overlapped and shared the backcourt in the Cats' 89-79 loss yesterday, and--HEY! That was all in the fourth quarter, in the midst of the Bobcats' epic 7-minute plus scoring drought!
This isn't even a question, anymore. Last year, Felton was better at point than he was next to either Jeff McMinus or Earl Boykins. This year, through just a few games, Felton is way better at point than he is next to Augustin, who is, himself, a defensive liability.
This may not be a great team, but there's no reason it can't be a competitive team that's a nasty matchup for some squads and makes everyone sweat, even if they're sure they can beat us. With Richardson, Carroll, and, now Morrison as primary bombers, with Felton, Augustin, and a limited Gerald Wallace all hoisting away at times, there should be plenty of floor space for Augustin, Felton, Wallace, and Richardson to put the ball on the floor and get in the lane. Even Morrison can rock the floater on occasion, a great move for someone who's 6-8. Restrict Okafor to trying to score only on putbacks and between the blocks, and restrict Dudley to only taking wide open shots, and the offense has a foundation for order and flow.
Instead, we get a lot of standing around as one, and maybe two, guys come off screens for a quick jumper. It worked for Reggie Miller and Rip Hamilton, but it hardly works with these guys, who are made more for a Memphis Tigers style dribble drive system, where several guys take responsibility for driving the lane, than Larry Brown's system, which has little use for a point guard with penetration skills. Of course, both Felton and Augustin seem to thrive on hitting the lane and deciding what to do between the free throw line and the rim.
So nothing went right in the fourth quarter, and the Bobcats we know came back to earth and landed under an avalanche of Chris Bosh and Andrea Bargnani jumpers. They weren't supposed to win, but victory was there.
For now, the Gerald Wallace trade rumors are all dead. According to Sporting News Today, the Warriors were the ones who killed the deal that would have sent Wallace to Oakland, Al Harrington to New York, and Eddy Curry to Charlotte. The idiocy of all this is astounding. Allegedly, the reason for bailing on the deal was that the Ws are afraid of Wallace's contract.
This is insane. Essentially, Wallace makes Corey Maggette money. Trading for Wallace would take them out of the Bosh/Wade/LeBron sweepstakes, but they weren't getting seriously involved, anyway.
The post-trade roster would have a core of five players making an average of about $10 million each: Monta Ellis, Andris Biedrins, Stephen Jackson, Wallace, and Maggette, with Jackson making the least among them, pending a renegotiation. That's easily a playoff team, especially if Biedrins's recent step forward is real. The key bench players are cost-controlled for at least the next two seasons, even if Turiaf is overpaid. Yes, it's expensive, but Ellis is a perennial All Star candidate, Biedrins's ceiling is a perennial All Star, and Jackson, Wallace, and Maggette are all legitimately Lamar Odom types: second banana on good teams, third banana on great teams.
Eddy Curry. Do. Not. Want.