It's probably time to throw in the towel on Raymond Felton. Not because he can't play in the NBA, but because this is the third coach that fails to believe in him, and he just needs to go somewhere to get a fresh start. While DJ Augustin will not bring it every night like he did in last night's loss to the Hawks, particularly from beyond the arc, the rookie has shown enough on offense to stoke Larry Brown's crush on him, defense be damned.
On a per minute basis, Felton is doing everything the same he's ever done, except with fewer assists, and that's because he's being treated exactly the same as he's always been treated. Once he gets a chance to just be a point guard for two or three years in a row, he'll reward his team with perfectly reasonable point play at a cut rate cost.
That said, given the Augustin pick, in a way, the best case scenario is playing out. Let's say Augustin really is becoming the new Damon Stoudamire. Well, Damon was a great bench player who happened to be a severe defensive liability. Just as illustration, his defensive ratings were worse than his offensive ratings all but three seasons of his career. Of course, Damon was miscast as a starter because when he got 35 minutes or more per game, he couldn't be selectively deployed against guards who wouldn't be able to exploit his lack of size.
All that's to say that, should Brown decide to move forward with DJ, I'll be resigned to our new Augustin overlord and hope that he bulks up a bit and improves his defense, or that he becomes a Chris Paul-level offensive player, rendering his defense a mere inconvenience.
Last night didn't quite play out as I thought it would, but nothing changed enough to make me reconsider where this season is headed. Remember, each game is an indication of talent, but true talent levels and skills are displayed over the course of many games.
-- Joe Johnson underperformed. Dude missed a couple of wide open threes and only posted up Felton a couple times. In the second half, Wallace ended up covering him more than the guards did. I'm not sure how much of it is attributable to Johnson failing to attack as much as he could, or the Cats actually doing something to curtail his offense.
-- If Marvin Williams didn't have such an awesome game, or if Gerald Wallace had continued his first quarter dominance through even one more quarter, the Bobcats would have run away with a win. I didn't notice the Hawks doing anything differently to stop him from getting to the rim, but he only took two shots in the second half, and both were outside the paint. Whenever there's an apparent advantage, a team must attack it and pound away at it until the opposition proves they've found a way to stop it. It seems like the Bobcats went away from Wallace even though the Hawks had no answers for him after the first quarter.
-- Why have Morrison's minutes decreased? If it's because his defense isn't all that great, is that standard applied to everyone? This was the first game of a back to back, so why couldn't he get more minutes to rest the starters?
Tonight, the Milwaukee Bucks come to town, and I'm most concerned about Charlie Villanueva and Joe Alexander. Where everyone else more or less matches up with a clear counterpart, those two will be matched up on either Jared Dudley or one of the other young bigs, Hollins or Ajinca.
Villanueva is coming off a hamstring injury, and played well last night against New York. Hollins is probably the best option to guard him, since he's got a size advantage on Dudley. Should Joe Alexander get in the game, Hollins and Ajinca would likely have a difficult time dealing with his quickness off the dribble, so Dudley should be the choice. The Cats should just react to whatever the Bucks throw at them.