In the new media world order, credibility has to be earned on a constant, recurring, basis. Think of separate Old Thinkers and New Thinkers. Old Thinkers come from a world where shorthand is necessary, where everyone agrees that Hubie Brown is an Expert because he Knows His Stuff and has known his stuff for a long time. However, New Thinkers don't accept Hubie's Expertness until he shows them he Knows His Stuff, and when he shows them he Knows His Stuff, they'll accept it for the moment, until he comes up with another point and has to show them again. Thus, Expertise is fleeting.
Say Hubie goes on television and starts talking about Marquis Daniels, and how much he likes what Marquis does, and how he believes Marquis will be a championship caliber point guard someday. The Old Thinkers either take it or leave it, because Hubie is an Expert. They may not agree with him, but they respect his Voice.
The New Thinkers don't care whether it's Hubie or Benjamin Button making the statement; they want the point proven in front of them, for the speaker to show his work. To be an Expert, Hubie must provide examples of what makes Daniels a great player and explain how it works. Maybe he shows some highlights and illustrates what Daniels does differently. He can't simply make a pronouncement, even if we all accept that he Knows His Stuff. Again, for New Thinkers, Expertise is not a permanent state.
Mel Kiper, Jr., ran into this little problem this week, saying that Tim Tebow doesn't project to quarterback in the NFL. The discussion is legit, becuase in spite of Tebow's throwing for 65% completion rates against top competition the past two seasons, and his undeniable pro size, compare any video of him to Matt Stafford, and you'll see Tebow starts his throws a painfully long time before Stafford does. Kiper Knows His Stuff. We'll accept that.
Unfortunately for Kiper, Tebow, himself, had the audacity to ask him to explain, to prove his Expertise. And it went poorly, as Kiper didn't answer him directly.
All that's to say that the Charlotte Bobcats appear to be run by Old Thinkers. Where fact-based discussion and decisions are required, they tend to rely on wizened Experts who demand trust in their feelings. I don't trust Larry Brown to make the right decisions any more than I suspect he'd trust me. However, the team's decisions this year show an alarming lack of foresight and consistency.
Compare to the New York Knicks. There's an underlying logic behind all of their roster moves since Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni came on board. They understand they can use New York as a bargaining chip, and they've set about to clear cap space for the summer of 2010, when a glut of high level players will hit free agency.
The Bobcats, though, have no such direction or apparent plan. The widespread feeling is that they've intentionally cleared $5 million for the 2010 summer, but that's in exchange for another $9 million year of Diaw, and all that's in exchange for the $14 million that would have expired in summer 2011 when Richardson came off the books, and the cheap production Jared Dudley brought.
On the floor, it's a little different, as Larry Brown has instituted sound offensive and defensive systems. It seems, though, that getting players to fit the overall concept shouldn't be that hard, yet going back to the draft, we see Brown and the team deviating from the obvious, fact-based, course. Augustin instead of Lopez, which I'll maintain until Lopez craps out or Augustin figures out how to defend guards four inches taller than he is. Alexis Ajinca over everyone else available. Kyle Weaver over Chris Douglas-Roberts and Bill Walker.
Tonight, the Bobcats play in Memphis against a suddenly frisky Grizzlies team that will be the sleeper video game team of the year next season, considering that OJ Mayo is ridiculously talented, and Rudy Gay is a matchup nightmare. Gerald Wallace will be back to guard him, though, so things aren't that bad.
The two big battles to watch will be Okafor vs. Darko/Gasol and Raja vs. OJ. I have no doubt Diaw should be able to shut down Darrell Arthur, but if Emeka can subdue Darko and Marc, that will give the back court a lot more leeway in dealing with Mayo, who can be nearly unstoppable. I still don't believe Raja's the defensive stopper Brown seems to think he is, and we know that Gerald is the only other wing player on this squad who plays very good defense. Since I'm pretty certain Bell won't be able to handle OJ, seeing as he's been declining on defense (search for Bell), it might be worthwhile to try a big lineup with Diaw on Gay, Wallace on Mayo, Emeka on the center, and either Howard or May on Arthur.