One of the things Bobcats fans have heard the past few years is that the team is going to focus on a more uptempo offense. However, those words never really materialized into any manifestation of a true run and gun offense, but a middle-of the pack pace (17th, per bballref). An inability to force turnovers (25th) crippled the Bobcats trying to push the tempo through transition, where the floor is clearer and post players can establish deeper position for easier looks.
New head coach Mike Dunlap seems to want to continue in this path, and although who knows if he'll actually succeed where his predecessors failed, his system seems to be better set up for it. With the Bobcats' youth and athleticism all over the floor, they should have the legs to get up and down the court with anyone, if they're conditioned to do so. And Dunlap is committed to putting that dedication into the players' mindset as soon as possible:
"You might not have the best shooter, you might not have the best ballhandler or the best defensive scheme. But there's no reason we shouldn't be in the best physical shape possible. This guy will get them into the best physical shape and then into the best mental shape. There are nights where we won't have the most talent, but we will win games." -- via Rick Bonnell, Charlotte Observer
Dunlap made his presence known in Harrison Barnes' workout for the team, having the prospects turn up the pace in a three-on-three game to give him a perspective on a more game-like scenario. Barnes called it a "track meet," adding: "You can tell he definitely likes to play fast ... that he likes intensity, likes guys who lay it on the line down on the floor."
Then Dunlap laid it on the line down on the floor after the prospects left, inserting himself into the practice with the current Bobcats that are showing up to the optional early summer practices. He set screens, took aim at fixing some shooting mechanics and directed players on their driving angles.
So what does Dunlap bring that we know so far? An impressive defensive mind, a gritty no-guff demeanor, devotion to conditioning and preparation, and the fiery energy to thrust himself into practices to teach his passion hands-on. I like this hire more and more, from all that I can discern at this point.
Word on the streets is that Cleveland is interested in trading up from their current spot at No. 4. I imagine they'd be floating out swapping picks and including their late first rounder or some combination of their second round picks (they have No. 33 and 34). I would not be against this. As far as I'm concerned, the dropoff in talent between the likely prospects drafted second, third and fourth is marginal. Obviously, one of MKG, Beal, Robinson, Barnes, Drummond will be available there, so there's a mitigated risk. Interesting to think about, if none of the prospects have proven themselves to be a clear cut above the rest for the second pick.
In other Bobcats news, apparently Byron Mullens is no longer in consideration for the United Kingdom's Olympic national basketball team. I'm not sure if this is surprising or not, to be honest.
Also, the Bobcats unveiled their new jerseys and color scheme recently, downplaying the orange yet again and adding a new light, electric blue. It's all about continual rebirth for this organization, clearly, as it has been the past two years -- farewell veterans with hefty price tags, hello uber-smart GM, farewell old school well-known coaches, hello unknown guy with no Wikipedia page, hello young talent.
As the Bobcats continue on their path to distance themselves from what they were, they've shown a step in a new aesthetic change from the past. The home jerseys are a bit of hit and miss with me. I like the wide side stripes with pinstripes within them and the crowned C logo on the shorts. But as much as I appreciate the undertones of smacking "Bob" out of "Bobcats", it makes the jerseys look, I don't know, childish. They say "CATS" in a giant font, for crying out loud. The new light blue is a nice touch, but I feel like it's just thrown in there on the numbers for no reason.
The away jerseys have eschewed the old greyish-blue in favor of a navy and the light blue becomes a main color on the side stripes, which is nice. The font on the front is a little odd, with "CHARLOTTE" nicked with weird serifs, but eh, whatever, no big deal. All in all, I'm not big on them.