Chris Douglas-Roberts' hair jumps out at you more than his season performance on paper. He averaged around seven points a game and two rebounds, which is about on par with his career numbers. He's never averaged double digits even when playing 25 minutes a game in New Jersey during the 2009-2010 season.
Like so many other Bobcats, and the team as whole, Douglas-Roberts really started to excel after the All-Star break. During March and April he averaged over 24 minutes a game and almost 10 points a contest. It was Douglas-Roberts' situational scoring that really proved his worth and made him a fan favorite as the year wore on. He shot close to 40 percent from three, really excelling hitting shots out of the corners nailing better than 50 percent from three on the right side although only 9 percent of his attempts were from there.
Playing the wing, he was usually spotting up from deep or slicing to the basket for a bucket in the paint. Douglas-Roberts took only 10 shots outside 16 feet that were not three pointers. So he made his money by hitting that long ball or getting to the basket. He was one of the better free throw shooters on the team hitting 80 percent so even getting to the line was typically a good thing for Charlotte.
It was perhaps his rather competent efforts on defense that helped keep him on the floor. Head coach Steve Clifford demands defense of course, but both Douglas-Roberts and fellow reserve Anthony Tolliver gave him a bit of a scoring punch of the bench. Douglas-Roberts though provided a little more effectiveness and flexibility on the defensive end. After playing in just four games in February, Douglas-Roberts received steady minutes from Clifford for the rest of the season. (Ben had a great look into this switch here.)
Douglas-Roberts could guard most wing guards to small forwards and has the foot speed and athletic ability to stay with them. In the playoffs however, he was no match for LeBron James. No one was except for Kidd-Gilchrist but Douglas-Roberts' minutes were reduced back down to 17 minutes per game, likely because anyone besides MKG on James in that series was just a prayer in the wind. However, Douglas-Roberts' offensive output held steady as he chipped in almost 10 points per game in the four game series. Charlotte just couldn't afford to have anyone else on James for too long.
The fact of the matter is Douglas-Roberts played so well during the final run of the season that I don't see how the Bobcats don't do everything they can within reason to bring him back. He's a free agent this offseason and will likely get some looks. Certainly there will be some changes in the lineup and there's no way of telling what additions will be made. But looking at the roster now there aren't too many other options you want on the floor at the end of games.
Douglas-Roberts averaged the fifth most minutes of any Bobcat during the fourth quarter, so Clifford and company obviously trusted him, and needed him to make contributions. Moving forward it will likely depend on what other offers he gets, and how that fits in to what the Bobcats want to do. But the story of Douglas-Roberts, and in particular the story of this season, was one of the more successful in the league. The guy didn't exactly come (back) from nowhere, but he made his mark on a playoff team. And then some. He was a valuable part of the rotation. During the late season playoff push the Bobcats found themselves down to the Hawks in Atlanta in a game they needed and he came up big with a buzzer-beating gamewinner.
Not particularly playing well, the starters were benched for much of the end game while reserves made a push and kept the Bobcats in it. Then with seconds remaining the Bobcats drew up this play that actually worked!
Now I don't know that he was the first option on that. Or the second. Or the third. But this play is almost a microcosm of his whole season. Nothing was given to him except an opportunity. Watch him on that play; He's not even in it until he finally makes a break towards the ball as almost a last resort (which also shows how good he is moving on the floor without the ball). Josh McRoberts finds him (great pass by McRoberts, of course) and Douglas-Roberts just reacts. He just plays and does what he instinctively knows to do: launch a rainbow tear drop that finds nothing by nylon as time expires. It was a really nice moment for this team, and this player. Hopefully for Bobcats fans it won't be the last. He's fun player to have and provides some very solid depth on the wings. He ups the odd factor on this team (and I mean that in the most positive, complimentary way) and together with McRoberts gave the Bobcats the best hair one-two punch in the league.
Season Grade: B+
Douglas-Roberts was signed as almost an afterthought, a roster filling addition who might give you some good effort and knock down an open shot or two. He himself admitted that he learned a lot from his journey to the D-League and back and returned a much more mature player. You could really see that in his confidence and his attacking play. He brought a punch to this team and showed the ability to be a valuable player on both ends of the floor. Given what the expectations were for Douglas-Roberts and the fact that he wasn't on the roster much less mentioned when the season started and the fact that he ended up being a key part of the rotation I can't give him anything less than a B+. It was a really nice season for him and enjoyable to watch.