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Bobcats at an Identity Crossroads

Facial Hair

Ugly is as ugly does. You don't even want to see the facial hair situation on this one. Let's just say that we do crazy things in college because we're much more impulsive then.

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One of the major themes here at Rufus on Fire is the notion that successful basketball teams have spirits unique to them. Despite the Sturm und Drang over Felton at the two, that's not the worst thing we've seen all year. The worst thing is the gradual erosion and occasional disappearance of Gerald Wallace: Force.

His points and assists are down, probably because Larry Brown has slowed everything down for the Bobcats. But where Jason Richardson has the same number of attempts per minute, Wallace has made fewer attempts. Subjectively, that comes from Brown's offensive system, which is designed for someone like Richardson, who relishes taking shots off screens, and not someone like Wallace, who wants to fly at the rim. In fact, I feel like most of Gerald's offensive value is neutered when he has to play like Jason Richardson, whereas Richardson is still mostly himself when the system is built to let Gerald do his thing.

For four games in a row, including last night's disappointing loss to the Bucks, Wallace has shown flashes of Multiplicity, Crash, G-Force, but ultimately has come up flaccid. Last night, 2 points in fourth quarter. At Atlanta, 0 points in the second half. Against Dallas, 4 points in the fourth quarter. Against Orlando, 3 points in the fourth quarter. We have to go back to the Jazz game to see a glimpse of the Gerald Wallace who caused havoc in the paint.

I suspect it's because he's being instructed to be something he isn't. The same goes, to a lesser extent, for Adam Morrison, who has gotten fewer minutes even though he's been playing more and more like he did at Gonzaga. Adam Morrison is a gunner, plain and simple, and asking him to be, say, Hedo Turkoglu, is folly. Gerald Wallace is a slasher. Asking him to be Ron Artest (on the court) might seem to be a reasonable transformation, but it just isn't who he is.

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When the Zach Randolph deal went down, I figured the chances of landing Chris Kaman went down the tubes, since the Clips are looking for a shooting guard, now, instead of a power forward. And no one could possibly be dumb enough to take on Jason Richardson's contract, right? Right?

I'm not saying it makes sense for the Clippers, because they can get better value for Kaman (though possibly not better talent), but I'm just saying it's there.

As are different versions of the same tune.

The "We believe in Mike Taylor" edition.

The "We don't believe in Mike Taylor, which is why we got Mardy Collins" edition.

The "Get rid of our most explosive personality who could actually be a decent addition for the Bobcats on the court as the rich man's Shannon Brown" edition.

The "We believe in DeAndre Jordan and the Bobcats are really stacking up on big men, aren't they?" edition.