Wait, what's this? The Bobcats beat a team they were supposed to beat, again? One could get used to this.
There were a couple hairy moments, but the Cats' 101-89 win over the Wizards was never really in doubt. The Wiz are missing defense all around, and a real point guard to facilitate. Thus, they're terrible, despite Caron Butler's and Antawn Jamison's continued offensive excellence. When they get DeShawn Stevenson back to be a plus defender on the perimeter, and if they can get a defensive-minded big man to play alongside Jamison (Etan? Haywood?), and a real point guard to make sure everyone else is able to do his thing, they'll be back in the playoff hunt.
Because none of these guys plays much defense, I'm a little reticent to draw hard conclusions, but it was the kind of win I associate with the Bobcats. By that I mean that no one really stood out points-wise, but the five starters each contributed a good chunk of offense. Notably, VladRad was 5-10 from three, and Augustin was 4-7 from beyond the arc. Also, Emeka had another quietly dominant game, with 16 points and 13 rebounds, in the process helping put Songaila and McGee in foul trouble by the third quarter.
When this squad is at full strength, Augustin, Martin, Radmanovic, and Diop could make for a flexible rotation group, with Howard taking a few minutes here and there. Augustin can produce from either guard spot. Martin is a two/three swing man. And VladRad slides between the three/four. If there's any indictment of how far Carroll and Morrison had fallen, it's that Cartier Martin, a guy signed out of the D-League (essentially, off the street) is doing everything they could do for a fraction of the cost and contract status headache.
Normally, I don't care about such things much, but the whole Mo Williams Was Snubbed thing bothers me to no end. He wasn't snubbed; he just had the best player in the league lobbying for him.
Here are four Eastern Conference point guards and their per36 numbers. Two are on playoff teams, one is on a team that won't make the playoffs, and one is on a team that's in the grey area. Three never even sniffed the All Star Game this year. Tell me which one is best. Answers after the jump.
Minutes, Pts, Ast, Stl, TO
A: 1798 / 15.9 / 6.4 / 1.3 / 2.5
B: 1404 / 17.8 / 5.0 / 1.3 / 2.6
C: 1744 / 16.5 / 5.6 / 1.5 / 1.8(!)
D: 1716 / 17.9 / 4.3 / 0.8 / 2.5
Obviously, you can't judge confidently just on this surface look, but by the most important stats, per minute, Mo Williams just doesn't stand out as a great point guard this year. If you couldn't tell, Williams is Point Guard D.
Point Guard C is Mike Bibby. His resurgence is a little shocking, I know. He's taking care of the ball, too, which goes against his rep a bit.
Point Guard B is T.J. Ford. I didn't realize he was pouring it in so well this year, either.
Point Guard A is Andre Miller. If the Sixers make the playoffs, Miller's performance and leadership will be a big part of it, and Williams's inclusion on the All Star team will look sillier.