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To Play or Not to Play? Benching Starters A Decision Coach Brown Has to Make

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I completely understand why Larry Brown hasn't told Emeka, Gerald, and Boris that they're shutting it down for the year so the others can get some NBA burn. Losing to the Bulls, 113-106, means absolutely nothing to the Bobcats, and, in a certain light, might actually be a positive, given the odds of winning the draft lottery depend on our record.

However, without talking with him or hearing anything about it, I suspect Brown is doing this out of a sense of fairness to the Bulls and Pistons. The Pistons wouldn't think it fair if the Cats' starters faced Detroit and then sat for Chicago. Flip it around, and Chicago gets upset, thinking there's nothing for Charlotte to play for, so are they just trying to beat 'em to screw 'em? Really, there's no "fair" way to do it.

But fairness has nothing to do with it. What's fair is showing up to the game and having the players in the game try their best. This is the deal we've all agreed upon. What's best for the Bobcats might be to sit their starters, especially the ones with injury histories, and give other players a brief opportunity to show what they can do against NBA talent in a way they can't show in practice.

In all likelihood, nothing adverse will happen in the New Jersey and Orlando games. However, there really is no reason to take even the slightest risk that Emeka tweaks his back. Or Gerald falls awkwardly and gets another concussion, or gets an elbow to the ribs just so.

Take 'em out, Coach Brown. See how Dontell Jefferson and Cartier Martin play when given 35 minutes.

(I don't know what's wrong with me. Must have been the really long week at work... The original version of this that was up for a few hours included text about playing Detroit again. There are no more games against Detroit. The last two games are at New Jersey and at Orlando.)