The Big Picture: I'm guessing there's a good amount of Charlotte Panthers fan crossover here at Rufus on Fire*, so please forgive my indulgence of a football reference. I attended two NFL games this season, both 49ers games, one here in Charlotte and one in San Francisco against the Cardinals. In the first game, here in Charlotte, Alex Smith was bad. In the second game, at home in Week 17, he was beyond competent.
Here's the thing: Smith is a poor quarterback and a punch line, but I wouldn't categorize him as a terrible QB anymore. He's basically Jon Kitna at this stage of his career. Those games were perfectly in character for him -- both of them -- yet everyone remembers the truly abysmal QB he was early on, with truly abysmal teammates around him, so he might not get another chance to start, even though he's still only 26 years old.
Such is the power of first impressions and old prejudices, which every professional sports team, including the Bobcats, tries to overcome in seeking out the best players they can.
I've highlighted the Minnesota Timberwolves and their general manager, David Kahn, before because I think that organization is doing something extremely brave -- to the point that a good number of people interpret their actions as reckless. They're okay with losing now if it means they will win later, and they've fully committed to that course of action. Lots of teams have said they're rebuilding, but how many go so far as to dispense with basic roster construction in the search for talent? Furthermore, what have they done that's actually reckless? Was signing 25-year-old Darko Milicic to a 3-year, $14.3 million really a reckless thing to do? Trading Al Jefferson for two first-round draft picks and Kosta Koufos?
As noted in the previous post, they may not have chosen the best players available to them in the past couple drafts, but that's likely an issue of simply guessing incorrectly and not an issue of philosophy guiding them away from a player.
While I do admire the Wolves for going down this road, I don't know if it's a good idea for the Cats to follow. There are only so many shiny new players available, and no matter how much one can reason that Darko or Alex Smith is still young and has many more years of improvement and athletic prime ahead of him, there's still the matter of fear of being wrong, oh so epically wrong, and being mocked for not realizing that the first impression was, indeed, correct. Is it "better" or "worse" to screw up a situation that's already at rock bottom, or one that's on the fringes of playoff contention?
Musical Interlude: Bloc Party -- "I Still Remember"
Key to Victory: Rebounding. Kevin Love is a monster on the glass. If Dominic McGuire is going to prove himself an NBA-caliber power forward, he'll have to prove it against guys bigger, stronger, savvier, and just as quick as he is.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Love is shooting 42.5% from three this year. Yes, it's a Love-in.