In June, Corey Maggette spoke with the media via conference call a few days after being traded to the Charlotte Bobcats.
Asked about his role on a team that looked to be developing youth, Maggette said he would embrace the role as the veteran leader.
I think it's a great opportunity, and when you're an older guy, I think it's your duty to actually be a leader, depending on if the coach asks you, but you're obligated to do that. You're obligated to lead because you have these younger guys that need the guidance. Like with Gerald, this is definitely a guy that needs guidance and he has the potential, as well as Kemba, D.J. and Bismack - you have to be a leader to help those guys. - Bobcats.com
That's beautiful. But it also doesn't mean anything if his actions don't back up his words or he misunderstands the role he needs to take.
And if he is given the offensive reins as Bobcats Head Coach Paul Silas has said, Maggette could be a major impediment to the development of this team's young core.
"We're going to rely on him to get it done for us, and he can." - Paul Silas
WARNING WARNING WARNING
That scares me a little. Yes, Corey Maggette is talented enough to drive an offense. But the Bobcats shouldn't rely on his scoring at every necessary turn.
In developing young players and a young team, they must be given the ball and forced to learn to fly in the tough situations on the court. With every failure or success, they gain more experience until they hopefully adjust or become consistent and come into their own.
If you give the keys to the offense to Corey Maggette and say "Hey, we're relying on you to score all the points ever, k?", you may be endangering the young players' development. They miss out on vital experience and you may be left with perhaps a couple more wins for a team that is sure to end up somewhere in the lottery.
Maggette will undoubtedly feel the need to take over in big situations. He will be best scorer on this team without a doubt. But it will be up to Silas to help Maggette understand that unless he lets the young guys have their hand at gaining invaluable court experience, he will never have the talent around him in Charlotte that will help them win more in the future if he hopes to stay and help this team become better as a veteran leader.
Further, Maggette is notoriously stingy with the ball on offense, sporting a shocking 11.3% AST% (estimated percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted while on the court). For comparison's sake, Stephen Jackson had an AST% of 18.4% last year. Unless Maggette makes a drastic change in his game, it doesn't look like he can help the young guys with effective ball distribution.'
I'm not saying Maggette should be relegated to not taking shots at all, but his role needs to be limited to engender an environment that can foster growth of the Bobcats Youth Movement (trademark pending).
This team is not a playoff squad, nor should it be. Corey Maggette may be the best offensive option the Bobcats have, but he cannot dominate possessions like he has in the past. It's up to Silas to define this role and to Maggette to accept or reject it.
"We've got to get these young guys to understand this system of basketball. They didn't play summer league, so they don't really understand illegal defense and things like that," Maggette said.
"It's kind of up to me, and Paul and Stephen, to get the team together to do the things we need to do." - CO