"Hey there guys, I'm Corey Maggette. I've always had the potential to be one of the most efficient offensive players in the league. That said, I'm not. Because I'm a terrible shooter and I will jack up millions of shots per game from a foot or two inside the three-point line. You know, the worst shot in basketball. Yeah. I'm also an abysmal defender! I don't show much effort, and I'm very open to fouling someone when they blow by me." - Corey Maggette, in my head
I think it's safe to assume that's what most of us think of when we work up the courage to think of Corey Maggette. Well, most of that is true.
When the Bobcats acquired Maggette, I felt like Darth Vader learning about Padme's whereabouts at the end of Episode 3. No? It was brutal. I felt like Cho had grabbed my heart with his little advanced stats-loving hands and ripped it out of my chest -- before telling Maggette it was a basketball, ensuring I'd never get it back.
Has that feeling changed? Somewhat. I still believe Maggette is the bane of the universe, but I've since come to accept that he is our bane of the universe.
The Bobcats haven't been a good offensive team since, well, ever. And if there's one thing Corey Maggette can do exceptionally well when focused, it's score. I can't fathom why he's averaged nearly 4.5 attempts per game from 16-23 feet over his career (about 1.7 go in). I can't. Maybe he thinks that one day, all of his bricks will undergo metamorphosis, emerging as delicate feathers that the winds of destiny will waft into the net. I don't want to understand his motives.
All I ask from Maggette is that he try. I want him to try to be what he's never been: a leader. He said all of the right things on his conference call after the trade: the words "leader" and "motivation" often came up. Sure, maybe he was just being professional and talking out of his ass. But something tells me he's serious. Something tells me that Paul Silas will get into Maggette's brain and rid him of the virus he's synonymous with. If there's one thing that I love about Silas, it's his ability to understand his players and motivate them.
And it won't be just Silas encouraging him to change. Maggette seems eager to change himself. Check out this excerpt from a Milwaukee blogger:
"The story of Maggette joining other Clippers players to pay for ex-coach Kim Hughes cancer treatments is heartwarming. The moment that stands out to me is at the end of a blowout home loss Maggette left the floor with Larry Sanders talking about the game. They sat on the bench together in the closing moments and Maggette was talking to Sanders about how to play the game. This looked like a conversation a coach would be having with a young player, but the veteran bonded with the rookie."
Doesn't that sound encouraging? Does that sound like the Maggette we know from Golden State? I don't think so.
He's going to average more than 18 points per game and nab 5 rebounds. That's a given. But I truly believe that he's capable of becoming a veteran leader on this rebuilding Bobcats squad.