Everyone and their brother with a sports show last year wanted to tell us all how disgusting it was that the Charlotte Bobcats would deliver such an obvious tank-job to NBA fans on a nightly basis.
They chastised Charlotte management before the draft lottery, then laughed and praised the basketball gods when the ‘Cats were “awarded” the second pick in the 2012 draft.
More than halfway through the 2013 season, it’s a wonder those righteous talking sports heads haven’t taken up their crusade to end tanking again this year.
After all, not much has changed in the Cable Box since last season.
Charlotte is still awful at basketball.The Bobcats still have a coach that, if he were on the open market this off season, would not find a head coaching spot on any other team. They’re still clearly looking to build through the draft (plenty of trade opportunities they either passed up or did not pursue), and it’s pointless to build a team that way without the guarantee of some high picks in the future.
And how can you guarantee yourself high draft picks (short of a crazy trade which the ‘Cats can’t make, because they don’t have much worth trading) without playing terrible basketball?
Before I go any further with this, I must point out the following: I’m not one of those people who thinks tanking is the worst thing in the world and that teams should be fined out of existence for sucking in the present to get better in the future.
So when I say I’m convinced that the Bobcats are tanking again this season, there’s no anger in my words. If that’s how GM Rich Cho wants to build his team, more power to him.
But why am I so convinced the ‘Cats are throwing this season in the tank?
Teams that are trying to win don’t play Byron Mullens 30+ minutes a game. Teams that are trying to win don’t play Tyrus Thomas at all (let alone 15 minutes a game). Teams that are trying to win don’t start Gerald Henderson, Mullens, Bismack Biyombo, or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (no offense to the last two. They’re getting better, but they’re still two of the youngest players in the league).
All those players are trying to win. No one can convince me otherwise. But as a combination… As a team… Those players just can’t win.
That’s on management. And they know it.
This year’s draft, in my eyes, is deep one-through-five. Whoever Charlotte drafts with their (most likely) top-four pick will end up, at the very least, playing a very successful NBA career as an above average contributor off the bench.
So let Charlotte tank.
If it works out, and they draft the next great NBA super-star, no one will remember how angry they were to begin with.
If it doesn’t, things will get so bad in Charlotte that it will be impossible to tell whether the ‘Cats just stink, or are tanking, for the next five years.