Anything positive that came out of Sunday’s matinee affair is now soon to be forgotten after the Toronto Raptors laid another stinker last night in Charlotte.
Are you truly surprised though? In a season where the Raps have done nothing on a consistent basis except be inconsistent last night’s match-up was to be expected and far from surprising. It is however very frustrating to watch.
Trying to explain what is going on with this team is verging on impossible. One moment they look like they finally are putting things together and the next they are getting blown out by a team in the bottom third of the league. One game they are showing energy and hustle, the next they look completely disinterested. Nothing is consistent right now, not the starters, not the bench, and not even the jersey’s (which are hideous and must be discarded immediately) and it is really frustrating. Of course if it is frustrating for us fans it must be even more frustrating for the players, coach Triano and most importantly BC.
Frankly I couldn’t be happier that March Madness is right around the corner. Although the tournament is wildly unpredictable it is equally as entertaining. After watching the Raps put together an effort like they did last night it will be a breath of fresh air to watch these college kids put it all on the line when it matters.
Speaking of March Madness we at the HQ have just put together a bracket for our HQ community at Yahoo! Sports. The league id is 134101 and the password is RHQ. No $1,000,000 prizes, just the right to brag in the comments and a great place to smack talk Franchise when his Dukies lose.
Now, back to last night’s game. I don’t want to dwell on the Raptors performance but would rather point something out. Since their inception the Charlotte Bobcats have been a team is disarray. The team has had a tremendously difficult time connecting with the community despite drafting local kids and the product on the floor has not been very good. I have not seen many of their games and frankly I have a hard time remembering them when I do the weekly Blogger Power Rankings. Watching last night’s game however, it is clear that things could change pretty quickly in the heartland of basketball. After watching this Bobcats team last night it was readily apparent that this is not your typical Bobcats team.
This Bobcats squad is much better than they have ever been. Not only is their record better than it was last season but they are playing as a unit and putting up a fight for that last playoff spot. You need proof? Just watch mid-way through the fourth quarter when Gerald Wallace, with his team up by a large margin is throwing himself on the floor for loose balls. They have won 7 of their last 10 and are playing some of their best basketball of the season. In fact I actually like their chances of making the playoffs this year, but never would have imagined that earlier in the season.
Now, if they actually do make the playoffs could anyone actually claim they saw that coming given Larry Brown’s most recent history and in light of the full in season roster overhaul?
So what is happening in Charlotte? Although it is far from being the greatest turnaround in sports history (they are still well below .500) they are a team worth watching right now and to me it seems obvious why.
When Larry Brown came in he, Michael Jordan and Rod Higgins clearly had a plan. Coach Brown was going to come in, put in his style of play and dictate to Jordan and Higgins just what sort of players he wanted and could win with. As a result you witnessed players like Richardson, Carroll and Morrison being shipped out and players like Diaw, Diop and Bell being brought in.
Larry Brown clearly wants "Larry Brown" type players and the guys in charge of personnel are making that happen. Coach Brown is a Hall of Fame Coach, has a resume second to none and knows what it takes to win. His system is tried and true even if it isn’t for everyone and the management are making the moves to satisfy the Coach. Right now the results are positive and you shouldn’t be surprised by that.
What you should be surprised by is the fact that the Bobcats, led my Michael Jordan (who was slowly becoming known as a horrible evaluator of basketball talent), have their ducks in a row before the Raptors. Although the Charlotte roster is still flawed they are putting in a system that not only works but mirrors what most of the league’s great franchise’s do. Suddenly the Raptors don’t only need to be worried about building a roster that can one day compete with the Celts, Cavs and Magic, but also one that can compete against other up and coming teams including the oft forgotten Charlotte team.
I’m not suggesting that the Bobcats are going to take the NBA by storm, I am just saying that they have a plan and it seems to be working. It’s also a plan that I have been waiting for BC to put into place since he arrived. That’s more that what can be said right now in Toronto where nothing seems to be going quite right and there are Marc Iavaroni sightings.
Bryan Colangelo could learn a thing or two about what’s going on in Charlotte these days and that statement alone is even surprising then how badly things have gone for our beloved Raps this season.