The Charlotte Bobcats are currently enduring what could end up being their worst season in franchise history. What exactly can the Raptors learn from a team like that? The HQ takes a look at how the Bobcats are dealing with their struggles, and how the Dinos could benefit from a similar mindset.
It is no secret that the Charlotte Bobcats have struggled mightily this season. On Friday night they mercifully put to an end their 16-game losing streak with a win over the Raps; this also happened to be just their 4th win of the season.
These facts aside, there is somewhat of an optimistic feel about the Cats' young core and their potential for growth moving forward. Perhaps part of that has to do with the way their two rookies played on Friday night, but it also is has a great deal to do with the way those players handle themselves, and to a larger degree, how the coach is handling this team of youngsters.
"the coach just tries to stay positive, keeps the team positive" Rookie center Bismack Biyombo said after the game Friday "He said one time, good things happen when you don't expect it. I really take those words in every time I step on the court"
Kemba Walker echoed those positive sentiments about Coach Paul Silas, and added that "Coach has been nothing but great at keeping us positive and making sure that we don't get down."
Gerald Henderson also had something similar to say, noting that "Coach is good at that. He is always good at keeping things positive."
On a young team like the Bobcats the influence the Head Coach has is of the upmost importance. Under the tutelage of Paul Silas the Bobcats haven't had a great season record wise, yet the players have kept their heads high and have gone to work, understanding that this is a process that is going to take a while to develop and will ultimately turn their team around for the better. It is important for them to take their lumps this season, in order to reap the benefits in the future and that is something that these players understand.
A big part this whole process is having an understanding of the role each player has to play within the team concept; again, this is something that these young Bobcat players seem to have a grasp on.
"That's my job, that's what I need to do for my team to win games" Biyombo said when speaking of his role as a rebounder and defender on the team "If the coach needs me to do that than that is what I'll do. If the coach needs me to do something else I am going to do what the coach says"
Henderson also stressed the importance of the team unit as a whole. "We have a good group of guys, nobody on this team has a bad attitude, and we just have to stick together"
This clear cut understanding of each player's role is central in order for young team to move forward in their development.
This is something that the Raptors have struggled with in the past, and to a degree, are still struggling with when you look at the ways the Raptors have experimented with a number of players, including James Johnson and Andrea Bargnani who both seem to be just settling into their roles now.
When you look at things from this perspective there are definitely a few things the Raptors could learn from the way the Bobcats have handled their season. Although these two teams are separated by 5 wins in the standings, they are both very much in a similar situation.
At this point the Raptos are probably the more talented team and certainly have the brighter future, yet they are going to need to learn how to properly endure the same things that the Bobcats are currently growing through in order to see that bright future become a reality. For the the next couple seasons--the current campaign included--the Dinos are going to be facing the tough task of trying to develop their young talent, and establish a winning culture while incurring a number of losses in the process.
At this particular juncture it is tough to say how things are progressing. With nature of the schedule in this lockout shortened season it has been much harder to gauge both the overall talent of the team, as well as the development of certain individual players. With the lack of training camp and practice time it has also been a challenge for Dwayne Casey to teach and put his stamp on this team.
With this in mind, the true test will come next season when the Raptors will add both Jonas Valanciunas and another lottery pick from the upcoming draft, a situation similar to the Bobcats adding both Walker and Biyombo to the mix this season. There is no doubt that the Dinos will be a better team next season, but with more of their young pieces in place and their coach of the future in Casey, it will finally be time for the Raptors to develop what they have and try and turn things around; and when this time comes it will be crucial that the players stick together, fill their roles and buy into what Coach Casey is preaching.
How will the Raptors deal with this rebuilding process? That remains to be seen. Although based on what we have seen so far, maybe the Raptors could learn a thing or two from the way the Bobcats are handing themselves this season, because in the end, they may be a stronger team for it.