Ben Swanson, the managing editor of Rufus On Fire -- SB Nation's official Charlotte Bobcats blog -- answered five questions about Tuesday's game between the Boston Celtics and Bobcats. Questions in bold, answers are below.
For those who aren't paying attention to the Charlotte Bobcats this season, all they have to go off of to gauge their success is their record. And it isn't good ... at all. At 3-21, the Bobcats appear to be horrendous. Is this team as bad as its record says it is, and what has gone wrong for this squad in 2011-12?1)
Swanson: This team is as bad as its record, though it's not without circumstantial problems. Injuries have robbed the team of its top three scorers (D.J. Augustin, Gerald Henderson and Corey Maggette), but they've still been pretty bad with them. They're certainly better with those players than without them. However, they have played about as well as you'd expect on a nightly basis with who they put on the court. One cannot just blame injuries for their problems though. The most glaring problems are simply a lack of talent and they have gotten inconsistent play from everyone.
Kemba Walker seems to be one of the lone bright spots. Obviously, the UConn star flourished in the college game and appears to be on his way to a successful NBA career. Do you believe Walker is the Bobcats' star of the future, and is he someone that Charlotte can build around?
Swanson: I wouldn't go as far as calling Walker a star. I think he can certainly be quite good at the NBA level, He's very good at taking opponents off the dribble and creating his own shot, but isn't consistently hitting those shots yet. His passing isn't quite there, but it's developing. I don't think he's the guy to build around, but I think he could be the Russell Westbrook to someone else's Kevin Durant down the road, or something along those lines.
It's not usually a good thing when the most well known member of the team is the owner. Then again, not every team has Michael Jordan as an owner. In your opinion, how has Jordan done in his time as the team's owner. Can he be as successful as an owner as he was as a player?
Swanson: Jordan as an owner has been both good and bad, I guess. He's made the team much more marketable for sponsors, which is HUGE. Before he came aboard, the was a company called Spongetech that did a bunch of advertising during Bobcats games. MJ brought in many more reputable sponsors and made the team much more encouraging on that front. But in the basketball aspect, it's not difficult to say he's been mediocre. I'm glad he's taking the steps to go into full-fledged rebuilding mode and that he brought in Rich Cho as GM. But I still worry about the future of the franchise just because of its drafting history and how much the team's future will reside in how well they draft come July. I think he can be successful as an owner, but I think he needs to go a little more hands-off.
How close are the Bobcats to being successful again? Are they one or two good players away, or is this going to be a lengthy rebuilding process? Do you have hope for the immediate future?
Swanson: The Bobcats are a few years off of being successful, easy. They need to be much smarter than they have been. That means no giving Matt Carroll $4-5 million/year. No trading for DeSagana Diop. That means drafting well. They need to get a franchise-quality player in this coming draft. They simply can't afford to whiff in this draft. Once that happens, it'll take another year for him to develop some more and the team to get some more quality talent around him. So yeah, I'd say it's another couple years off, assuming they don't screw the pooch, which is also quite possible.
Prediction time. Instead of asking who you think will win, we'll rephrase the question: how many points will Charlotte lose by on Tuesday? 10? 20? More?
Swanson: I'd guess the Bobcats drop this one by 20 or more points. I'm guessing Rondo will frustrate Kemba, while the Celtics kill Reggie Williams by running Ray Allen around hundreds of screens. Paul Pierce will eviscerate Tyrus Thomas at the 3 (yes, Tyrus plays small forward, more often than I'd like, I might add). I just can't see it being close.