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Posting Up: Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Bobcats aren't terrible anymore
Ohio University’s mascot isn’t the only Bobcat named Rufus cheering on an exciting basketball team this season. The Charlotte Bobcats have the same mascot that Ohio has, and the two human-sized, furry Bobcats even share the same name.
That’s about where the comparisons end though. While Ohio had a great season last year, Charlotte locked up the worst winning percentage in NBA history; the Bobcats won .106 percent of their games. Charlotte went 7-59, barely edging out the ’72-’73 Philadelphia 76ers and their .123 winning percentage to be the worst team ever.
However, Charlotte has already won as many games as it did all of last season. The Bobcats are sitting (kind of) pretty with a 7-9 record and their rookie head coach, Mike Dunlap, is the NBA coach of the year thus far.
Kemba Walker, the Bobcats’ starting point guard, has really come into his own this season. After struggling with a dismal roster last year in his rookie season, Walker is averaging 16.3 points and 5.9 assists this season. He looks like a good draft pick after all.
That’s not something that fans have been able to say about Charlotte’s draft picks ever since Michael Jordan took over the basketball decisions for the team as a minority owner in 2006. Jordan became majority owner of the Bobcats in 2010. Just this past offseason, MJ relieved himself of the GM duties and hired Rich Cho as his replacement.
Jordan drafted Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison, and Brandon Wright in the top 10 in his career as a GM. Those are all busts. He also traded the 20th overall pick to the Nuggets for Alexis Ajinca (no, that’s not a woman) in 2010. No one knows where that dude is now, he’s probably back in France enjoying a crêpe as you read this.
But, back to this year’s Bobcats. They acquired Ramon Sessions, who’s averaging 16 points a game, in the offseason and he’s proven to be electric off the bench. Ben Gordon is throwing in about 14 points a game. This year’s draft picks, UK’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Vandy’s Jeff Taylor, actually look to be solid picks.
Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 10.9 points a game; he’s also grabbing 6.5 boards per contest. Taylor, who looks to have been a big steal at the 31st overall pick, is contributing well off the bench, averaging about eight points a game.
The most important aspect of the Bobcats’ success (yes, it is success, even at 7-9) is the emergence of Walker as a premier point guard.
Anyone who watched him at UCONN knows that he has the skills to take a game over. Walker basically carried the Huskies on his back, with the occasional help of Jeremy Lamb and Alex Oriakhi, to the 2011 NCAA National Championship. Former Pittsburgh big man Gary McGhee is still icing his ankles from the okey-doke Walker put on him in the 2011 Big East Tournament. So, it's nice to see him playing well in the NBA.
The Bobcats have a respectable team, and it’s fun to watch. After all, it was hard to watch the best basketball player of all time be the worst GM of all time.
MJ is starting to gain back his self-confidence. He recently refused to leave a golf course in Miami after club pros told him that he was breaking the dress code by wearing cargo shorts. His Airness proceeded to finish his round after being asked to leave, of course. When they told him that he is banned from ever playing the course again, Jordan mentioned that he didn’t care.
That’s the attitude the Bobcats have taken under Walker’s lead. If you still think they stink, they don’t care, because they know that they don’t. The Bobcats are going to wear their cargo shorts, whether you like it or not.