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Blogcat's Take, 11/24

Wow, there’s a lot to take away from the Bobcats’ most recent performances...such as a desire to watch any more Bobcats games. Even though Saturday night’s win in Milwaukee was that rarest of rarities: a Charlotte blow-out of the opposition, I still felt the normal sense of queasy discomfort, because that Bucks’ starting lineup in straight-up tragic. Did you see their roster last night? Of course you didn’t; you were off doing more pleasurable things, like passing kidney stones. Let me read it to you: Milwaukee trotted out Ilyasova, Butler, Pachulia, Ridnour, and Mayo for the opening tip—holy moly! The cast of Hang Time had a better starting five than that group. Of course, the Bucks were missing potential superstar/actual knucklehead Larry Sanders, the guy they just committed $47M to, because he’s out for several weeks due to an injury sustained in a night club altercation (“altercation” and “exhaustion” have to be the two darkest celebrity euphemisms). With an expensive roster and a 2-10 record, the Bucks are essentially Brooklyn Midwest.

But let’s get to the positives—specifically this one: Jeff Adrien is absolutely killing it right now. In fact, if rebounds were flesh-eating zombies, Adrien would be a sensitive hillbilly’s crossbow. Finally freed from an inexplicable 4-game stretch of DNPs, Adrien has averaged 21.25 minutes in the 4 games since getting the call Monday night in Chicago. While his per-game numbers aren’t mouth-watering, his percentages are like Capri Sun packages of cherry-flavored speed. Adrien is currently grabbing rebounds at a 20.8% clip, good for third in the league among qualified centers. He’s particularly potent on the offensive end, in which I’ve seen him keep more possessions going than Satan. He had 5 huge ORBs in Wednesday’s win over Brooklyn, 3 of them in the fourth quarter. This is even more remarkable when you consider that he’s playing the 5-spot despite being just 6’7”. It’s not more remarkable when you consider that he has a Mohawk, in fact it’s probably less remarkable, but I thought I would mention it anyway, just because it’s always fun to consider Mohawks.

Anyway, the only drawback to Adrien’s game is that he can’t seem to finish those rebounds, as his shot chart tells us he’s only hitting 60% of his attempts in the paint, which is about average. Still, it’s a surefire upgrade from the man he’s replacing, Bismack Biyombo, who couldn’t finish a jelly donut after a 5-day fast. Plus, Adrien gets fouled on his attempts. I actually first noticed this in the preseason when I was checking in on Ramon Sessions, who seems genetically predisposed to getting fouled in the act of shooting. As I wrote in that preview, Adrien was 8th in the entire league last year in free throw rate among players with at least 50 games. That seemed like a weird aberration at the time, and while it might still be weird, it’s not an aberration, because Adrien’s getting to the line again this year on 55.6% of his field goal attempts. This is slightly behind last year’s 59.5% rate, but again, it must be great for him to see that what he’s doing isn’t a typo. Because of the offensive rebounds, the putbacks, and the fouls, he’s notched his PER all the way up to 20.3, which is behind only Al Jefferson for the team lead.

Meanwhile, on defense Adrien harasses like Clarence Thomas. Adrien’s leading the team in block rate and has the Bobcats’ defensive rating all the way down to 93.5 points/100 possessions when he’s on the court. He’s holding opponents to 51.9% shooting at the rim, which is ahead of guys like Serge Ibaka, Marcin Gortat, and pre-knee injury Marc Gasol.

What’s not to like with Jeff Adrien? I really hope there are no battered prostitutes in his past, because it’s all lollipops and mohawked unicorns with this guy, and I’m just tickled pink. Plus he means less Bismack Biyombo in our lives, and while Biyombo truly seems like a nice guy, I would hate Ghandi if he had a 10.7 PER and turned the ball over like it was contraband in a prison amnesty box. Adrien is a 6’7” bundle of awesome so far, and coach Clifford is doing the right thing by keeping him out there.

(Reminder: Please don’t forget to check out my e-book at the following link)


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