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Bobcats Frontcourt a Hairy Mess

Byron Mullens, who had vowed not to shave his beard until he had boxed someone out on a rebound, finally showed up clean-shaven in Saturday night’s loss to the Nuggets. That was about the only good news in the drama-free blowout, as Mullens had begun to resemble either a man who had crashed headlong into a beaver at 80 mph or an unusually tall hostage. And speaking of tall, white, underwhelming rebounders with experimental beard tendencies, Josh McRoberts made his debut for the Bobcats. I had forgotten to mention this about McRoberts when I recapped his acquisition on Thursday, but it’s definitely one of his positive traits. In fact, if there was such a thing as beard efficiency, McRoberts would be putting up LeBron numbers—he’s done every look from Unibomber mountain man to 6’10” marine. His hirsute strength makes up for his Twitter absenteeism—according to his account he’s still a member of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Unfortunately, until the next time Gana Diop decides to order at Whataburger, that’s about all the fun news I have to offer at this time. The Bobcats dropped two back-to-backs to the Nuggets and Bulls, and the Pistons loss prior to that one to make it a 3-peat. Both of these last two games illustrated the stark contrast between our frontcourt and the opponents’ frontcourt (as if we needed to see this again—it’s like an episode of Seinfeld at this point). If any of the Bulls’ Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and the loathsome Carlos Boozer, or the Nuggets’ Kenneth Faried, Kosta Koufas, and JaVale McGee played for us, they’d be immediate stars. All six are capable of finishing around the rim—Faried and McGee could probably alley-oop a shower of confetti—and Boozer and Gibson can drain 16-footers like knee fluid. Meanwhile our bigs finish like No Country For Old Men and whenever Bismack Biyombo manages to knock down a shot from further than 3 feet, Rick Bonnell feels compelled to tweet it.

Right now Biyombo, Brendan Haywood, and Jeff Adrien turn the ball over a ruinous 18.4%, 17.7%, and 15.5% of the time, respectively. If you’re looking at centers who’ve played at least 1,000 minutes this year, that makes Biyombo and Haywood the 5th and 6th worst in the league. Adrien’s air isn’t quite as rarefied, but if you’re talking about power forwards who’ve played at least 400 minutes (and who isn’t talking about that these days?), there he is at #9. It’s stats like these that help explain why Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Ramon Sessions feel compelled to drive to the hoop more than they should rather than take a chance with the bigs. It’s stats like these that explain why MKG, Walker, and Sessions are also subsequently ranked 8th, 9th, and 17th in the league at getting their shots blocked. It’s stats like these that explain why I frequently want to give up on the Bobcats forever and just go blog about Girls.

At least the Nuggets game was more entertaining than the Bulls game. The Nuggets and Bobcats combined for 38 fast break points and all of the dunking made for Tarantino-levels of cartoonish violence. The Bobcats were also marginally in the game—at least going into halftime, when they trailed by 6. The same could not be said of the game against Chicago, when the Bobcats put up a performance worthy of the Gong Show. In the decisive second quarter, the Bulls went on a 13-2 run to stretch a 10-point lead out to 21. Coach Dunlap called two full timeouts 1:30 apart in a desperate attempt to stop the bleeding, but what he really needed was a tourniquet, because the Bobcats were goners. I actually give more credit to the Bulls’ cohesiveness than the Bobcats’ ineptness, as Chicago can pass the ball like gas—they had 37 assists against us on Friday, including 8 by Noah, who can spot back-door cutters with Terminator-like vision. Still, the Bobcats shot 33% from the field, including a combined 4-for-32 from Mullens, Sessions, and Gerald Henderson. Mullens, who also shot 1-for-9 against Denver, was wide open enough to develop agoraphobia (maybe there’s a facial-hair cure for that). The Bobcats ended up losing by 30 for the third time this year—another 3-peat!

Charlotte now goes west to get their heads handed to them by the Clippers, Jazz, Kings, and Trailblazers, with the only question being if they’re shaven or unshaven.

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