We've got the Charlotte Bobcats tonight, and thus, I had to take advantage of the opportunity to chat with David Arnott of Rufus on Fire, a fellow SBN blog that provides some of the most comprehensive analysis you'll find on them internets. David also writes for SportingNews.com, specifically at First Cuts, so feel free to check out his work there as well. Head over to Rufus on Fire to see my answers to his questions. But for now, read what David had to say:
TDS: The Dream Shake are huge fans of D.J.Augustin. How would you evaluate his play thus far? Do you think he and Raymond Felton can play together, or do you see one of them moving on? If so, who?
DA: Felton is mostly redundant with Augustin on board. The thing about him is that he's clearly the better offensive player right now, but still has a long way to go defensively. Think of Damon Stoudemire in his prime. Felton's career up until now has been defined by coaches not knowing what to do with him, because there's this weird idea out there that he's good enough a scorer to be an off guard at times. Felton will leave after either this season or next, whether they let him go or he's traded. If he's around next year, DJ will probably start the majority of the games.
TDS: You've been winning at a much higher rate with Raja Bell and Boris Diaw.
What areas of the Bobcats' game did trading J-Rich for Bell and Diaw help
DA: Bell has staved off decline and continued to shoot the lights out, but Diaw has actually expanded his game to include a ridiculous amount of three pointers. In sum, Richardson and Diaw probably bring the same amount of production to the table, but Bell is WAAAAAY better than the motley crew filling in the other big man spot next to Emeka Okafor: Nazr Mohammed, Sean May, Linton Johnson... Ouch. There's also plenty of reason to believe that, on offense, Diaw makes Okafor much better because he's able to pass exceptionally well.
TDS: Is Alexis Ajinca ever going to amount to anything?
DA: One day, he might be the ninth man on a terrible team. He's unequivocally the worst draft pick of the first round this year, and that includes Joe Alexander, Serge Ibaka, and JR Giddens.
TDS: Let's be honest - how much longer do you expect Larry Brown to stay with
Charlotte? How do you think he has done thus far?
DA: He's going to stick around long enough to make the playoffs, and he'll leave before it becomes clear to everyone that they can't go any farther. That probably means he's done after two more seasons. His biggest contribution has been to make the team totally professional. Under Sam Vincent, the Cats didn't have a coherent offensive system, let alone a defensive system, and now there's a real plan when they take the floor. He's been a net plus, but there's something of a conflict between what's best for the franchise long term and what Brown is capable of doing, given his age.
TDS: What are Charlotte's plans with Gerald Wallace? Do they plan to trade
him, or are they going to try to somewhat build around him and Okafor?
DA: I'm scared they're going to trade Wallace for a player who more closely hews to the Larry Brown brand of ball, but who isn't nearly as productive or talented. They're more likely to trade Crash than Okafor because Emeka is the kind of hard working defensive stopper that Brown likes, whereas Gerald has a reckless streak that would have pushed the old Brown over the edge and merely gives ulcers to the mellower Brown we've got now. If it were up to me, I'd keep both and try to fit Emeka into Gerald's style instead of the other way around, but I completely understand that one or the other might get traded in the name of fully committing to a single style.
Thanks again to David.