Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
The Charlotte Bobcats have little to no interest in competing this season. It's all a part of the plan. So what should the Bobcats do instead of fighting for wins? Explore the outer limits of what is "basketball," of course.
In lieu of a wholly depressing preview of the Charlotte Bobcats, let's just say I slotted them No. 6 in the Southeast and No. 16 in the East. (They are just that bad.) Similarly, in lieu of a wholly depressing season, the Charlotte Bobcats should set about exploring as many basketball gimmicks as possible in an effort to further develop the sport.
The Bobcats are in Year 2 of Rich Cho's implementation of the Presti Plan, in which a team dissembles down to as close to bare land as possible and rebuilds through the draft. The Cats now have one (1) top-five pick -- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist -- and need about two or three more. That means the team needs to be awful. So Charlotte shall be awful. Moves were made to have something like a basic roster that hits the league's salary floor while allowing Cho flexibility to take on bad deals sweetened with draft picks. All the while, the young players will develop in a relative vacuum, much like Kevin Durant in Seattle in 2007-08.
But 82 games, that's a lot of development time. And the coach is a rookie, too: St. John's assistant Mike Dunlap (yes, he was most recently an assistant in college, which should set all of the cliché "bad coach" alarms off at the same time) is acclimating to the NBA. This is really the perfect opportunity to experiment. Word is the Bobcats will run the full-court press a non-negligible amount. What else should they try?
* Surprise! Press. Instead of running a traditional full-court or three-quarter-court press, the Bobcats should act like they aren't going to press and run back on defense. Then Dunlap should yell "surprise!" and all of the Bobcats should immediately press. I want to see the look on Chris Paul's face when this happens.
* Offensive Full-Court Press. Here's how you flip the script. Instead of having two players participate in bringing the ball up the court, keep all five players back. You could do all sorts of things with the extra 45 feet of space. How about a Byron Mullens-Kemba Walker pick-and-roll from the opponents' free throw line? That's innovation. A staggered double-screen to free up Gerald Henderson at midcourt? That's innovation. The Flying V with Tyrus Thomas dribbling up the middle? That's innovation. Get outside the halfcourt box you've put yourselves in, Charlotte.
* Cam Cam. Cam Newton will invariably attend many Bobcats games once the Panthers' season ends in December. The Bobcats should station a sideline reporter next to Cam. When Dunlap is a little tired, he should call out "Cam cam!" really loud. The camera will cut to Newton, the reporter will shove a microphone in his face, and Cam will call out the next play. (God, I hope he calls out a suprise offensive full-court press when the Bobcats are already in the halfcourt. Tyrus Thomas will be so confused!) This will be awesome, and everyone is going to request a trade to the Panthers (and away from the Bobcats).
* Isolation Defense. Why let the opponent dictate when to clear out one side of the floor and run a one-on-one play? When the Bobcats want to goad an offensive player into an isolation play, they should proactively clear the paint while the defender taunts the man with the ball. I recommend doing this to DeShawn Stevenson, Marco Belinelli, Jordan Crawford and Nick Young. There's no need to do it to Kobe Bryant, because seriously.
* Quadruple Post (Square) Offense. If the triple post aka Triangle offense is so special it won 11 titles, why can't the quadruple post aka Square offense work? The real innovation is deciding what to do with the fifth man. One prototype has the fifth wheel personally delivering the ball to each corner of the offense. Passes that are not hand-offs are huge turnover risks! I encourage Dunlap to make great gains in the development of this scheme. It's a ticket to the Hall of Fame, honestly.
* 4 Seconds or Less. I don't see anything in the NBA rulebook banning jetpacks or those sneakers with tiny wheels that pop out. Just sayin'.
* Jordan Rules. Everyone shaves their heads, wears Jordans and sticks their tongues out on every offensive play.
* Deep Post Offense. Every defensive rebound and inbounds under the opponents' hoop is a baseball pass. Even if there are no teammates in the frontcourt yet. PICK IT UP, BYRON.