Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo(!) Sports checks in with a scolding piece on Bob Johnson, and includes this charming anecdote illustrating Brown's management style:
For someone to suggest that Brown hasn’t gotten his way already, though, would be erroneous. On draft night in June, sources said, Jordan and general manager Rod Higgins had decided to take Stanford 7-footer Brook Lopez with the ninth pick. There was even a call made out of the Charlotte war room to send word to Lopez’s representatives that commissioner David Stern would soon be calling his name at Madison Square Garden.
Despite the fact that Texas point guard D.J. Augustin never worked out for the Bobcats, Brown still wanted to pick him. He was down on Raymond Felton, the ex-Tar Heel guard, and used the final moments until the pick was due to lobby his bosses for Augustin.
Emphasis mine. Let it sink in for a moment. The story may be factually true. It may be factually only half true. It may be a load of horse manure, on a technical, mechanical, level. But the truth of the anecdote is that Larry Brown, in order to get his way, will do anything, including draft a diminutive point guard he'd never worked out and a 20 year old, 7 foot tall, French swingman he'd seen in person once.
I read this story as a power play. The obvious move that everyone in the whole damn world expected was to draft Brook Lopez. If you're down on Felton, that's fine and a fair opinion, given the way coaches have struggled to work with him his whole career, but D.J. Augustin's track record was not indicative of someone who would certainly displace Felton right away, or ever be much of an improvement in the True Point Guard sense. I joke with friends that Augustin's ceiling was Damon Stoudamire when he got drafted, and now that preseason's over, I'm placing his ceiling at Eddie House, but that's a bitter joke.
With Brook Lopez sharing time at center with Mohammed, and Okafor moving over from power forward when going smaller, this would have been a playoff contender. Felton, Richardson, Wallace, Okafor, and Lopez. All in "natural" positions.
But what utterly kills me--makes me want to shout at the "reporters" slobbering over Brown--is embarrassing BS like this:
When I got the job I told Michael and (GM) Rod (Higgins) that we needed three point guards that could bring the ball up against the press, one of them with size. We needed two small forwards that could defend. And we needed five big guys and try to make them as athletic as possible...
In one sentence, he asked for ten players. Ten! Not only that, but he asked for five big guys, and considering that the roster going into the draft had only two "real" big men, in Okafor and Mohammed, that could reasonably be counted on for the season, it boggles the mind how he could agitate against picking Lopez. May's defining feature is his brittleness. Davidson and Hollins, as much as I love their energy and see how they could be fun teammates, are ultimately fringe NBAers in conventional basketball systems. I mean, they worked out Justin Williams, for Kobe's sake.
We need levity. The season starts in a week. It's the final countdown.