Raja Bell Out for Up to Four Months; Bring On Gerald Henderson!

Say Raja Bell really is out four months. That's not the worst thing in the world. I'm guessing a majority of the reputable stat-crunchers out there would say it won't have much of an impact on the Bobcats' results this season, simply because there's only a remote chance the Bobcats are a force this year.

However, the potentially good news is that we could get a better look at Gerald Henderson sooner rather than later. I've long been on record with the position that for where Charlotte is in their success cycle, if a rookie isn't totally embarrassing on the floor, he needs to play right away so we can get a fuller idea of his capabilities.

Let's read the tea leaves and see if that'll happen.

 

First, it's established that Larry Brown has an unhealthy predilection for rookie suppression. Even if a young player isn't quite as good as a veteran player, there are ample reasons to play the youngster over the vet in certain contexts. For instance, on a team with zero championship aspirations and another young piece of the core in the back court, it might be prudent to get those guys playing together as often as possible so that they are symbiotic when the team does make a charge through the playoffs. Brown will play rookies big minutes, but only, it seems, when there's no real choice to be made. That bodes ill for Henderson, since Ronald Murray is around, shin issues notwithstanding.

However -- and this is something a lot of coaches do, not just Brown -- it's possible Henderson will start games in Bell's absence so as not to disrupt the "roles" everyone else has been assigned. This is a real long shot, especially since it's the start of the season and "roles" haven't really been established, but bear with me. Say Brown has determined that D.J. Augustin is the PG off the bench and Flip is the first SG off the bench. Well, he might simply keep those guys in those "roles" and start Henderson at the SG spot. The start, itself, isn't really important, as much as the minutes Henderson might get, and with Murray's ability to play both guard spots and Brown's willingness to play Raymond Felton alongside Augustin last year, Henderson might still see only a few minutes per game, even if he gets to be put in the spotlight and high five everyone during pregame introductions.

If Murray's out for an extended period, that will force Brown's hand, since he can't play Augustin and Felton together the entire game, and Vladimir Radmanovic isn't a real SG.

The key, for at least this fan, is admitting that this season isn't about winning a championship; it's about building toward winning a championship, and the team should do what's best for that goal.

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