It's good to see Rick Bonnell back writing for the Observer and throwing some fastballs. Beat writer coverage is still essential to the modern sports fan experience, and Bonnell is one of the good writers who also writes commentary based on the experience of seeing more home and road games in person than just about anyone. I saw every home game and three road games in person last season, all on my own dime. Bonnell saw way more than that in person.
Obviously, I disagree with several of his statements, which astute commenters pointed out to him: Okafor did improve upon his rookie season, was arguably better than Chandler over the past few years, and was inarguably healthier last season, which is the most important season when weighing a player's skills and abilities. (Move on, David. It's over. Move on...)
But most interesting is that Bonnell kind of skirts around the question of whether or not the Bobcats are purely dumping salary for this season, a la the Grizzlies.
Right now, they have twelve players signed, and must have a thirteenth, per the CBA. That guy will probably be Raymond Felton. However, they don't have a legit backup power forward. As of now, the team is looking at a committee approach headed by Vladimir Radmanovic, the two centers, Diop and Mohammed (with Chandler at PF), and 2nd round rookie Derrick Brown. Obviously, this is less than ideal.
But there are other solutions. First, if they're only going to carry thirteen, then Derrick Brown will have the opportunity of a lifetime. No one else specifically fits the position, and ten minutes per game for a 2nd round rookie is gold. Alexis Ajinca should see some playing time, but his horrific showings last year don't exactly inspire optimism, so Brown's the first choice. Say they carry fourteen players, though, and there are, literally, dozens of guys available who would play for the minimum and probably not embarrass themselves. Some would be terrible, but bringing guys in one after the other and seeing if anyone sticks is the best way to sift through that kind of talent pool.
Here are a few prominent guys who fit the description:
I can't find whether or not the Raptors actually control him, or if Hedo Turkoglu's contract will push him out. If he is available, he'll be a prime end-of-bench target for a lot of teams, since he's an energy guy with fantastic athleticism and a good work ethic (I don't know that for sure; just what I gather from reports on him). However, the Cats might be a frontrunner for his services since they can offer him the opportunity to compete for those ten minutes per game with just the one 2nd round rookie.
A big time rebounder, Benson was also a scorer after joining the D-League's Reno franchise last season. Unfortunately for him, he may be too curious and smart for his own good, since his foray into writing for Yahoo! is the kind of thing that exposes generation gaps and misunderstandings about character. He's got the game, but will an NBA team see him as a potential contributor or a potential contributor who would publish sordid, sacred, details about the experience if it doesn't work out?
Last season for Golden State, Kurz played nominal small forward and a little power forward. (They don't really abide by no stinkin' positions in Oakland.) I have no idea what his defense is like, or if he can pass, or if he's got much athleticism (though I assume he's got some, since I saw him play once and Don Nelson brought him aboard), but I do know that the dude shot threes at about a 39% clip, and that could be very useful on a team that employs Gerald Wallace at the three and might see a lot of Gerald Henderson at the two.
Open rosterbation thread: Who's your white whale for the end of the bench?