One of the more lasting images that I’ve taken from 90’s era NBA basketball was of Michael Jordan at the foul line. That’s mostly because he spent so much time there. A particular broadcaster, I don’t remember who, extolled Jordan for his willingness to draw shooting fouls when his jump shot wasn’t falling. The ability to manufacture points, as it was called, has become a specialty in the NBA. Free throws are so highly valued that some players appear to focus on little else. Indeed, drawing fouls is the hallmark of every Larry Brown team.
The broadcaster, I believe, was praising Jordan for his creativity and veteran savvy. The metaphor of "manufacturing" points, however, speaks less to intelligence and more to will. The value of free throws is obvious, and Jordan was simply doing what he always did. He was refusing to yield.
As fans of the 2-6 Bobcats – a team that’s yet to completely detach itself from the phrase "expansion" – we’re often forced to manufacture points of our own. We’re willing to find the good in a team that looks really bad. Many, if not most, seem to have found more comfort in home losses to the Magic and the Spurs than in our two victories on the road. That seems completely antithetical to expectations. Given last season’s record, we should expect to win our home games and be delighted with any win on the road. This sentiment, however, speaks to a fan base that’s refusing to yield. We lost a tough one to San Antonio, but the way we played was indicative of good process. Sure the starters didn’t play well, but we finally have a bench!
I don’t bring this up to mock or cajole, but rather to share. I’m no stranger taking joy in the good things despite the Bobcats’ record. I don’t shy away from criticizing D.J. Augustin, but I’m quite happy that he’s our starting point guard instead of Jose Calderon. I even suggested that trading Boris Diaw for Devin Harris would have been a bad idea. I high five anyone within arms length every time DeSegana Diop gets a block. The Bobcats may be losing, but do we stop watching? No, we don’t. There’s no reason to stop. Gerald Wallace is still a chaotic wonder. Stephen Jackson is an incomparable badass and the up and down narrative of D.J. Augustin is infinitely watchable. I was planning on asking readers to share what they like about the team this season despite the record, but there's no need. You're already doing it, and you'll continue to do it. That's just what fans do.