CHARLOTTE NC - DECEMBER 07: Tyrus Thomas #12 of the Charlotte Bobcats reacts to scoring against the Denver Nuggets during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on December 7 2010 in Charlotte North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that by downloading and/or using this Photograph User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
The Bobcats got a solid win last night, pushing their record to 8-13, and there were four main takeaways:
1 -- Gerald Wallace got to the free throw line for double-digit attempts. One major pillar of Larry Brown's offensive philosophy that I love is the notion that getting to the rim is a primary goal because that's where shots are easiest, and because it leads to more fouls on the opponent, and more free throws. Wallace, more than anyone else on the team, has the proven set of skills required to get to the rim and pile up those free throws. He ought to take a page from Corey Maggette's playbook, take fewer threes (yes, Wallace takes more, per minute, than Maggette) and bowl into the lane more often.
2 -- D.J. Augustin has been a starting-caliber point guard through 21 games, and there really isn't much more he can do to prove himself beyond keep on keeping on. Remarkably, he's become a very different offensive player from the one we saw his rookie year. That season, he played a good deal alongside Raymond Felton, was exceptional from three-point range, mediocre initiating the offense and distributing the ball, and downright horrible when he took the ball inside of sixteen feet. Now? He's taking and making(!) more shots at the rim, running the offense with reasonable precision, and his three-point shooting has dropped off to exactly league-average.
While his defense may never inch into positive production, he's a good enough offensive player that it likely won't be worth the cost to replace him, since he's still on his rookie contract and will likely produce surplus value through the end of the 2012-13 season (changes to the CBA negotiations may alter that assessment).
3 -- They played the Nuggets game at a 93.5 pace factor, which is higher than their season average, but which was also likely pulled up by the Nugs' second-fastest pace (96.4 for the season). Which is to say: LB is full of crap.
4 -- Tyrus Thomas played 15:22. He left the game with 2:11 to go in the fourth quarter, so if healthy he would have maxed out at 17:33, which is insane for a plus-plus defender who is shooting 52% from the field, 84% from the free throw line, and in that game had shot 6-8 from the field with 4 rebounds. Furthermore, what kind of crazy does it take to use a Thomas-Boris Diaw front line in crunch time, the most important minutes of the game, but refuse to maximize Thomas's minutes in favor of known mediocrities during the rest of the game? Thomas isn't performing so well because he's playing so few minutes; he's playing so few minutes in spite of his stellar play, and it's apparently too combative for anyone to challenge Brown to explain what he's thinking, and if he refuses to explain for whatever reason (even if he's protecting someone), then he deserves the avalanche of questioning his decisions inspire.