Pump Up Music: Silverchair -- "Freak"
The Big Picture: Never in the Bobcats' darkest days did they plumb the depths the New Jersey Nets currently occupy. At 4-48, the Nets are threatening all-time futility marks and generally rolling in their own misery. That said, they've got hope for a better future.
That hope begins with the players already on the roster. Yi Jianlian took a step forward this year, and even though he's been held back by injuries, he's getting closer to fulfilling the monster potential scouts saw in him when the Bucks drafted him sixth overall. Brook Lopez is going to be the East's All Star center behind Dwight Howard for years, if he stays with the Nets. Devin Harris may not be long for the franchise, but if he does stay, he's an above average point guard in a league more dependent on its point guards than ever, and if he doesn't stay, then he should offer a plentiful bounty in trade to a team that recognizes the value of his services.
And all that's before acknowledging the franchise's impending move to Brooklyn. Don't look now, but, suddenly, the Nets would be smack dab in the middle of the fifth-largest city in the country (if BK were its own city), and everyone in town would be rushing to buy up #45 Carter jerseys -- if they're not rushing to buy up #6 James jerseys, or #3 Wade jerseys, or both.
Key to Victory: As one of the teams that lost to the Nets, the Cats don't need to be reminded that any team in the NBA can beat any other on a given night. However, given the Cats' relative weakness at center and power forward, and the Nets' relative strength at those two positions, this is a particularly bad matchup for Charlotte. Nazr Mohammed is no defensive wizard, Tyson Chandler likely isn't at full strength yet, Boris Diaw is a constant threat to drop a stinker on both ends of the floor, and those three are responsible for handling the Nets' primary strength. I'd feel a lot better if those guys stepped up and totally shut down the Nets' bigs instead of relying on our wings and guards to make up and surpass the ground we give in the post.
Detail That May Interest .08% of You: Chris Quinn's freshman year at Notre Dame was Matt Carroll's senior year.