Paul Allen's loss is our gain.
Let's play 5 Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I'll start with
D.J. White Byron Mullens we'll eventually get to Paul Allen. Fun right? You betcha. Lets get started.
I've found some positives about this young season that aren't really being discussed in depth right now, and if you can't recognize these as things that bode well to the future, your name might as well be Micheal Procton (just kidding Procto).
First of all, we have to start with some of the young talent we’ve traded for with Cho at the helm
(DJ White, Byron Mullens). While neither are at, or ever will become all-stars, they’re exactly the kind of pieces contending teams need. Take this line from Connor into consideration: (continued after the jump)
D.J. White: The usually efficient White shot only 4-10 from the field for nine points, but managed to provide six rebounds in 26 minutes. A mediocre night, I’d say, and a below-average game from him. Grade: C+
We’re considering that below-average game. For DJ White. That means from one of our players, we’ve come to expect a better performance from them. From DJ White. The mere fact that we have someone on this team, that is young and cheap, and is not already a well-known quantity (such as Kemba or Bismack) is a hell of a find for the future of the team. Also, take the example we’re having from Byron Mullens. I give you an example from David's recap of the Heat tar and feathering which paints a similar picture as White's above:
Byron Mullens: Mullens’ toughest game as a Bobcat yet and still not enough of a presence on the boards (3 rebounds, zero offensive) as Silas would certainly like to see. Still, he provides the height, athleticism, and scoring that I think will make it tough to keep him on the bench for long.
Since those words were written, he's matched the expectations set for him. He's still a poor rebounder and defender (did anyone else see how badly JORDAN HILL(!) destroyed him in the post?!). But he adds scoring gosh darnit, and someone on this damn team has to be to do that sometimes. Anyway, these two have been, with the exception of Augustin, models of consistency all season. Oh, that's not it, the best news is yet to come! These guys will never be All-Stars (wait, I thought I said this was supposed to be good news?). This is actually a positive, mainly because we'll never have to pay them like they are one. Hell, hopefully they'll stay under the radar long enough to not garner any significant attention around the league. If that's the case, these guys should be offered long term extensions as soon as possible. Sure, there's some risk (isn't there always risk in the phrase "long term?") but in all likelihood we'd be playing these cheap, improving players more than they're actually worth, and if you have a squad full of under-valued guys, you're going to have enough money and competitiveness to be able to retain your All-Star caliber players (hopefully Kemba? BIS-MACK BI-YOM-BO? Lottery pick selection?). Financial flexibility is a hell of a thing, and it's pretty cool that Cho recognizes this.
Speaking of Cho (I've gotta hand it to myself for a hell of transition here, you should too), what do DJ White and Byron Mullens have in common? They were both drafted by a Thunder team he helped scout for and played assistant GM for.
He The team acquired them for what amounts to Nazr Mohammad's expiring contract and a 2nd round pick (he even got them to pay Mullen's contract this season. What a guy!). "So Cho knows how to pull off good trades, we knew that already Connor!" you may say. Well, I say, "NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND!" These two players show how good Richard Cho is at scouting talent, something we've learned our former GM (does Kwame Brown ring a bell?) wasn't very adept at. The mere fact he was around when these players were picked means he was one of the people scouting them and seeing whether they had the talent to be NBA players. Well, so far it looks like not only did he have a hand in creating the favorite in the Western Conference, he was good enough to bring some of that quality depth he helped draft in OKC to Charlotte, and so far he appears to be 2/2 1/1 (It's still 100% success rate!) White and Mullens were victims of too much talent around them in OKC. With the playing time to show what they've got, it looks like Cho knew what he was doing back in those OKC days. And if he was good enough to spot and draft diamonds in the rough like White and Mullens, are you really willing to bet that Cho made the WRONG decision with his picks of BIS-MACK BI-YOM-BO and Kemba Walker? If you still really think Kemba and BIYOMBO were bad choices after reading this, then I don't know what to tell you. Congrats on drawing that line in the sand. You're a stick in the mud who won't budge no matter how much someone debates with you. You're basically Micheal Procton (gosh, you know I'm kidding Procto!).
In conclusion, that right there is some proof that Richard Cho is pretty good at this General Manger thing and that if he's running this ship, it's going to take some bad luck (not winning the lottery, career threatening injuries, etc) for this team not to be a contender by at the latest 2015. And I think that's something we can all get behind as Bobcat's fans. So thank Paul Allen for showing us, for what might be the 5673th (I'm not really sure, I've lost count) foolish thing he's done. how badly he botched the GM job in Portland. Heres to you Paul Allen, you magnificent son of a bitch.