Apr 18, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA Charlotte Bobcats guard Gerald Henderson (15) looks to pass the ball while being guarded by Chicago Bulls shooting guard Richard Hamilton (32) during the second half. The Bulls defeated the Bobcats 100-68 at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
And so continues our positional reviews of this past season in which the Bobcats managed to set records that were downright depressing, become the Bad News Bears of the NBA and on a good note secure the best odds to land the No. 1 pick in the lottery. The Bobcats only had two true shooting guards on the roster this season, which forced Paul Silas to play a smaller lineup with Kemba Walker at the 2 when Gerald Henderson was out with an injury. There were a variety of players to play the 2 at some point during the season due to injuries and the lack of bodies being available, but those players have been covered or will be covered later on in our series of reviews.
The focus of this piece will be on the play of Henderson and Matt Carroll. One was a key cog on the offensive and defensive end and the other was a seldom used reserve. Going forward shooting guard isn't the biggest need on the roster but adding depth behind Henderson is a must. Playing a smaller lineup with Walker at the 2 exposed the Bobcats on the defensive end and forced Silas to play a zone that looked about as good as something you would see at a YMCA noon ball game.
Without further ado, here are your 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcat shooting guards.
In his third season, Henderson continued to show improvement and showed signs of being capable of being a key player on a winning squad. What continued to impress me was his mid-range game and ability to elevate to get his shot off. There are still holes in Henderson's game that need to be worked on for him to take the next step and possibly be a fringe All-Star player. Taking the ball to the hoop is something that he got better at as the season went on but too often he would settle for a jumper.
On the season he averaged 15.1 points per game, which was an improvement off the 9.6 he averaged from a year ago and was good enough to lead the team. His shooting percentage stayed consistent with his second season at 45 percent despite taking roughly five more shots per game. It was a solid season for Henderson individually in which he established himself as a player that could occasionally take over a game. A hamstring injury cost him 11 games on the season and limited him in others, but when he was healthy he was productive for the most part.
There's been talk of Henderson developing into an All-Star caliber player with Michael Jordan coming out and saying it last year and Corey Maggette recently saying he felt that he had the ability. While the signs of improvement are evident I still don't see him developing into an All-Star. At best Henderson is a second option on a good team but more than likely a third. If he continues to get better at going to the basket and develops into a shut down defender there's a chance he could make one or two All-Star teams.
On a team when there are so many expendable pieces, Henderson remains a keeper going forward and is a part to the puzzle that the Bobcats can build around. Going into next season he will assume the role of the team's go-to-guy and be relied upon to carry a good load of the scoring burden.
The best thing Carroll did this season was provide comedy for fans. In 53 games he averaged 2.7 PPG in 11.2 minutes of action. Carroll is supposed to be a sharp shooter that can knock down open jumpers and help stretch the defense, but he was far from that this season. He shot just 18 percent from beyond the arc, which is astonishingly bad for a guy whose specialty is to knock down treys. Defensively, Carroll has always been a liability and with age not on his side it's only getting worse.
It was a mistake when the Bobcats signed him to a $27 million contract over six years back in 2007, but the good news is that Carroll is in the last year of his deal and his bloated salary will be off the books after next season. If Carroll could hardly get burn on a seven-win team it's hard to see him being more than a bench player going forward. On a positive note he is a pillar of the community and has been nothing but a model citizen as a member of the Bobcats. It's just unfortunate that things haven't worked out better on the court for both him and the team.