New Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said at his inaugural news conference earlier this month that the worst place to be in the NBA was the middle of the road.
Well, the Bobcats certainly aren't there anymore. As ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy pointed out a couple of times during the network's coverage of the NBA draft Thursday night, the Bobcats have gone from mediocre to horrible in the short term.
They have now traded away their two best players in the past few months -- Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson -- and gotten much younger in the interim.
They have, as the sports cliche goes, blown up the team.
Was this a good idea? Ultimately, I think so. I believe the risk was worth taking. My colleague Tom Sorensen agrees and said as much in this column.
Much depends on whether the team's two new lottery picks -- big man Bismack Biyombo and little man Kemba Walker -- pan out. But let's be realistic. The Bobcats probably weren't going anywhere anyway in 2011-12, and probably won't go anywhere great for awhile. It makes sense if you're going to go young to go all the way -- Jackson was one of the few tradeable assets the Bobcats had left.
I'm not as sold on the acquisition of Corey Maggette, who to me isn't as good as Jackson. That was one of those things you had to do to make the trade work, though. I'm interested to hear what Maggette has to say about the trade, as he's been noticeably silent so far.
So the Bobcats' new slogan of "Prepare Today, Own Tomorrow" is not just talk. I don't know about the "owning" part -- that depends on whether these youngsters pan out and whether veterans Tyrus Thomas , Maggette, Boris Diaw and D.J. Augustin can be decent leaders -- but they certainly are preparing in a different way than they used to in the Larry Brown era.
I'm sorry the NBA lockout is looming, though -- it may be a long time before we see what tomorrow really looks like given a labor-management dispute that could make the NFL's lockout look like a walk in the park.
POSTSCRIPT: On a totally unrelated note, congrats to Jones Angell, the 32-year-old replacement for the retired and deservedly legendary Woody Durham as the new Voice of the UNC Tar Heels. Jones is a fantastic hire and will do a great job. Here's a good take on the hiring from Adam Lucas.
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