Lead NBA Writer Jimmy Spencer Talks Bobcats Progress And Previews The NBA Playoffs
04-18-13 Bustin’ Loose Jimmy Spencer, National Lead NBA Writer for the Bleacher Report, chatted with the guys after the Bobcats 21st win to finish off their improved year, also gave a preview of the 2013 NBA Playoffs and predicted which teams could be primed to pull off an upset.
Keeping it local to Charlotte to start off the interview, Jimmy talked about some of the positives Mike Dunlap and his team can take away from a 21-win season.
“They’re absolutely better than they were last year… We’ve seen major improvements from guys like Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson. Dunlap’s done some really good things there, so hopefully they’ll keep him on and they’ll continue that process.”
There’s been some speculation regarding Dunlap’s job security, even though he’s only spent one season in Charlotte.
“He’s admittedly spoken about the things he’s learned, even the little things — the way he talks to the referees, his in-game situations like timeouts, late-game fouling and stuff like that. Which shows he has a learning curve. But the other thing is, his players are developing underneath him… I always have a hard time stomaching the thought that teams will let that guy go and bring a new guy who’s going to take them to the next level, because the players at that point, especially the young young ones, have built a rapport with the coach. So you hate to see those situations, but that’s often times the trend in the NBA.”
What’s next for the Bobcats in order to get the Charlotte Bobcats to that next level?
“You look at this team you need to model them after the Oklahoma City Thunder, and see what they were able to accomplish… Looking up and down that roster with the young talent that’s there, you have developing talent, rather than stagnant talent. That’s the difference between the Bobcats and the Sacramento Kings… I think you continue down the road you’re already on and let the talent play itself out.”
The NBA Playoffs kick off this weekend and the Laker are maybe one of the most talked about Seven seeds in recent memory. And Jimmy likes their chances.
“We’ve seen, in the two games since Kobe Bryant’s injury, a different style Lakers. One that has actually been a better defensive team… But this is also a team that needs to slow it down and rely on bigs, more than ever. Dwight Howard has now taken over this team and Pau Gasol’s put up big numbers. Those two guys can lead you… And the Spurs have a lot of question marks.”
Moving over to the Eastern Conference, the Heat are the overwhelming favorites, but we wondered if there’s a team that might be able to knock them off their thrown.
“I don’t think that anyone can. But just to have some fun with it, I love continuing the storyline of Derrick Rose and what would happen he came back… Talking about the Knicks and the Boston Celtics, I think the Knicks are the obvious team that could get hot and challenge the Heat, but I actually think the Knicks are going to struggle out of the gate and the Celtics maybe step and Paul Pierce makes one last stand.”
Boston has been on the hearts and minds of everyone across the country, so how will the Celtics be able to use that as a potential battle cry to motivate them in their first series?
“The players feel like they’re really representing a city, and Boston players always have that sense… But there’s a difference between that and pressure to win in New York and the fans on their backs to win, versus Boston and the emotional tie-in. And you couldn’t have two more emotional players, in Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to kinda lead that charge. So it’s going to be a great storyline. New York and Boston is always a great matchup and I do see that emotion carrying out onto the floor.”