The Last Word 4-23-2013 - Ben Swanson, editor of SB Nation’s Rufus On Fire, joins Lewis to discuss the Bobcats’ 2012-2013 season and to look ahead to free agency. Was the season a success? Should the Bobcats retain Mike Dunlap? How much should they offer Gerald Henderson in free agency?
Timestamps are in parentheses.
Lewis begins by asking Ben if he’s surprised by the latest news concerning the potential Hornets name change. NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver recently told Charlotte fans that a name change hasn’t been requested and that the process would take 18 months if the Bobcats do request a change. Ben responds that he isn’t surprised by the news, but also feels that the name change will eventually happen. “There’s just not that many people in support of the Bobcats name (4:17).”
Lewis agrees and fully supports the name change. He then asks Ben if the Bobcats 21-61 record should be viewed as a success. Ben replies, “We saw a lot more effort and a lot more production. It was good to see. I don’t know how you could be disappointed (7:00).”
They move on to Mike Dunlap’s job status. Both agree he should be retained. Ben notes that the Cats played much better after acquiring Josh McRoberts at the trade deadline (10:10). On the negative side, he believes that Dunlap is too reliant on zone defense.
What aspect of this season is most encouraging?
Ben points to the improvement from Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson. With Henderson, he’s impressed by his progress shooting the three and getting to the free-throw line. “The guy they were rumored to be trying to trade at the trade deadline might be a longterm option now (16:10).”
They spend a chunk of time discussing whether Bismack Biyombo took a step forward during his second season. Despite Bismack’s potential, both feel that if the Bobcats have a chance to draft former Kentucky center Nerlens Noel in the 2014 Draft, they should (25:00).
Lewis and Ben move to free agency, starting with a reasonable offer for Gerald Henderson. “I feel like the market for Gerald Henderson could be somewhere around 3-4 years at about $6-7 million per year (28:30).” Lewis agrees with giving Henderson a raise under the condition that he continues improving his three point shot.
As for Byron Mullens, Lewis thinks he’s too inconsistent to be a major piece moving forward. Ben shares that view. “He’s inconsistent and he takes weird shots.” Ben continues, “The Bobcats seem to trust Byron Mullens a lot and I just don’t get it (35:20).”
Both agree that The Bobcats should re-sign McBob . “He definitely makes them better. There’s no doubt in my mind (38:10).”
Lastly, what do The Bobcats have to accomplish next season for it to be deemed a success?
Ben needs to see more polish from the 2nd overall pick in 2012. “If [Kidd-Gilchrist] starts shooting better, he offers a lot to this team (41:00).” Neither are writing off MKG, especially after seeing Kemba Walker improve by leaps and bounds after his rookie season.
~Lewis Woodard, WFNZ Sports Radio The Fan 610 AM
Find Lewis on Twitter @LewWoodard