I have a soft spot in my heart for fans of the Bobcats. In a sense, Charlotte was Seattle before Seattle even knew what that metaphor would come to mean. So after the city had its team swept out from under it, I felt like the Charlotte Bobcats might need some help. So in 2004, I declared the Bobcats to be my “second team.” I know it goes against the more traditional tenets of fandom and all that, and I don’t care. I love me some Gerald Wallace.
If you’re at all interested in the Bobcats, the natural way of things will ensure that at some point you end up at Queen City Hoops, the best ‘Cats blog in the biz. Brett Hainline is not only an incredibly smart fella, but his statistically focused writing is still not only interesting but easily accessible for casual fans, or even hardcore fans who don’t regularly check the APBR Metrics boards. I’m thrilled to say that Brett is now one my newest neighbors in the TrueHoop Network, and as such I thought it’d be appropriate if we traded thoughts on the recent DeSagana Diop trade. Here are my questions about the two newest Mavs, and his answers:
Rob: Historically, Matt Carroll has been a top-notch three point threat. Is the significant drop-off this season largely a product of a different unfamiliar role in the offense, fewer opportunities, or has the guy just lost “it”?
Brett: Matt is a rhythm guy – the more time he gets, the more comfortable he gets, and the more he does. The drop-off really started last year, with the addition of Jason Richardson – Matt struggled to find a role with the presence of another designated shooter always on the court. His usage rate came way down – he just stopped shooting nearly as much, and without that, he is not terribly useful (on a basketball court). Carroll had been such a solid scorer for the Bobcats before these last 2 seasons that I think he just needs some confidence restored and a well-defined role to bounce back.
Rob: What is Ryan Hollins’ greatest strength and his greatest weakness? Also, what is the one significant area that he must improve in to take the next step up in his game?
Brett: Ryan has incredible athleticism – I know when talking about basketball players that is almost always the case, but this guy is ridiculous. In addition to college basketball, he was on the track squad – doing the high jump – yes, a 7-footer participating in the high jump. Unfortunately, the same body type that allows him to be a standout track star also causes him to struggle in the post in the NBA. Ryan is lacking the bulk to bang in the post, and struggles to defend one on one and to rebound consistently as a result.
Rob: The Mavs’ defense has come and gone this season, and though Dallas is certainly desperate for three-point shooting, a consistent defense could go a long way towards establishing a firm place in the Western Conference elite. Is Carroll as bad of a defender as I fear he might be? And, is Hollins going to be “that guy” who can swat shots like mad but bites on every pump fake?
Brett: Carroll is a great defender – as long as he is defending an athlete similar to himself. He works hard, gets good position, and contests shots – but he is just a tad bit too slow and a little too gravity bound to be a decent defender. Staying in front of dynamic wings is a real challenge for him and he can’t sag off his man and still contest the shot. Matt works hard but it can only carry him so far.
As for Ryan, in a word: Yes. In more words: He will come from the weakside and jump over/into/on his teammate to block any shot he can get near, despite the results. 25th in the league in fouls per minute – 7.7 per 40 minutes. Kind of fun to watch how high he goes for them, somewhat alarming to see him (or a teammate) tumble to the court from great heights after the collision.
Many thanks to Brett for humoring me with the Q&A-ness. And again, if you’re not reading Queen City Hoops, you’re missing out.
EDIT: Check out my responses to Brett’s questions here.