Grades? Bobcats Don't Need No Stinkin' Grades


In the last few days, I’ve been trying to keep up with my reading of other blogs around the Bobcats.  To be 100% honest, full disclosure, I have a new job and I work nights and weekends, in addition to my other gig and my RobertoGato.com work, I’m missing my games…  Thusly, we’re looking for some staff writers here at RobertoGato.com.  I need help, yo.  So, I’ve been reading up.  I saw people dishing out a whole lot of grades.  It was kind of weird.  I really hated getting grades.  I knew when there were lots of quizzes and tests and I’d know what was coming.  Right answers, wrong answers, percentage of correct answers, you have a grade.  Now, if it was a whole lot of essays, or even something like creative writing, something subjective, that stuff drove me nuts.

I once wrote a “treatment” for an episode of Seinfeld for my scriptwriting class.  I came up with a story about Jerry thinking he got Elaine pregnant or something.  I don’t know, it was weird.  I was in college, I drank….a lot.  Dude gave me a D.  Not because it was poorly written or I didn’t do something stylistically correct or whatever.  Nope, I got a D because the guy said he never thought this would happen in a million years and I picked a poor story-line and something else he didn’t like about my idea.  I was disappointed and I think I only showed up to like 3 more classes the rest of the semester.  The worst part was, he was my favorite professor.  The only reason he was my favorite professor was he was the first one I had that wore the tweed jacket with the elbow patches on the outside of the sleeves.  I’d waited all my life to have a prof like that, and he even took the glasses off to ponder something.  What were the reinforced patches for?  What did they do on their elbows?  Was it all the thinking?  Like the sculpture?

Point is, giving out grades, when there are only 5 and then the +/- straight up letter variations, making 15 total marks, is easy.  “That was bad, but not like, failing, so you get a D+.”  “You didn’t screw anything up, but you didn’t accomplish a hell of a lot, B- for you!”

It’s weird.  We already score the games.  Bobcats lost to the Rockets 82-70.   That’s 14% worse than the Rockets.  The whole team lost.  There are a million stats.  Hoopdata keeps up with 52 per player, per game.  We know the score.  I like +/-.  +/- just means what the team did with that player on the floor.  Simple, was the team gaining or losing with that particular player on the floor?  D.J. White led the team last night with a +5 rating, Kemba Walker and Matt Carroll were at +1 each and everyone else was in the minus category.  By contrast, there were 3 guys on the Rockets in the minus category, Patrick Paterson, Goran Dragic and Jordan Hill, guys who didn’t factor much, 3 of the 4 lowest minutes played.

So, grades, back to grades.  You’re sitting in judgement when you give out grades.  Even on a sliding scale, a bell curve or whatever, you’re judging subjectively and it doesn’t say a whole lot more than reading a box score.  What’s happening to make things not work?  I caught the very end of the game last night (Wednesday against the Rockets) and the Bobcats were within 5.  If the game had ended there, and it was a 2 possession loss, not a 12 point “drubbing,” would they get different grades?  If the score had been 102-90, same difference, different score, would the grades raise?

Paul Silas wasn’t coming down on the guys, not in the way he did after the game against Indiana.  “Just didn’t have it.  We were tired….Just one of those nights.”  He wasn’t mad.  He wasn’t calling anyone out.  The night before, against the Knicks, the Bobcats played against 12 dudes; the 9 that D’Antoni put on the floor in Knicks uniforms and the 3 that David Stern sent out in the grey t-shirts.  It was a long game that came down to the end, a heart-breaker and then they had to fly into Charlotte, get in bed at 2 or 3 or something in the morning.

I know, excuses, excuses but I am not ready to pin grades on guys and not be incredibly disappointed based on one night.  You can do it, you can agree or disagree with the other bloggers who were grading, but I’m telling you, this team’s expectations are like elementary school.  Effort, “tries hard,” smiley face, gold star, red light, yellow light, green light.  Actually, that’s probably the best concept with this team.  My niece is in pre-school and that’s what the teacher uses to keep up with the kids’ behavior.  Everyone starts on green, if you act up, you are moved to yellow, you do something really bad, red.

It’s fluid scale.  And yes, maybe this Bobcats squad, with Corey Maggette out for about 4 weeks, Tyrus Thomas on the mend and taking it easy, you’re counting on guys, who are in that pre-school stage of their development as an NBA player.  Gerald Henderson, taking on the starting role, hasn’t had a full season as the load-bearer at small forward/shooting guard/undetermined-wing player and hasn’t had that consistent partner, whether it’s Stephen Jackson, first injured then traded and then Maggette, inconsistent and then injured.  D.J. Augustin, think about that guy’s psychological issues with his position.  First, a rookie, behind/beside Raymond Felton, the whole time with Larry Brown up his ass and in his head.  Then they let Ray go, it’s your job now kid.  Larry Brown is still up dude’s ass, but then he’s crapping all over everybody, then he gets fired.  Still your job.  Then the 2011 Draft, Kemba Walker, great…  “What will you do with two such similar players?”  So many questions.  How long before Kemba takes over.  Who is going to get traded?  Never had a consistent roster, never had any definite system and still doesn’t.

There are players all over the roster that don’t know their expectations and don’t know how to accomplish what they want to.  Kwame Brown gets signed 2 days into training camp, Boris Diaw is our…..what?  Starting center?  Now, Diop is starting and Diaw is also starting.  Offense starts with D.J. Augustin, there is no ball movement, because I don’t know if everyone knows where they’re supposed to be on offense.  They certainly don’t look for the ball and the next guy isn’t prepared to move it again.  Defense isn’t an issue because I think everyone plays down to the Bobcats but they’re still giving up over 100 points per game, second most in the league.

So, everyone started on green.  Boris Diaw is the sweet/shitty kid in the pre-school class.  He moves from green to red to yellow to green to red.  D.J. Augustin sits on green, moves to yellow only if he’s chucking, which he never really does and if he turns the ball over, which he also rarely does.  So no one worries about DJA.  Gerald Henderson, well he’s almost like Boris in that he’s up and down, up and down but only within games.  The results are similar from game to game.  Byron Mullens wasn’t even in the class last year, he was home schooled and everyone is really happy he’s sticking with green for the most part and he’s even getting gold stars because no one knew what he was going to be able to do.

I could go through the whole roster, but I won’t, because it doesn’t matter.  We’re still looking in on a pre-school class and as long as they aren’t catching the teacher’s hair on fire or peeing in the potted plants, we’re happy.  A twelve point loss and seventy total points, is like the kid who thinks about peeing in the potted plant, as long as he doesn’t do it (in the next game), it’s a passing thing and not a trend or a real issue.  No one really has major issues on the roster but there isn’t enough on the team to expect much more than a quarter of the games to be won and at 2-8, they’re not far from that.

Bismack Biyombo needs to go down to D-League.  I love him, love the energy and the athleticism but he’s not ready to play NBA basketball.  He still wears pull-ups to pre-school.  Other than that, there is no glaring issues with anyone.  You won’t win a whole lot of games with two OKC cast offs leading you in efficiency and scoring.  You probably won’t win with 3 guys who play the same position starting the game.  You might not win with two guys on the floor under 6′ who play similar games.  You won’t make the playoffs with a roster of guys who likely will never make an all-star game.

You just want some development, no embarrassing nights, or at least no more than somebody like Sacramento or Washington.  Just remember, the Bobcats have never finished dead last in the division, let alone the league.  They’re ahead of the Wizards, tied with New Jersey and Detroit.  So, yeah, it’s bad but it’s not that bad and besides, what did you expect?

Andrew Barraclough is Senior Editor for RobertoGato.com, a Charlotte Bobcats Blog on the Fansided Network.  Follow him on Twitter @therobertogato and Like the site on Facebook.