Posts Tagged ‘Mike Dunlap’

Bobcats Coach Dunlap Doing It His Way

DALLAS — Hey, every ugly streak can’t be slayed overnight.

The Charlotte Bobcats exhaled enough relief Friday night after snapping the 23-game losing streak that ended last year’s historically pitiful season to propel them all the way to Dallas for Saturday’s game against the rested and waiting Dallas Mavericks.

A valiant push by the Bobcats in the second quarter faded at the end of the half and collapsed in the third quarter as Dallas won going away, 126-99 thanks to a barrage of 3-balls. The loss prevented Charlotte from accruing consecutive victories for the first time since the final two games of the 2010-11 season.

And then there’s that little streak that now stands at 16, the number of consecutive losses to the Mavs, who continue to play without injured star Dirk Nowitzki. Dallas is the only team the Bobcats have never defeated since expanding into the league in 2004.

Early Growing Pains For Bobcats

Bobcats owner Michael Jordan did an interview Thursday with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer that covered a wide range of topics. From the possibility the franchise could make a name change should New Orleans give up the Hornets to comparing the versatility and attitude of rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with Scottie Pippen as a “connector” for the lineup.

Oh, and that players have already gone to Jordan to complain about the lengthy practices of new coach Mike Dunlap.

Maybe it’s an ominous beginning for Dunlap as a first-time NBA head coach with more experience dealing with players in the college game. Maybe it is more a very bad sign about the players trying to respond to a 7-59 season and not even being able to make it to opening night before griping about being overworked. Either way, it looks bad in so many ways for the Bobcats.

Dunlap was a surprise hire in June only because the announcement came without his name ever being linked to the job. The perception game turned it into a risk hire by Jordan, but in reality, Dunlap was a well-respected basketball man with a long history on the bench. The Warriors’ move for Mark Jackson the season before, among others, was a much bigger gamble, only better disguised by name recognition. (more…)

Camp Questions: Will The Bobcats Put Up Fewer Mid-range Jumpers?

The Charlotte Bobcats have nowhere to go but up. Last season, they finished with the worst record in NBA history and ranked last in both offensive and defensive efficiency.

While they added No. 2 pick Michael Kidd-Gilchrist this summer, the Bobcats didn’t exactly upgrade their roster in a major way. But they did hire a new coach, who could make a difference, despite the fact that you’d probably never heard of him before he was hired in June.

Mike Dunlap is a numbers guy, which automatically makes him a favorite in this space. And as a numbers guy, he knows that his team had the league’s worst shot selection last year.

The Bobcats took 39.6 percent of their shots from mid-range (between the paint and the 3-point line), the highest rate in the league. Furthermore, only 16.3 percent of their 3-point attempts came from the corner, the lowest rate in the league. Combine those two numbers and you’ve got a pretty good formula for a pretty bad offense, no matter how much talent you may or may not have on your roster.

Highest percentage of shots from mid-range, 2011-12

Charlotte 768 2,098 36.6% 39.6%
Boston 824 1,953 42.2% 38.4%
Philadelphia 839 2,096 40.0% 38.0%
Toronto 681 1,849 36.8% 35.9%
New Orleans 714 1,790 39.9% 35.1%

%FGA = Percentage of total field goal attempts

So Dunlap is trying to change things. (more…)

Grrr! Bobcats’ ID Gets Makeover

In marketing parlance, the Charlotte NBA franchise has launched a new “brand identity campaign.” In law enforcement circles, it’s the equivalent of the witness protection program.

What began with new team colors and logos already had been extended to new uniforms for the 2012-13 season – they’re now just “Cats” across their chests, the “Bob” part unofficially consigned to the heap of old stationery and business cards from original owner Robert Johnson’s tenure.

The latest nip-and-tuck comes via an ad campaign of “TougherFasterStronger,” which at least encourages a Charlotte fan to say it faster by going with Italics font and dropping the spaces between the words. It is meant to focus on the “hard work, up-tempo play and overall development that are the keys to the philosophy of new Bobcats Head Coach Mike Dunlap.”

The press release announcing the campaign continues:

“This is an exciting time as we prepare for the upcoming season,” said [team president and CEO Fred] Whitfield. “From his first day on the job, Coach Dunlap’s intensity, energy and commitment have inspired not only the players but our entire organization.  With that, it is only natural that we would follow his lead with this campaign.” (more…)

Observations From Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS – Some thoughts just before leaving summer league, minus comment on the mean, mean lady standing on the other side of the table with an obvious anti-media bias constantly dealing 12s, 13s and 14s while turning face cards for the house:

  • The Bobcats are intriguing. Really. How will Mike Dunlap, a respected basketball mind but a surprise hire, do as a first-time NBA head coach? Can Bismack Biyombo, a project as a 2011 lottery pick who had some encouraging progress last season, take a big step toward becoming the ferocious defensive presence many envision? How will Dunlap find time for rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeff Taylor when both are small forwards? That’s a lot of prominent storylines at once.

One certain outcome, at least, will be to play Kidd-Gilchrist and Taylor together, an option since both are versatile and talented defenders. Dunlap sees them as capable of guarding either backcourt spot and, if the opponent goes small, either forward.

The Bobcats didn’t get the chance to test drive the look because MKG, the No. 2 pick, missed four of five games with a sore left knee, an absence they termed precautionary. But it was easy to see why some teams thought Taylor, who was picked at No. 31, could have been drafted eight or 10 picks higher. He’s smart, has improved his jumper a lot, is athletic and defends. That’s a nice future for a second-rounder.

“He reminds me a lot of Shane Battier,” Dunlap said. (more…)

Dunlap Standing Up For The Bobcats

LAS VEGAS – He is a head coach who stands out here despite being a relative unknown to the public. He is the head coach who stands out for not sitting down.

Mike Dunlap, the surprise choice of the Bobcats when he was hired June 18 without so much as a single report leaking that he had interviewed for the job, is making the rare move of also handling the role in summer league when most every peer in every year sits in the stands and lets the assistants run the bench in games.

Part is the timing of being so new to the organization and wanting the crash course in learning the personnel, and wanting them to learn him. Part is playing catch up, period, with the Bobcats coming off a 7-59 record.

“Rapport with the players, get the system in, and we have so many young guys that there can be no delay,” Dunlap said. “We’ve got to get to it.”

Having the worst record in the league last season – by 13 games – will do that.

“I just think that they can get used to the coaching staff’s style on the bench,” said the former Nuggets assistant who also has extensive experience on college benches, most recently at St. John’s. “Two, there is a system being implemented. And then also, there is interaction. They can talk to me, too, in those huddles. Them communicating with me and saying, ‘Hey, maybe we can try this, coach,’ or whatever, I’m for that.”