Lauer Sounds Off: Cats Have Options without Hendo

By Scott Lauer
November 8, 2012
bobcats.com

Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on bobcats.com on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.

With the leading scorer from last year’s team out for a projected two to four weeks with a sprained left foot (Gerald Henderson averaged 15 points last year), it creates opportunity for others. Rookie Jeff Taylor made his first NBA start in the first Wednesday Night Basketball game vs. Phoenix, logging 11 minutes. He seeks his first career points in New Orleans tonight. I like the move to start the rookie. It gives Taylor a boost of confidence, while also maintaining Ben Gordon’s bench ammunition. Starting games can be overrated. The Chicago Bulls started Bill Cartwright as their “man in the middle,” but he usually played less than half a game’s worth of time. Does it really matter who starts? I submit that it’s more important who closes games.

So the team lost its leading scorer from last year, and STILL managed to score 110 points on Wednesday; well done. One reason was that Byron Mullens pumped in 24, but Ramon Sessions helped fill that guard-scoring role with an aggressive 17 points and nine assists! I engaged Phoenix Suns radio Analyst Tim Kempton in a halftime conversation about how aggressive he is on virtually every possession. There’s no better barometer for judging that characteristic than by noting the free throw attempts, and Sessions registered 14 (hitting 12)! He applies so much pressure on a defense by going on the attack incessantly, and he also has a jump shot that has to be respected.

Naturally, Ben Gordon will soak up plenty of minutes; he finished with 12 points and five assists.

Reggie Williams is positively affected by the trickle-down effect of the Henderson injury, as well. He played nearly 10 minutes, and was 4 of 5 from the field, for nine points. He has the knack for scoring while being challenged; draining a left wing 3-pointer with a Sun closing out on him hard, and he finished in traffic with an up-and-down layup in the left blocks as well.

We may continue to see even small lineups periodically, with Walker, Sessions, Gordon, MKG, and one true big on the floor together. Previously, Henderson would be bumped to the “3” spot in similar lineups.

Ultimately, as Head Coach Mike Dunlap reinforced, an injury creates opportunity for others. He told me during our radio pregame interview yesterday, that he places strong emphasis on practice production in determining who will earn those opportunities in games.

Lauer Blog Archive:
10/31/12: Lauer Sounds Off: NBA Predictions
10/25/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Kids Have a Blast at Cool School
10/18/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thoughts Midway Through Preseason
10/11/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Bobcats Visit Charleston
10/4/12: Lauer Sounds Off: Thomas Stronger, Focused
9/27/12: Training Camp In Asheville!
9/20/12: Offseason Moves