COACH: Larry Brown | 2007-08: 32-50
Charlotte Bobcats

Brown is back in the spotlight.
Kent Smith/NBAE/Getty Images
Charlotte is stop No. 9 on the Larry Brown NBA Coaching Tour.

And like he did at his previous stop, he's got his work cut out for him.

In four seasons in the NBA, the Bobcats have yet to finish less than 16 games under .500. After showing steady improvement in years two and three, they took a small step back in 2007-08, coming one win short of their '06-07 total of 33.

And that happened even with Emeka Okafor playing all 82 games and with the addition of veteran Jason Richardson, who was brought in from Golden State and who also played 82 games. Behind then last year's new coach, Sam Vincent, the Bobcats disappointed those who thought they had a shot at their first trip to the postseason. Vincent paid the price.

But despite their regression, the only real change the Bobcats made to their roster this summer was the addition of point guard D.J. Augustin. Hey, maybe it was all Vincent's fault.

And maybe Larry Brown has the magic touch. His stint in New York was probably just the exception that proves the rule.

Brown considers himself a teacher. Hopefully, he can instruct more than one class, because this group needs an education in every facet of the game. Last season, they were bad on offense (ranked 23rd in points scored per possession), bad on defense (23rd in points allowed per possession) and bad on the boards (27th in rebounding percentage). That's the kind of report card that will hold you back a grade.

The Bobcats can improve their GPA by getting a full season out of Gerald Wallace, who missed 20 games in '07-08 and blamed his fragility on logging too many minutes at the power forward position. But going into the new season, the Bobcats' only hopes in moving Wallace back to the three are with Sean May, who has played a grand total of 58 games in his three NBA seasons (that's 19.3 per season for you non-Math majors) and hasn't stepped on an NBA floor since March 14, 2007. But hey, he had a double-double in that game.

"Obviously, the knee (that he's had three surgeries on) is going to probably be in the back of my mind," he told the Charlotte Observer on media day. "I like to say I'm not thinking about it. But subconsciously, I probably am. It'll be a little while before I'll get over that. I'll have to take some hits."

With that, and the likelihood that Wallace will be playing both forward positions again this season, in mind, the best chance for improvement might come at the point guard spot. Brown was a point guard himself and feels the position is the key to any team. So, he will be focused on making Raymond Felton a better player. And the former No. 5 pick should also be motivated by a possible competition with Augustin for the starting job.

The Bobcats are also getting back Adam Morrison, who missed all of last season after tearing his left ACL. But his disappointing rookie campaign doesn't exactly inspire a rosy outlook for his upcoming season. And it's unclear, with Richardson, Wallace and Matt Carroll manning the wings, where Morrison fits in anyway.

But if this group has the ability to be successful in the NBA, Larry Brown should be able to bring it out of them. If not, someone, whether it be players or the coach, will be moving on soon enough.
-- John Schuhmann

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Okafor
Emeka Okafor was taken with the No. 2 pick in the 2004 Draft and was immediately dubbed the franchise player of the newly formed Bobcats. Averaging 15.1 points and 10.9 boards, he won Rookie of the Year honors and looked to be on par with No. 1 pick Dwight Howard.

Three years later, it's a different story. Other than his field goal percentage, Okafor's numbers have shown no improvement since his rookie year. He's a very good rebounder and a defensive presence in the paint, but at best he's inconsistent offensively.

Yet the Bobcats thought enough of Okafor to give him a new six-year contract worth $72 million this summer. That's not MVP money, but it's go-to guy money. And Okafor has yet to prove that he's a go-to guy.
-- John Schuhmann

THE STAT
8 Including his years in the ABA, Larry Brown has been the head coach for nine professional franchises. He has a winning record with eight of the nine.
Not much here except Larry Brown teaching young guys how to play. How well they respond and how quickly they learn will determine their season.
LB doesn't have a lot of patience with slow learners and if he becomes frustrated you may see him lobbying MJ to clean house and get different players for him to coach.
D.J. Augustin will be a very good point guard at some point in time and there is no better coach to teach him than LB. Where this leaves Raymond Felton in the Bobcats plans remains to be seen. His assist-to-turnover ratio needs to improve or he will feel LB's wrath time and again.
The other players who should benefit from the change in coaches is Jason Richardson, who has improved his three-point shooting and is a headache to defend with his ability to get into the lane.
Gerald Wallace needs to improve on his three-point shooting, but still is a threat any time he touches the ball.
These three players are nice cornerstones to build the franchise on, but the playoffs are a couple of years away. And that is only if the franchise can remain stable and a make better personnel decisions over the next couple of years.
-- NBA Scout
Emeka Okafor played the first full season of his career in 2007-08, following two seasons cut short by ankle and calf injuries. Defensively, he's as good you'll get in the low post. He rebounds well and has a nose for blocking shots. It's not entirely clear where Okafor fits in offensively, but his defense and rebounding should keep him on the floor.

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NBA.com Fantasy Index

Record: 39-43, 8th in Eastern Conf.
Playoffs: Lost in First Round to Miami, 4-1
Scoring Leader: J. Richardson, 18.0 PPG
Rebounding Leader: E. Okafor, 9.6 RPG
Assist Leader: R. Felton, 5.4 APG

Simulated Season Details
PLAYER/2007-08 STATS PPG RPG APG
PG Raymond Felton 14.4 3.0 7.4
SG Matt Carroll 9.0 2.8 0.9
SF Jason Richardson 16.0 5.1 3.4
PF Gerald Wallace 21.8 5.4 3.1
C Emeka Okafor 13.8 10.7 0.9

G D.J. Augustin -- -- --
F Jared Dudley 5.8 3.9 1.1
F Ryan Hollins 2.5 1.8 0.2
F Sean May -- -- --
F Adam Morrison -- -- --
C-F Alexis Ajinca Draft
G D.J. Augustin Draft
G Shannon Brown Free agent
G Derek Anderson Free agent
G Earl Boykins Free agent
F-C Othella Harrington Free agent
PPG Jason Richardson 21.8
RPG Emeka Okafor 10.7
APG Raymond Felton 7.4
SPG Gerald Wallace 2.11
BPG Emeka Okafor 1.68
Points Scored 97.1 (19th)
Points Allowed 101.4 (20th)
Field-Goal Percentage .452 (17th)
Opponents' FG% .466 (22nd)
Rebounding Diff. -3.11 (27th)
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