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