Bobcats vs. Nuggets preview: Young Bobcats coming to town

Can you name this Bobcat? - Streeter Lecka

Former Nuggets assistant and Metropolitan State coach Mike Dunlap makes his return to Denver tonight as the head coach of the Charlotte Bobcats. Hopefully the Nuggets can spoil his return.

Loading Scores
2012/2013 NBA Regular Season: Game 28
Charlotte Bobcats (2013 - Pres)

vs
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7-19 (2-9 on the road)

14-13 (7-1 at home)
December 22, 2012 - 7:00 PM (MT)
Pepsi Center - Denver, Colorado
TV Altitude / 950 AM / 104.3 FM The Fan
Probable Starters
Kemba Walker PG Ty Lawson
Gerald Henderson SG Andre Iguodala
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF Danilo Gallinari
Byron Mullens PF Kenneth Faried
Bismack Biyombo C Kosta Koufos
Notes
Rufus on Fire Blogs You're here.
Tyrus Thomas (out) Injuries Wilson Chandler, Julyan Stone (out)
On a 14 game losing streak Stat Nuggets made 7 threes vs. Spurs in last home game

Once upon a time in 2012 the Bobcats were 7-5 and looking like a capable team. Enter a NBA high 14 game losing streak and suddenly the 7-19 Bobcats are looking a lot more like last year's 7-59 squad. I have no doubt that Charlotte will win more than 7 games this season, but they must not get number eight tonight in Denver.

Dunlap's team is just 2-9 away from Time Warner Cable Arena. Kemba Walker leads the team in scoring with 18.7 points per game and the Bobcats rank 16th in the NBA in scoring with an average of 96.44 points per game. But Charlotte allows over 104 points per game to their opposition.

With the 7th overall pick in the 2011 draft the Bobcats (via the Sacramento Kings) selected Bismack Biyombo - who was supposed to be a defensive force. While he does average 1.71 blocks per game (good for 15th in the NBA, right behind 14th ranked Kosta Koufos (1.73 bpg) and five spots below JaVale McGee (10th with 2.07 bpg)), he doesn't offer a whole lot more, thus far in his career. Biyombo averages 5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 25 minutes per game.

The Nuggets selected Kenneth Faried in that same draft, but 15 spots later at No. 22. Faried averages nearly a double-double with 12 points and 9.9 rebounds in roughly 29 minutes per night. Hopefully he'll go down as one of the best Nuggets draft picks in team history ... time will tell.

Time hasn't been good to Charlotte and neither has the draft. Teams trying to build through the draft can't afford to have too many misses - we know that well in Denver. Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2 pick in 2012 draft) need to fill major talent voids in Charlotte and now people are wondering if Gerald Henderson (former 12th pick in the 2009 draft) may be on his way out of town.

The main man in town, Dunlap, was a bit of a controversial hiring by Michael Jordan. Having no NBA head coaching experience, Dunlap got the job with a proven college track record - take this excerpt from his Wikipedia page:

While at Metro State, Dunlap led his team to NCAA titles in 2000 and 2002. He posted an overall record of 248-50, leading the Roadrunners to nine NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his nine seasons as head coach (1997-2006).

And Dunlap spent time with the Nuggets as an assistant coach under George Karl from 2006-2008. His hiring is a bit like that of former Nuggets head coach Jeff Bzdelik back in 2002 in the sense that the job wasn't a very attractive one. I recall people wanting Denver to hire long time assistant coach Del Harris away from the Dallas Mavericks, but an unknown Bzdelik was awarded the job. Bzdelik went from a debut season of 17-65 to 43-39 the next season and made the playoffs in 2004 - thanks in large part to Carmelo Anthony and a revamped roster (that included Andre Miller).

Thus started Denver's nine straight playoff appearance seasons and the joy of getting to watch good basketball again. Hopefully the same will happen for the Bobcats ...

... Just not tonight.

***

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