Feb 22, 2011
The Charlotte Bobcats season was headed nowhere fast. After making their first postseason appearance in the history of the franchise last season, the team struggled a 9-19 start this year, and appeared to be completely disinterested. A change had to be made.
On December 22nd, that change came in the form of a new coach. Out went the publicly critical Larry Brown. In came the more-laid back Paul Silas.
Charlotte has gone 15-13 since Silas has taken over, and finds itself just one game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference heading down the final stretch of the NBA season. There has been a different feeling around the team since Silas took over, and one team insider says that it is no coincidence that the team has responded so well to their new coach.
"It's been a more nurturing regime (under Silas)," Bobcats play-by-play man Steve Martin told 620 the Buzz on Tuesday. "Larry Brown is an outstanding coach, but once Larry gets to a point where he feels like he can't get through to his team anymore, he begins to get openly critical. Paul approaches it from a different standpoint. He feels that every player has a strength, and it is up to him to figure out what that is and coach to it."
Martin also said that Silas subscribes to the "less is more" approach when it comes to coaching. "The players don't have to hear Paul's voice as much as they had to hear Larry's," Martin continued. "So when Paul says something, it has more impact."
One player that has taken very favorably to the coaching change is former Duke standout Gerald Henderson. Henderson rarely got off of the bench under Brown, but under Silas, he has seen his minutes and his production increase. Henderson is coming off of his two best games as a Bobcat, as he scored 18 in a 20-point win over the Lakers, and followed that up the next night with 22 points in a loss at Chicago.
"Larry wasn't a big Gerald Henderson fan," said Martin. "He would ask Michael (Jordan) if there could be a deal done to move Gerald for somebody else. Michael has always been a Gerald Henderson fan, so he is delighted that Paul has given Gerald a much longer leash, and allowed him to flourish."
Charlotte will need all of the production it can get from Henderson, as well as the rest of its regular rotation, as they try to push for a playoff berth. Martin says that while the team is capable, it it not going to be an easy road for the 'Cats.
"It's going to be difficult," Martin said. "They don't own any tiebreakers with the teams around them (in the standings). Of their remaining 26 games, 14 of them are against teams with winning records, and 9 of those are on the road."
Charlotte begins their final push for the playoffs tonight as they host the Toronto Raptors. Tipoff is at 7:00 at the Time Warner Cable Arena.