Hello Charlotte Bobcats fans. I want to take a moment to say hello and thank you for reading the articles that we produce here at Trade Street Post. The readership is not a huge following, but we are thankful for the readers that we do have. Hopefully via word-of-mouth, internet search engine hits, and the occasional plugs of our current articles at Fox Sports, our readership will grow. As you may have noticed, there was not a recap for the last couple games. I have explained this before, but I’d like to mention it again; we are a fan run site, and the articles posted are currently being written by Bruce Barker or me. Life happens, so we might not always cover every game. If you would, please read on because I have some explaining I’d like to share.
Trade Street Post was founded roughly 3 seasons ago. I say roughly, because we started up December 1, 2010, which was not exactly at the beginning of a season. Bruce and I were always true blue…or orange…Bobcats fans. Our love of the fighting Felines came together at Rufus on Fire, a Charlotte Bobcats blog site, hosted by SB Nation. Our back and forth banter became legendary, and was often the source of game day blogging posts exceeding bandwidth, and requiring a “part 2” being started to avoid some serious lagging. Those were the days of some fun basketball. Those were the days of competing for the playoffs and trying to get our beloved Bobcats into the playoffs. Those days have since passed because the teams of the past were pieced together teams where their sole purpose was to make the playoffs. Well, the mission was accomplished, and we made the playoffs…and we were swept. James Dator saw the passion that Bruce and I possessed, and he invited Bruce and me to help him with a secondary Bobcats blog site. It was to be housed under the Bloguin host site, and we would have the bulk of the work load in terms of writing the articles. No sooner did we say yes and get the site names and launched, James got a permanent gig at SB Nation that would include writing and covering the Carolina Panthers. Due to a conflict of interest (SB Nation vs. Bloguin) James left the site to Bruce and I to run. Needless to say, we came out of the gates with both barrels blazing. We had big ideas and big plans for the site. We created Claw2Claw, a debate forum for NBA/Bobcats topics, unReal GM for the Fantasy Basketball, and even a FunnyPhoto section where readers could comment on the funniest picture. Funniest picture might even win a prize of some sort. In order to make all these subjects happen, we brought on Bryan Beck and Matt Thomas to help with writing duties. This need became all the more necessary as we attempted to stay up to cover those West coast road trips. Unfortunately, we seldom get comments on articles and we were getting little to no reader participation, so a couple of the sections got scrapped. Since we are all Bobcats fans, and we were running the site as a hobby, if we needed to focus more on life and less on the site, then the site would just have to wait. Well, life comes at us all pretty fast. Bruce and his wife both ran into some pretty thick medical issues, Bryan’s work became extremely hectic, and Matt got a promotion at his work. With all of things brewing, and then the NBA lockout, things got a bit dim down on Trade Street.
Fortunately, Bruce and I are pretty stubborn. This site is a dream of ours. It is a chance to show our love (and sometimes disappointment) of the pro NBA team that we love. The Charlotte Bobcats are our love. The Bobcats are the only pro sports team that I follow 365 days a year. I have a passion for them. Last season’s 23-game losing streak took a lot out of all of us. There are only so many ways to call a loss a loss. We did what we could, but with blowout loss after blowout loss, even the toughest of prize fighters can only take shots to the chin so many times before they go down for the count. Being heckled by a drunken Knicks fan at the last game of the season while participating with the Cats Crazies was the last punch I could take. It knocked me out. I got back up though, and the site is still running. Bruce and I won’t be able to cover every game, but we will be able to keep you entertained. We’re in the midst of another losing streak. I would have never imagined that we would have a streak that ran this long, but it has. I’ve been taking punch after punch, as has poor Bruce, who took the latest west coast swing square in the jaw. It isn’t easy to look at last season and to not start panicking about this year. I’m guilty of it and I’ll admit to it. I’m tired of writing about how the Bobcats lost…again…I can’t get a good focus on pointing out the bright spots. I suppose that is what separates me form the “professional” journalists. I’m a fan and I don’t like losing. I know we are rebuilding from the ground up, and wins do not come easy when you’re as young and inexperienced as we are. I know that Kemba Walker is playing incredibly, and is fast becoming an NBA-elite point guard. I know that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is hitting numbers at his age that LeBron James hit when he was 19 and in the NBA. I’m seeing Byron Mullens improving as a player, I’m seeing Gerald Henderson becoming a leader, I’m seeing that Jeff Taylor was a steal at the 1st pick in the second round, (Jeff, I know you’re in a slump, but just play through it. It will pass) and I’m seeing the culture change in Charlotte. The problem is that being a fan, I want to win. I want to win now. I want to see Charlotte drop Dwight Howard a max contract and get us an elite center that would be THE elite center in the Eastern conference. I want to see us draft “the man” that will become the next MJ. I want to see our first championship…but…reality is that a rebuild takes time.
As a fan, I have to focus on the fact that this is the first time we have had a head coach that is giving our youth some playing time to gain experience on the court. Hands-on training is just what is needed to make young players get better. MKG, Kemba, Biyombo, Taylor, and Mullens are all getting that very thing. Did you notice that this list of players have actually been our starters for some games, or have at least been on the floor together playing. (Keep the Clippers in mind when you think of youth and rebuilding.) These young men are also buying into the TougherFasterStronger mentality. We’re on a losing streak and I pray that it ends Saturday against the Hornets. I wish it would end tomorrow night against the Nets but with injuries to Mullens and Gordon, it’s hard to say what may happen. Truth of the matter is that unlike last year when we were being blown out by 20-30 points, I’m seeing something different. Last year, all too often we would look like we would just quit out on the court. You don’t see that this year. We play every possession and we claw at the game like the next basket may win it for us. That is why we may end the streak Friday or we may end it Saturday…we’re a tough team that is hard to make assumptions on. You can’t teach heart. Our players have heart, and they display it every night. I actually feel guilty when I miss a Bobcats game because I feel like I’m not being true to the team. Life has to come first, then the Bobcats. I can tell you now that I have a family function that I will not see the Bobcats vs. Hornets game on Saturday. There won’t be a recap for that game…at least not from me. There might be a recap from me tonight as I will be at home watching. If there is a loss again, there may not be a recap for that game either. You guys are tired of hearing about the losses just like I’m tired of them too.
I can point out bright spots for you without a long, drawn out explanation in a game recap. Kemba Walker is playing incredibly and averaging 18.6 points, 6 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. He SHOULD be in the running for most improved player this season, but the Bobcats often get shunned (number of back-to backs scheduled, TV coverage, etc.) when it comes to awards. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 10.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, & 1.4 blocks per game, and I would think that he should also be in the hunt for possible Rookie of the Year running. The players that are putting up numbers are doing so consistently. You’ll usually see Walker, Sessions, Mullens, MKG, Henderson, and Gordon at the top of the stats sheet for getting the job done every night. This is a consistency that was lacking last year. If we can learn to take better care of the ball, get better on defensive assignments and rotations, and get more second chance points, you’ll see this team start to gel and become a force. We saw a glimmer of this very thing at the beginning of the season, and over the course of the schedule, we’ve faced the best of the East and the West. As we drift into the next stretch of games, perhaps our fortune will start to change. Here are the upcoming opponents:
Nets, Hornets, Bulls, Cavs, Pistons, Jazz, Raptors, Pacers, Celtics, Pacers, Magic, Kings…
I see at least 7 opportunities for some more wins. Am I being too optimistic? Well…that’s what fans do.
I have to share a closing story with everyone about my pre-Christmas trip to Gatlinburg. Last Saturday, we had lunch at The Old Mill, and our waiter spotted my Bobcats shirt. He said, “You’ve got to be a true Bobcats fan to wear that shirt.” I said that I was and that I ran this blog site to show my support. Now, I had my wall up because I’m starting to get used to the ridicule of being a Bobcats fan, when all the while I know that we will all have the last laugh once the rebuild is complete. This is the point where I would go into a prying/attacking mode to find out his pro team. I didn’t have to. Instead of going on any sort of attack, he said that I must be one of the fans that “gets it”. He said that it isn’t easy pulling for a team full of 1st round picks and watching them lose game after game when all of the talent that is there should, in theory, should be winning games. He made mention of the Clippers in the days of old, when Blake was an injured rookie, and to look at where they are now. He said that rebuilding takes time and any fan that wears Bobcats gear must fully understand that and he salutes and respects them. Yeah, he was tipped well and I teared up a bit. It felt good to hear those words from an outsider looking in. He “got it”, and I get it. Brighter days are coming down on Trade Street. We just have to weather the storm and fight through the punches. Ourdaywillcome…
On a side note, if ANYONE is interested in becoming an author here at Trade Street Post, feel free to contact us through the link here at the site. I check email constantly, so if you’d like to try out your writing skills, or just want to say hi…or write a 2000+ word essay to describe your fandom of the Bobcats, go for it.