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News » What can Brown do for you? Bobcats hope it's a playoff trip

What can Brown do for you? Bobcats hope it's a playoff trip

What can Brown do for you? Bobcats hope it's a playoff trip Nazr Mohammed learned the NBA's winning formula early in his career: Keep the game close going into the fourth quarter, then hand the ball to the team's star and get out of his way.

It worked well in Philadelphia, where Allen Iverson shouldered the burden of carrying the 76ers to the NBA Finals. And it stayed true during his stops in San Antonio and Detroit. But in Charlotte, Mohammed has landed in a situation where that formula is missing a key variable.

The Bobcats lack that franchise player.

Trades in the last year have shipped off their most potent scorer and their low-post threat. What remains is a roster largely made up of role players, many of whom have been key parts to successful teams but never asked to carry one.

But there is one superstar Mohammed believes can carry the Bobcats : coach Larry Brown.

"Coach is our star," said Mohammed, who will join his teammates for a preseason game against the New Orleans Hornets tonight at the Greensboro Coliseum. "We have to listen to him, because he is the guy who is going to lead us from night to night."

Brown just might be the only piece separating the Bobcats from an outside shot at their first playoff berth and another fall of gloomy projections. Most coaches given the Bobcats' roster would be written off as a lost cause. But cynicism is often a risky policy when Brown is involved.

The former North Carolina guard has taken pro Basketball teams to the playoffs in 17 of his 24 seasons, and his 1,045 NBA victories are filled with examples of quick turnarounds. He took a Philadelphia team that won 28 games in 1999 to the NBA Finals two years later, and lifted the Indiana Pacers from four-time first-round playoff losers to back-to-back Eastern Conference finals appearances.

Those achievements were often credited to Brown's professorial approach to coaching. Rather than just tell a player what to do, Bobcats forward Gerald Wallace said, Brown is willing to halt practice for tutoring sessions.

First, he'll explain where a player should be on the floor, then illustrate why it helps him and how it gives his team an advantage. And he does it in a way the entire team understands.

"When he takes the time out to do that, everybody sees it, and it seems to draw everybody together," Wallace said. "He takes real pride in coaching us and showing us how to play the game the right way and bring out the best in his players."

That focus on instruction and fundamentals may be vital to this Bobcats team, because their success will largely depend on how well they function as a unit.

The Bobcats can no longer rely on Jason Richardson to provide clutch shots in the fourth quarter, nor can they dump the ball inside to physical post player Emeka Okafor. Trades shipped off both of those key pieces of past Bobcats teams during a series of moves that reshaped Charlotte to better fit Brown's philosophies, which value passing, versatility and a keen understanding of the game.

"We are much better than last year," Brown said. "Our potential's better. And we're excited about starting the season without worrying about making ourselves better, in terms of by trade or free agency."

But it also means the Bobcats lack a player who can will them to victory.

Instead, Charlotte's players said they must look to Brown as that franchise player and buy in to his leadership. It's a formula that has worked for other teams.

* Lacking go-to players, the Bobcats are leaning on their new (old?) coach to provide one of his patented turnarounds. They host New Orleans at the Greensboro Coliseum tonight.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website:
Added: October 9, 2009


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