Buy: Al Jefferson buying into the defense.
Jefferson came into Charlotte during the offseason and one of the main knocks about his game was the fact that he was not a good defender. While no one is going to confuse Big Al with the Roy Hibberts or the Joakim Noahs of the world, it is very evident that Jefferson has really stepped up his play on that end of the floor. His defensive rating per 100 possessions is the highest he has had during his career, and he currently ranks in the top 20 in the league in the category. He is also posting career numbers in defensive rebounding and sits in 13th in the league in defensive rebounding %. For a team that had such struggles on the glass as the Bobcats did, they needed a presence like Jefferson in the paint. It is refreshing to see a player really dedicate himself like Al has to start the year.
Sell: Ben Gordon. All of him.
How bad has this season been for Gordon? He is shooting a woeful 26.9% from 3-point territory, averaging 5.4 points, and has a PER of 6.9. All these stats are easily the worst in the career of the UConn product. When you combine that with a negative win share it makes it hard to find value in Ben. While some could look to him and his expiring contract (Charlotte is paying him $15 million this year. I wish that was a typo) as a possible trade chip, Gordon has pretty much thrown any notion of that out the window with his attitude and demeanor with this team. I don’t think I’m the only one counting down the minutes until the Bobcats are rid of him.
Buy: Steve Clifford
Clifford is clearly a great decision in the coaching department. Not only was he shrewd enough to surround himself with great assistants, but he also found a way to get across a message of toughness and defense that Mike Dunlap was never able to do. The Bobcats are having their best defensive season since the team that made it to the only playoffs trip in franchise history. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether he can take this young roster and develop the talent therein. I realize 40 games into a coaching stint are not going to produce those kind of results, but if he and the rest of his staff can allow the players to realize their immense potential this team is headed for some really great years.