Mad Dog and the Glory of Offensive Boards

Philip Maymin
Basketball News Services 

Here are three more players the Bobcats will be looking at for their expansion draft: little Tyronn Lue of Orlando and big offensive rebounders George Lynch of New Orleans and Mark Madsen of Minnesota. Offensive rebounding is an unheralded skill but my personal favorite. It's like getting extra possessions. The Bobcats have a chance to grab the NBA's tenth-best offensive rebounder per 48 minutes for a minimum salary and just a one-year contract. How can you pass that up?

Tyronn Luehas a player option to become a free agent this summer. Should he choose to exercise that right before the expansion draft, he will be unavailable to the Bobcats except through the open market. Should he wait and be chosen by the Bobcats, then he can choose to see how he'd fit in Charlotte before deciding to go free. Of course, if he goes free, the Bobcats would owe Lue nothing.

Lue is a career backup point guard. He started more games this season than he has the rest of his career, and unless the Bobcats have other plans, this will likely be his last year with so many starts. Orlando wants him to be a backup point guard, and he is willing to do that. But if the Bobcats take a tall high school point guard like Shaun Livingston, will it really help to have a relatively short backup and mentor? A lot of what Lue brings to the table is hustle, defense, and long-range shots. Those are key qualities but if the Bobcats do land Livingston, they'd probably prefer someone a little taller and with more experience being his tutor.

George Lynchof the Hornets has a very friendly contract: he's making about $3 million for each of the next two years. That's pretty much exactly the type of contract the Bobcats are looking for. They want his salary to come off the books at the end of the second season so that they can pursue marquee free agents, and they want the salary to be not overly large in the meantime. Lynch's contract matches perfectly. Furthermore, Lynch is an excellent rebounding forward, especially off the offensive glass. In his rookie season he actually grabbed more offensive rebounds than defensive ones. That's the kind of skill that makes everybody around you better because it essentially gives you extra possessions. Over his career, Lynch is averaging about 7 points and 5 rebounds per game, along with 1.4 assists per game. He's a solid contributor, a veteran with playoff experience, and a former Charlotte player: he was a Hornet since before the team moved to the Big Easy. He's also a local boy, having graduated North Carolina in 1993.

Mark Madsen , formerly the Dancing Laker, now the hustling Wolf, is a bundle of energy both on the court and on the bench. He is earning the minimum salary and has just one year left on his contract. Over his career, he has averaged just 2.9 points and 2.9 rebounds, but he is known as the Mad Dog for his short bursts of energy. To be fair, his numbers are based on low minutes: he has averaged only 14 per game over his four year career. So the upside is he still has fresh legs. Furthermore, he is also an outstanding offensive rebounder. He ranks 10th in the NBA in offensive rebounds per 48 minutes, at 5.2. Bear in mind that Moses Malone, the all-time career leader in offensive rebounds per game, averaged just over 5 per game. Give Mad Dog some mad minutes, and he just might grab you some mad rebounds.

Of the three, Madsen appears most intriguing, though if he had two more years remaining that would be even better.

The Bobcats schedule will be announced in late July.

168 days until opening night.

Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer notes: The Bobcats are still negotiating with WFNZ (610-AM) on whether the Charlotte-based sports talk station will be team's radio flagship. It appears less certain than it once did that WFNZ and the Bobcats will complete a deal. "All I can say is we're still talking it out with them," said WFNZ operations manager D.J. Stout. "It definitely could happen, but it just as possibly might not." The Bobcats declined comment on the radio situation.


Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observerwrites: Charlotte Bobcats executive vice president Ed Tapscott was named president of Bobcats Basketball Holdings, LLC, on Monday.The change in title is more representative of Tapscott's authority as CEO of the Bobcats, the WNBA's Sting and C-SET. Bobcats owner Bob Johnson hired Tapscott within weeks of being awarded the Charlotte NBA expansion franchise in December of 2002.

Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observerwrites: Look for NBA veteran announcer Matt Devlin to end up as the television play-by-play announcer for the Charlotte Bobcats.Devlin, currently in the same position with the Memphis Grizzlies, is in final negotiations with the Bobcats, according to two sources close to the situation. TV play-by-play is considered a key position for the Bobcats, since team owner Bob Johnson is building a new regional sports network -- C-SET -- around Bobcats telecasts.

Johnny Ludden ofThe San Antonio Express-Newswrites: The Spurs might expose Malik Rose in the expansion draft, but Bobcats officials have said they're not interested in taking on veterans with long contracts.Rose has five years and almost $33 million remaining on his contract.