As Matt Moore mentioned yesterday, the Bobcats are in a bit of a bind. On one hand, Tyson Chandler is the most talented center on the roster, regardless of his nonexistent offensive game. He’s being payed a pretty penny to man the middle for Charlotte, which he hasn’t done all that often or effectively this season. And on the other hand, the Bobcats are reliant, almost dependent on — and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this — Nazr Mohammed.
With Chandler scheduled to make his return tonight, Larry Brown will have to reconcile the difference between reputation and production. Does LB have the gall to actually start Nazr over Tyson full-time? The numbers (in particular, Player Efficiency Rating and the per-minute stats) say he should, but it’s one thing to say you’re going to bench your “starting” center, and another thing entirely to actually do it. Not that Brown even said that he would bench Chandler…or that he’ll actually do it.
It’s hard to believe that the Bobcats have accomplished so much this season not only without Emeka Okafor, but also without the man they traded him for. That said, as hard as it is to believe, it’s imperative that Brown not forget it; Nazr Mohammed is the center that has Charlotte in the race for a playoff spot (with an inside track at that, as the ‘Cats currently sit tied for the 6th seed on the East), and in theory the job should be his to lose. But rarely are things in the NBA quite so simple, which is why I’d expect that once he’s fully in game shape, Tyson Chandler will resume his role as a starter, despite Mohammed’s credible work this season.