By Scott Lauer
February 21, 2013
Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on bobcats.com on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.
Charlotte, NC – Yesterday, during my radio pregame interview with Head Coach Mike Dunlap, I brought up the fact that fans may forget that two of our best four players, Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens, have only played together for 20 games (out of 54). That’s 37 percent of the games. It would be safe to assume that teams don’t have much of a chance to win games when two of their four most valuable players are together for just over a third of the games together. After Tuesday night’s win in Orlando when Henderson pumped in a season-high 24 points (with 10 rebounds), and Mullens struck for 20 points and 12 boards, I rushed to find that stat, because it reinforced what a different team Charlotte is when they’re healthy and clicking.
Mullens has been outstanding since his return to the starting lineup since missing six weeks with a sprained ankle; he’s averaged close to 20 points in the last six games and his rebounding has been strong too. Henderson missed a month very early in the year with a sprained foot suffered in the second game of the year in Dallas when he was making a move on O.J. Mayo. Henderson is a rock solid player, averaging 13 points. He also maintained a high level of professionalism when he was returning and not playing heavy minutes. Mullens is shooting 33 percent from beyond the arc and his numbers have climbed since his return from injury. At the time he was at 30 percent from long range. In last night’s loss to Detroit, with the team down three in the waning seconds, it was Mullens whose name was called out of a timeout to take an important shot. Unfortunately it came up short, but it’s reflective of how much confidence the team and staff has in his ability. Henderson is over 40 percent from the 3-point arc, an area of his game that he’s worked tirelessly on (confirmed by his dad when he joined us in Philadelphia). His mid-range baseline shot has become a major sweet spot for him as well. He is also showing a comfortable “back you down” post up game against certain defenders. We saw that against Arron Afflalo in Orlando and again last night vs. Detroit.
Both players will become restricted free agents this summer. The Bobcats have the right to match any offer sheet that they may sign, within a seven-day window. This occurs when a player finishes their fourth year in the league, if no extension was reached before the year ended.