Basketball

GET TO KNOW THE BOBCATS

No. 21

Alexis Ajinca

Pos.: C-F Ht.: 7-0 Wt.: 220 Yrs.: R

From: France

What he already knows: He has the makings of a good high-post center, since he shoots with range and passes well from the top of the key.

What he still must learn: How to guard the post at the NBA level without fouling constantly. He isn't strong enough to root opponents out of favored positions on the floor, and he tends to reach, which leads to fouls.

No. 14

D.J. Augustin

Pos.: G Ht.: 6-0 Wt.: 180 Yrs.: R

From: Texas

What he already knows: How to create an open shot (though perhaps a bit too much for himself). He has a quick first step and 3-point range, so he knows how to create space.

What he still must learn: Effective point guards, particularly playing for Larry Brown, have to be conduits to the rest of the players. He seems somewhat introverted. Being more vocal and assertive is part of the job description.

No. 1

Andre Brown

Pos.: F Ht.: 6-9 Wt.: 245 Yrs.: 2

From: DePaul

What he already knows: He's tough and persistent on the boards, which makes him instantly valuable on a team that has never rebounded well.

What he still must learn: How to take position away from opponents before they get the ball, because he'll spend a lot of time guarding taller, bulkier players in the NBA.

No. 12

Shannon Brown

Pos.: G Ht.: 6-4 Wt.: 211 Yrs.: 2

From: Michigan State

What he already knows: How to use his strong frame and superior athletic ability to score some easy baskets, particularly in transition.

What he still must learn: Patience and precision. He often seems in a hurry to have an impact, which leads to rushed decisions and turnovers.

No. 13

Matt Carroll

Pos.: G Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 212 Yrs.: 5

From: Notre Dame

What he already knows: His jump shot got him that long-term contract, but defending, passing and driving – not being one-dimensional – will keep new coach Larry Brown happy.

What he still must learn: Carroll typically had the green light to shoot whenever open. Brown wants Carroll and all the players to be more conscious of shot clock, searching for higher-percentage shots early in each possession.

No. 4

Jared Dudley

Pos.: F Ht.: 6-7 Wt.: 225 Yrs.: 1

From: Boston College

What he already knows: That if you do the things more talented players don't prioritize (rebounding, chasing down loose balls, rotating efficiently on defense), Larry Brown will find you minutes on any team.

What he still must learn: Shot selection. Teams leave him open a lot along the perimeter, seemingly because they don't have much respect for his jump shot. Dudley had a hot streak from 3-point range late last season, and now he's perhaps overconfident.

No. 20

Raymond Felton

Pos.: G Ht.: 6-1 Wt.: 198 Yrs.: 3

From: North Carolina

What he already knows: How to suck up your frustration and compete. The misadventure that was Sam Vincent's year as coach fell hardest on Felton. Yet no matter how much he was jerked around, he kept his complaints private and stayed mentally tough.

What he still must learn: How to use his dribble to get somewhere. Felton can bounce the ball too long without forcing the defense to shift or create an open shot for a teammate.

No. 15

Ryan Hollins

Pos.: C Ht.: 7-0 Wt.: 230 Yrs.: 2

From: UCLA

What he already knows: That he's long and athletic enough to get extra chances to prove he can play at the NBA level.

What he still must learn: Mental and emotional maturity. This is his third NBA season, and it's time to learn from his on-court mistakes and harness all that aggressiveness.

No. 43

Linton Johnson

Pos.: F Ht.: 6-8 Wt.: 205 Yrs.: 5

From: Tulane

What he already knows: That if you apply yourself as a defender and rebounder, NBA franchises will find you a spot, even if you're jumping from team-to-team each preseason.

What he must learn: Past coaches have said it's important he accepts his limitations as a shooter. And while this isn't a learning issue, it sure would help if he could add some bulk to a 6-8, 205-pound body.

No. 42

Sean May

Pos.: F-C Ht.: 6-9 Wt.: 266 Yrs.: 2

From: North Carolina

What he already knows: The subtleties of pro basketball. May can shoot, pass, create shots in the post and rotate on defense. He's one of those guys always associated with high basketball IQ.

What he still must learn: That a bad knee and a pudgy body are a formula for a short pro career. It's not May's fault the cartilage in his right knee broke down, but he'll never have a better shot at starting in the NBA than right now, so conditioning is imperative.

No. 6

Nazr Mohammed

Pos.: C Ht.: 6-10 Wt.: 250 Yrs.: 10

From: Kentucky

What he already knows: What Larry Brown expects, from a previous stint with the coach in Philadelphia. Brown will use Mohammed as an informal sounding board, either to warn the players when they're out of line or to warn Brown when he's pushing too hard.

What he still must learn: It's hard for a 10-year veteran to change that much, but Mohammed has a reputation for poor hands in the post, as far as catching quick passes and converting them into post-up baskets.

No. 35

Adam Morrison

Pos.: F Ht.: 6-8 Wt.: 205 Yrs.: 1

From: Gonzaga

What he already knows: How to score in a variety of ways – off the spot-up, off the dribble or moving without the ball. That's what made him special at Gonzaga, and he needs to get back to that offensive versatility.

What he still must learn: How to keep his feet in front of the man he's guarding and how to use his length defensively. He'll never be a superior defender, but he can be more efficient at the defensive end.

No. 50

Emeka Okafor

Pos.: C Ht.: 6-10 Wt.: 255 Yrs.: 4

From: Connecticut

What he already knows: That low-post scoring and rebounding are in short supply for the Bobcats. Okafor is one of only four players to average a double-double (points and rebounds) in each of the past four NBA seasons.

What he still must learn: To assertively dunk the ball, rather than lay it up off the glass so much. Twelve percent of Okafor's shots were blocked last season, and historically he's a poor foul-shooter.

No. 23

Jason Richardson

Pos.: G-F Ht.: 6-6 Wt.: 225 Yrs.: 7

From: Michigan State

What he already knows: That between his shooting range (most 3-pointers in the NBA last season) and explosiveness (a former two-time dunk champ), this guy should be just about unstoppable at the offensive end.

What he still must learn: To channel all that athleticism to be as efficient a defender as he is a scorer.

No. 3

Gerald Wallace

Pos.: F Ht.: 6-7 Wt.: 220 Yrs.: 7

From: Alabama

What he already knows: That an athlete of his stature can score in double figures just by running the floor, attacking the offensive boards and overplaying the passing lanes defensively.

What he still must learn: That gambling for spectacular steals and dunks isn't necessarily the right decision if it leaves teammates frequently compromised defensively.

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