As the Bobcats' season came to a close Wednesday night with a 21-61 record, Gerald Henderson emerged into the locker room singing Queen's We Are The Champions. Kemba Walker, one locker stall over, told reporters they can "compete with anyone when we want to." Even head coach Mike Dunlap used words like "unbelievable" and "exciting" in his post-game press conference when describing the improvement throughout the season. That's a dramatic change from the previous season. A 21-win campaign, culminating with the Bobcats' 105-98 win over the Cavs, rarely ends with such promise. For Charlotte, which closed everything with a three-game winning streak, avoided the dubious act of posting the NBA's worst seasonal record. That dishonor, in a matter of speaking, goes to the Orlando Magic. "I want more wins. I think the organization wants more wins," Dunlap said. "But 'inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard.' I was raised on that. I never thought we were going to blink our eyes and have 35 wins. I thought it was always going to be a slog, and we're slowly moving this thing around." In that slog came significant peaks and valleys. The peak came early, just 22 days into the season, when the 7-5 Bobcats matched their win total from the previous year. The back-to-reality jolt soon came in the form of an 18-game losing streak, relegating the Bobcats to second-class status once again. That miserable stretch eventually ended and Charlotte found stability once more, winning seven of its last nine home games. "That (18-game losing streak) was tough," Dunlap said. "But at the same time we kept our eye on the ball and on our development and also our chemistry and approaching the game professionally. Our fans really kept coming, so there was something. It was an It, but it was really positive. I just think that what's going on — and some of it's hard to describe — but it’s really positive." What’s not hard to convey is the transformation of Kemba Walker and Henderson late in the season. The backcourt duo was the second-highest scoring backcourt in the league over the last 20 games, averaging 40.1 points. Part of that has to be attributed to the Bobcats' inability to score in the post, but it's impossible to ignore Henderson’s 24.3 points on 47.6-percent shooting from the field during that stretch. "You start with Kemba and Gerald," said Dunlap, when asked who the franchise builds around. "Those two guys are pillars, and they've done a wonderful job of just getting a little bit better all year long." But with Henderson becoming a restricted free agent this summer, is this Charlotte's backcourt of the future? Walker has to be the centerpiece going forward — whether the franchise likes it or not — given its recent drafting history. At some point, though, enough is enough and you have to say this is our guy.
Bobcats optimistic about 'fantastic' future
Fox Sports Carolinas | Apr 20