Look directly into the eyes of mediocrity, and you may see Josh McRoberts taking an advised three because his team has a dearth of shooters. You may be Jeff Adrien, coming in for "energy minutes" due to a dearth of talent, or Kemba Walker as a "star" due to a series of high picks in lesser drafts.
Really, we can boil mediocrity down or ignore it all we want, but it consumes every human, from conception to the grave.
The Bobcats-Hornets must understand who they are immediately, or redefine themselves entirely. An injury to their best ballhandler - their best player - might sideline their quest for respectability. Last week tells us little.
About last week: instead of celebrating a two-win week, Bobcats-Hornets fans looked forward to a matchup with a much better Miami Heat squad. Hoping to beat the Heat actually played directly into the hands of mediocre thinking, i.e. the only way the Bobcats could beat the Heat in a one-off game relied on a poor-quality effort from the Heat and a fantastic performance from Charlotte.
This kind of game already happened earlier in the season. Chris Bosh just happened to destroy all hope.
In highly entertaining games, the Bobcats beat the Magic and Knicks. In a deplorable effort, they lost to the 76ers on the second-night of a back-to-back. And in another second night of a back-to-back, they lost to the best team in the NBA.
This 2-2 week perfectly defines how the team operates. A good defense and bad offense can only drag you so far in the NBA. One must score to win too.
That said, as the week unfolded, Charlotte certainly had some extraordinary performances.
We can definitively describe Jefferson as "on a tear." Walker had been better lately until he left the Heat game with an ankle injury. Ramon Sessions dunked on Lebron James and had a pretty solid performance against the Heat once Walker left.
Accepting our understanding of how this team will operate without Walker for two weeks could go a long way toward understanding Charlotte's place within the NBA season. If they can sustain a .500 record in his absence - likely 8-10 games - then we can count on a Bobcats team in playoff contention in the Eastern Conference quagmire until March. If not? We might see a team relegated to remnants of the Era of Despair.
The NBA defines success and failure so stringently, as all sports do, that this modicum of Charlotte's success actually buries the team. Being 17-25 would be cause to hang it up and begin the long and tedious search for a new savior (whether via draft or free agency). But this year? Mediocrity reigns. Withstanding a tough injury and working toward a playoff goal still hangs heavy over this squad.
The Bobcats-Hornets have chosen mediocrity. They've chosen to fight.
The fans have a stranger choice. Do we embrace mediocrity or do we hope for better times amid the franchise remodel?
The choice cannot linger much longer. Either this team will fold under the pressure of Kemba's absence or invigorate themselves at the behest of fate.