The Charlotte Bobcats have been built to lose. Even the most cursory glance at their roster makes that abundantly clear. Hell, Byron Mullens has played the third most minutes of anyone on their roster this season. BYRON MULLENS! His name was BJ Mullens until like six seconds ago.* No, this team was supposed to lose, and it’s doing exactly what it was designed to do. But one of the casualties in this scheme for a shot at bringing Anthony Davis and his unibrow to Charlotte is head coach Paul Silas, who is beginning to look like a beaten man.
*No one will ever convince me that he didn’t change his name out of embarrassment at how badly he played in college after being so highly recruited.
Let’s break down his press conference from last night.
0:00-0:15 Silas attempts to keep a brave face by putting on a smile as a reporter asks about the fact that the lowly Sacramento Kings scored 78 points in the paint against the ‘Cats. As soon as Silas actually says the words “78 points in the paint,” the smile fades. The strong facade crashes around him. Depression begins to set in.
00:16-00:31 Silas sadly drums the table between questions. It’s the seated equivalent of a kid kicking dirt while waiting for a friend that stood him up.
00:32-00:48 He tries his best to defend the Bobcats from accusations of a lack of effort, but it’s clear his heart’s not in it. His smile is strained. He begins to claim that they’re tired. That they’re young kids and they’re playing a lot of minutes, but that’s counter-intuitive and he seems to know it. He fidgets with a piece of paper. He opens it and reads. There are no answers for you there, Paul. There are no answers anywhere.
00:49-01:10 He drops the paper. “Excuses are tools of incompetence used to build monuments that amount to nothing, so I’m not making no excuses. But…” He fairly points out that this is a team with only three big men. Paul Silas is an old-school hard-nosed basketball man. He hates excuses, but he’s been given a team so flawed in its construction that even he feels the need to point out that it’s hard not to give up points in the paint when you only have three big guys. Silas stammers looking for words. He’s too classy to point out that those three big men are terrible, insanely raw, and a corpse (Byron Mullens, Bismack Biyombo, and Tyrus Thomas respectively), but he’s thinking it. And he knows we know.
01:11-1:20 Here Silas reaches a low point. He talks about the Sacramento Kings’ big men in glowing terms. “When a team comes like they did with big guys zooming and banging, it’s hard.” This is a low-point for the once great big man. In this moment he is talking about Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins (two big guys who are certainly good) as though they aren’t on a team that has the fifth worst record in the NBA. As though they aren’t two of the most inconsistent, frustrating players in the league.
1:21-1:51 Silas is asked if getting off to a slow start hurt them. He says that he was hoping they could come out with the same kind of effort the team had against Memphis a few days earlier. Silas has given up on pretending like the team gave a good effort. When he begins talking about rookie Kemba Walker, Silas clearly does not want to say anything bad. He strains not to, by peppering his language with pauses and twisting his face into a look that says “I may poop myself at any moment.”
1:52-2:18 A reporter asks if DJ Augustin will be able to play more in these last few games. Silas winces as though he was shot in the shoulder. He does everything but beg DJ to play. DJ has clearly been dodging Silas on this one. Even a career Bobcat like Augustin doesn’t want to be associated with this bunch anymore than he has to.
2:19-2:50 Silas begins spouting off clichés as fast as possible. His face is broken. His spirit gone. He actually says the words “I’m going to do my job, and you’re going to do yours.”
2:51-3:22 The saddest moment of the video. Silas says “I want to win another game… at least.” He smiles as he says it, but the smile disappears as quickly as it arrived. Paul Silas is passed smiling. The Bobcats have beaten him.
3:26-3:42 Silas leans back in his chair. A man evaluating the world. His mouth may be talking about Kemba Walker having to bring the ball up more, but in his head a million questions are being processed. How did I come to this? Where did I go wrong? Will they keep me out of the Hall of Fame later this year just for being associated with this? Could I kill Michael Jordan without getting caught? And most notably, why, God, why?