Bell, while surely disappointed to leave his friend Steve Nash and a winning basketball team, did well under Larry Brown in Philadelphia and fits the Brown prototype exactly.
But the Diaw/Brown pairing -- that's what
Brown has built a reputation as one of the hardest coaches to play for. He combines the mind games of Phil Jackson, the old-school authoritarianism of Jerry Sloan, the constant tinkering of Avery Johnson and the repressive offensive style of Jeff Van Gundy. Those are four good coaches, but I'm not building this Frankenstein to be complimentary. Combined, those traits must be excruciating for Brown's players. There's a reason he sat outside the coaching circles for a year (despite pleading for a few jobs) and ended up taking the undesirable (considering Brown's legend status) Charlotte gig.
And then we have Diaw, a player who showed up to the 2007-08 season at least 20 pounds overweight. A player Jack McCallum described in Seven Seconds or Less as someone who would have to be forced to work on a specific move or drill in practice ... while playing for the mostly laissez-faire Suns. A player whose skill set is a complete enigma and has little to no business in a highly structured, draw-and-kick offense. You never know what flavor of production Diaw will bring because Diaw doesn't know what flavor of production he will bring. He's like an offensive version of Shawn Marion, except nothing is compulsory and everything is conditional. Maybe a slightly more skilled/less physical Andrei Kirilenko is the appropriate comparison. Diaw is an absolute mystery every single night.
How do you think that will fly with Brown?
It could be magical from the perspective of an outsider seeking entertainment, if only because I'd love to see Diaw pretend to be a true power forward or to read what insults/backhanded compliments Brown comes up with for the local press. And -- who knows? -- maybe Brown is the type of ball-buster Diaw needs. So long as Brown sticks in Charlotte we'll get to see this play out, as Diaw's signed through 2012. If we know Brown, he makes personnel decisions from his seat on the sidelines. Perhaps he sees something in Diaw he can exploit to get the Bobcats in the playoff hunt. Perhaps not. We'll see.