WILMINGTON Matt Carroll is paid to find, take and make open jump shots.
He did all of the above the first day of Charlotte Bobcats training camp, swishing a 3-pointer in a full-court drill. What's not to like?
Plenty, new coach Larry Brown told all the players: Carroll launched that attempt seconds into a possession. The fact that he made it didn't justify the decision.
“My defender's hands were down, so I shot it. He said that's a bad shot, and I don't hear that too often,'' Carroll recalled.
“But I knew what he was saying…a one-pass shot, with a defender on you, isn't a great shot. We can get something better than that.''
By nature, Brown challenges. These early practices have been as exhausting mentally as they were physically because he persistently questions why players do certain things certain ways at certain times, and “because it worked out'' is not an acceptable reply.
Brown's pet peeve is bad shot selection. It makes him nuts when players default to a quick jump shot, rather than display the patience to probe a defense with multiple passes. So even if Carroll is a career 41 percent 3-point shooter, this wasn't the time to show off that skill.
Backup center Nazr Mohammed saw this one coming, having played for Brown with the Philadelphia 76ers. He says Brown called out Carroll Tuesday, more to make a point to less-skilled shooters on this team.
“He doesn't want to take your game away, but he's going to teach you to play the right way,'' Mohammed said. “Remember, there's a young guy (playing) behind you, watching you. You don't want him thinking, ‘OK, Matt took a shot like that. Let me take that shot.'
“No. There are different rules for different guys. That's basketball. And you have to understand your game.''
Brown preaches patience; at least three passes before anyone takes a shot, unless it's a layup. Why is he such a nag about this?
“The more we move the ball, the higher-percentage shot we get,'' Brown said. “The chance of getting fouled goes up and the chance (for an offensive) rebound goes up. And we can stop the (other team's) fast break.''
That's the flip side of this; bad shot selection might be an offensive mistake, but it hurts you most in transition defense.
“Phoenix is a perfect example,'' Brown said of the high-scoring, defensively-challenged Suns. “They're pretty good at getting a stop when their defense is set, but that's something you give up'' by constantly launching quick shots.
It's about finding a balance between talent and principles. Brown's happy to have shooters; they just need to know when and where to do their thing.
“I don't want to take that away from Jason (Richardson) or Matt or D.J. (Augustin) – people I know can knock it down,'' Brown said. “But right now we've got to figure out how to play.''