Much-maligned Charlotte Bobcats forward-center Byron Mullens suffered an ankle sprain on Saturday night against the Denver Nuggets, and had to be helped off of the court with his return date in question.
In his absence, the recently-acquired Hakim Warrick will most likely benefit and contribute more minutes. That may not be the worst thing for Charlotte.
Since coming to the Bobcats after being traded for Matt Carroll, Warrick hasn’t been given much of an opportunity to contribute, playing in only 11 games and averaging only 11.6 minutes per game.
In his seven previous seasons, Warrick has shown that he can be productive if he is given the opportunity. Every season that he has averaged over 20 minutes per game, his per-game averages have been quite good.
In the four seasons where he’s gotten those minutes, he’s averaged 11.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Those numbers aren’t eye-popping, but considering his career-high in minutes per game is 26.2, they’re actually quite effective.
For a Bobcats team that is desperate for energy and quality in the post on both ends of the floor, Warrick could be a catalyst for them. If given the chance with Mullens being out, Warrick has the chance to prove that he is deserving of being part of this team’s regular rotation.
While he may not be able to put up the same numbers as Mullens, he will be able to be more effective with his shots and decision-making. Warrick has a career field-goal percentage of 49.1 percent, while Mullens was shooting an abysmal 37.1 percent this season.
If Warrick can prove to be that efficient, he could easily find himself playing important minutes for the Bobcats. There’s no doubt that Warrick is a much better offensive threat than Charlotte’s other front-court players like Brendan Haywood, Bismack Biyombo and Desagna Diop.
After being buried on the bench for the majority of his short tenure with the Bobcats, Warrick now can seize the opportunity and be a spark for this Bobcats team in the post. If he doesn’t perform well, then Charlotte will be right where they are now when Mullens returns.
However, the chance that he could be a nice surprise that works his way into the rotation during Mullens’ injury is enough to give Bobcats fans a slight glimmer of hope.