Expansion upside for Okafor & Co.

The upside of losing is that you're able to give minutes to young players. In that regard, the expansion Bobcats are winning.

Updated: December 14, 2004, 1:38 PM ET
By George Karl | ESPN Insider
More from George Karl -- The art of coaching a losing team

Editor's Note -- The Hornets visit the Bobcats on Tuesday night, marking the Hornets' first return to Charlotte since moving to New Orleans.

The upside of losing is that you're able to experiment with players, and the expansion Charlotte Bobcats are doing a good job of that. Having a weaker team gives a coach the opportunity to give minutes to young players and even stay with them when they're not playing well.

Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff is able to give guys like 6-10 Emeka Okafor and 7-1 Primoz Brezec more playing time and therefore a greater opportunity to get better.

Okafor, Charlotte's first-round draft pick, has posted 10 straight double-doubles and is averaging a double-double (14 ppg, 11.2 rpg). If he were playing, say, in San Antonio behind Tim Duncan, he wouldn't get the minutes to post those numbers.