Monday, June 4, 2012

How Can I Help You? Charlotte Bobcats

Wow. That is quite a tall order. How can we help the Charlotte Bobcats? They need a lot of help. Finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history last season, Charlotte does not seem like a fun place for any draft pick to go. Alas, someone must go there, and with Anthony Davis almost definitely not an option, the Bobcats will need to look elsewhere for a building block. Let's look at their current situation.

The Bobcats will take a huge hit when arguably their best player, D. J. Augustin, will become a free agent, and it is unlikely that he will return to the team. That means that Kemba Walker is going to take over the starting point guard spot and Charlotte will use this season to evaluate if he can truly be their PG of the future. At shooting guard sits the best Bobcat who will not be a free agent, Gerald Henderson. The former Duke product really broke out this year and looks like he is capable of being a starting SG in this league. Because Charlotte has these players and because this draft is more forward heavy than guard heavy at the top, they should not try to improve the backcourt right away, or at least with the #2 pick.

At small forward, there is Corey Maggette and Reggie Williams. Maggette is clearly not in the team's future plans, so they will try to get rid of him and draft with SF as a need. Similarly with the power forward position, Tyrus Thomas and D. J. White occupy that position. Time to find a new PF.

Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens are the two main centers for the Bobcats. Mullens is worth forgetting, but Biyombo, with his size and athleticism, has the ability to be a Ben Wallace type of player even though he's only 6' 9". And because Charlotte used a lottery pick on him last year, they certainly won't be giving up on him yet.

Charlotte picks #2 and #31 overall. So who should they take? Let's explore the options.

Even with Davis out of the picture, there are still several players who can really help this team. With all the needs that they have, the Bobcats will probably be looking to go for the best player available, although shooting guard is something that they can look past. That being said, the top four players remaining on the board (excluding Brad Beal, a shooting guard) are Thomas Robinson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andre Drummond, and Harrison Barnes.

Let me put emphasis on this pick. The Bobcats NEED it to pan out. Desperately. That being said, I feel like they are not going to pick the risky Drummond and will probably stay away from Barnes too, even though the connections are there for him (scorer out of UNC like Charlotte owner Michael Jordan). That leaves Robinson and Kidd-Gilchrist.

Kidd-Gilchrist is the kind of player that does everything well, but does nothing really well. His biggest benefits are his defense and motor, as he was a spark for Kentucky on both ends of the floor last year. He is also very good in transition. However, he does have some inefficiencies on offense, as he struggles with his shot and had a hard time creating it by himself. Nonetheless, Kidd-Gilchrist is a fantastic player that any team would want to have. It's just his upside is limited and I can't see him ever being much better than the 5th or 6th best player on a good team.

Here is why I think Robinson should be selected with the 2nd overall pick. He is a very explosive player who is both very strong and physical, but also very fast, meaning he should be able to contribute in the NBA right away. His rebounding and ability to finish around the rim are both strong facets of his game. While he does have room for improvement offensively, he is better than Kidd-Gilchrist and will make the necessary adjustments. Robinson is a player that can become an All-Star as a pro and should be the best form of help for the Bobcats.

With the 31st pick, Charlotte has a little tougher of a decision. While it is hard to determine who would still be on the board at the time, I'll give you some players that would best fit the Bobcats' needs and who could also be the best talent available at the time.

Jeffery Taylor from Vanderbilt is one of the most versatile players in the draft. He runs the floor well, can score from anywhere, and has the ability to defend multiple positions. Taylor has the potential to not only fill multiple holes for the Bobcats, but also can become a big time player in the NBA.

Will Barton from Memphis, who I mentioned in an earlier article, is another wing player who has dynamic scoring ability. Barton stepped up his game in his sophomore year with the Tigers and can give Charlotte a talented scorer right away. As young as he is, Barton also displayed signs of leadership, something that the Bobcats are dying for.

Continuing the trend of athletic forwards, Quincy Miller from Baylor has a 7' 3" wingspan and great defensive ability that could contribute to the Charlotte team. He is a solid mid range shooter who is also a crafty scorer in the paint.

One more forward for you: Kris Middleton. Middleton can score with just about anyone, and even though he was not at full strength this past season, he is still effective shooting from deep and scoring inside. He may need to bulk up, but he's probably one of the more underrated players in the draft.

Finally, if the Bobcats decide that Biyombo is too small for center or if he may never develop into a starting caliber player, they may want to invest in another big man, The best one who will probably still be remaining would be Gonzaga's Robert Sacre. He's a smart player and a great free throw shooter, something that will make up for his lack of athleticism. If he is guided in the right direction, he could become a solid center one day.

In closing, I feel like the Bobcats should select Thomas Robinson with the 2nd overall pick and Jefferey Taylor with the 31st overall pick. These two would give them a young core of Walker, Henderson, Biyombo, Taylor, and Robinson, and they should be able to help from the beginning. That is a must for Charlotte, who cannot have a repeat of last season.

Check back in Wednesday as I go over the team that has the 3rd overall pick in the NBA draft, the Washington Wizards.

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