Rich Cho’s face painted the perfect portrait of anguish for an entire organization after realizing his club just missed out on the top pick in this month’s NBA Draft.
Heading into the NBA Draft Lottery last month, the Charlotte Bobcats had a 25 percent chance at landing the top pick and eventually drafting Kentucky big man Anthony Davis. The Bobcats were a measly 7-59 (worst winning percentage in league history, .106%) and averaged a league low 87 points through 66 games. Charlotte allowed around 101 points per game; good enough for 27th worst in the NBA.
Oh, and yes, they ranked 29th worst in rebounds per game, so not only could they not score or defend, they also let critical possessions slip away because of their inability to attack the glass.
The numbers don’t lie. It is clear the Bobcats need help and a lot of it. Missing out on the top pick hurts, but they need to get over it and move forward. Charlotte is assured the number two pick in the draft and they have plenty of options available.
One of those options is the Bobcats could trade the pick. The Bobcats could potentially trade for more draft picks, but they would more then likely want current NBA talent in return. They could bring in a couple of solid veteran players that possess experience and leadership qualities to help a young inexperienced team.
However, Charlotte has played this card in recent years.
In 2009, the Bobcats brought in veteran forward Stephen Jackson to team up with veteran Gerald Wallace, who Charlotte drafted in their 2004 expansion draft. Jackson was not known for his leadership skills but he did bring with him plenty of solid offensive and defensive traits. Trading for Jackson proved to be a good move as Charlotte made their first and only playoff appearance in 2010 as the seventh seed in the East. They eventually got swept by the Orlando Magic which has sent the Bobcats on downward spiral ever since.
Charlotte can go this route again, but should think long and hard before they act. There are a lot of questions concerning this draft class and no one right now can be pegged as a future franchise player. Considering all of this; Charlotte should keep their second pick in hopes that they can build around a young leader. They probably won’t end up with the next Kobe of LeBron, but they could end-up with a Serge Ibaka or Kawhi Leonard type. They need to hunker down and slowly build through the draft like Oklahoma City and Memphis did in past years to get their respective squads back in the postseason.
So, let’s say the Bobcats stay put and don’t trade their coveted second pick. Charlotte needs both defense and offense, so they need a player that can guarantee or a least provide both. The Bobcats actually have a pretty young and stable backcourt with DJ Augustine and Gerald Henderson. Kemba Walker, a rookie last season, provides Charlotte with depth off the bench at the guard spots. Charlotte has young players that can be potential scorers, so at this point they probably need to focus more on the defensive end of the floor. Allowing 101 points per game gives a young team no hope unless you have big time scorers, which the Bobcats don’t have right now.
The Bobcats have so many needs that mock drafts everywhere have them taking someone different. General Manager Rich Cho and Owner Michael Jordan have their work cut out for them. They really can’t go wrong with taking one of these five players listed below. No one in this draft, pick two on back, is going to save this team next season, so it is important that they draft a solid player they can continue to build around. Below are five players Charlotte should be focusing on:
Thomas Robinson 6’10”, PF
Robinson is not a big time scorer, but would be a monster presence in the paint for Charlotte. Bobcats’ Forward/Center Bismack Biyombo averaged 5.8 rebounds per game as a rookie, meaning he needs help down low. Robinson can help out the rebounding department and defend the interior by using his giant frame to move guys out of the paint. In his last season at Kansas he showed the ability to shoot the mid-range jumper and score around the rim. Robinson’s balanced abilities fill most of the needs possible right now for the Bobcats plus he is the most mature guy in the top five at age 21.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 6’7” F
Like Robinson; Kidd-Gilchrist is not a huge offensive threat….yet. K-G can bring a defensive presence both inside and on the perimeter. Even being a rookie next season; he could easily start at Forward and guard the top players in the league night in and night out for the Bobcats. Similar to what Wes Matthews does for the Trail Blazers. As a rookie at Kentucky last season, K-G showed the capability to be a leader on a young team. Charlotte needs a guy who can get after it defensively and be a leader on the floor. The Bobcats can’t go wrong with Kidd-Gilchrist with the second pick.
Harrison Barnes 6’8” F
Don’t laugh, but Barnes makes sense here. Michael Jordan has grown infamous for drafting players from his Alma Mater, UNC. However, Barnes can defend and score. Known more for his knack as a scorer; Barnes has the potential to be a huge threat defensively. A low key environment like Charlotte could be a good fit for him and yes he might help sell some tickets being that he is UNC guy.
6’10” Andre Drummond C
Still raw offensively and defensively, so probably not going to Charlotte. The Bobcats do need a Center and Drummond could help out in the rebounding column. Unless, he is amazing in his pre-draft workout for the Bobcats; he will be a long shot to be drafted second by Charlotte.
Bradley Beal 6’3” SG
Very talented Guard, but Charlotte doesn’t need anymore Guards right now. Some mock drafts have Beal going to the Bobcats at two, which just doesn’t make sense. Beal would add scoring to their roster and they desperately need it. Augustine, Henderson, and Walker are still super young and can become better scorers. No need to create a log jam with the Guards.
So, there it is. If the Bobcats are going to consider any five players it should be those five. Drummond and Beal are stretches and unless they blow coaches away in the next couple of weeks, the Bobcats should trim their list down to three.
Charlotte needs defense followed by rebounding. The scoring will come as these young players continue to grow and get better. The Bobcats should go big with Thomas Robinson and somehow find a perimeter defender in free agency or via trade. If they decide to pass on Robinson and fill the three spot instead, then they could probably try and land a big man in a similar type fashion.
No doubt Charlotte sits in a fascinating spot in this draft with the second pick. With so many different kinds of players and so many holes to fill they have a lot to consider come June 28th.