Prior to the 2004 NBA Draft, former Bobcats GM/Coach Bernie Bickerstaff managed to hoodwink the lowly Clippers into trading down from #2 to #4 in order for Charlotte to select Emeka Okafor. That was the first and last great draft move made by the organization and ever since then Bobcats fans have been subjected to picks ranging from mediocre to mind-numbingly stupid.
A quick recap for the masochistic:
- 2005: Needing a Point Guard, the Bobcats refuse to trade up with Portland (who practically begs Charlotte for the 5th and 13th selections in return for #3). Portland eventually trades with Utah for a lesser package of draft choices. Utah drafts Deron Williams at #3, New Orleans drafts Chris Paul at #4, Bobcats reach for Raymond Felton at #5. Bickerstaff cites “needing bodies” as the reason for hanging on to the #13 selection and not trading up. The #13 pick? Sean “Crab Bread” May.
- 2006: Bobcats have a decent foundation with Felton, Okafor and Wallace and are in need of a dynamic scoring wing player. They own the #3 selection overall and have their choice of either future All-Star Brandon Roy or Rudy Gay. They select a non-athletic white guy with a crappy mustache gimmick and diabetes.
- 2007: Bobcats realize that they wiffed big with Adam Morrison a year earlier so get creative and ship their #8 selection (Brandon Wright) to Golden State for Jason Richardson. Later in the first round, they draft hustling, former ACC Player of the Year Jared Dudley. Richardson and Dudley would later turn into a combination of Boris Diaw and Raja Bell.
- 2008: With new coach Larry Brown, the Bobcats future looks brighter than ever. With a foundation of Okafor, Felton, Wallace and Richardson, the team looks to add size in the frontcourt in order to contend for a playoff spot. Stanford Center Brook Lopez is sliding and Charlotte is on the clock. They select…5’10” PG DJ Augustin. That’s ok, because they added size later by trading a future first round pick for a 7’1″ guy out of France who only out-weighs ‘Lil Augustin by 40 pounds.
So it might amaze the few people out there who are actually paying attention to all of this that the Bobcats just completed their first intelligent, completely rational, well-scouted and well-executed draft in five years. WOO-HOO!!!
They didn’t royally screw it up as they did with May, Morrison or Ajinca. They didn’t desperately reach for decent players like Felton or Augustin earlier in the lottery. Nope, in Duke’s Gerald Henderson they picked a solid player from a great collegiate program who fits a position of need at exactly the spot they should have. And to top it off, they added another great value pick (Xavier’s Derrick Brown) mid-way through the second round. Props to MJ, Higgins and Coach Brown for killing it last night. Your efforts are much appreciated.
STATE OF THE ROSTER
Now that we know who the picks are, it’s easier to see what the Bobcats will be focusing on once we hit free-agency in the next two weeks.
As of today, the starting lineup remains the same. Henderson only starts if Raja goes down for any stretch.
Keep an eye out for anymore Dalembert rumors between now and next week. If a Dalembert deal goes down, look forward to a summer of madness because this likely means that Emeka will be shipped off at some point to bring in a big-time scorer.
Last night’s draft fills the backup SG position and potentially the backup PF position as well depending on how quickly Derrick Brown develops. As of this writing, the Bobcats have a total of ten players under contract and two draft selections, leaving two roster spots available. I think it’s pretty safe to assume that both Alexis Ajinca and Derrick Brown will spend the first couple of months of the season in the D-League so that would leave room for another veteran PF and veteran 3rd PG to be added sometime during Free Agency or Training Camp.
Even if the ‘Cats don’t make any major moves between now and the start of the season, the team is probably looking like a 38-42 win squad in a tougher Eastern Conference. If they can find a way to add an offensive Alpha Dog either through a trade (Monta Ellis) or through free agency (Iverson), add another 4-6 wins to that total.
We’ll have more offseason coverage starting next week during our “Free Agency Preview.”
POLL : The Gerald Henderson Pick? Total Voters: 23
POLL : The Gerald Henderson Pick?
Total Voters: 23