Originally written October 23, 2013 on In The Neutral Zone:
After going 44-38 during the 2009-2010 regular season, the Bobcats have gone a combined 62-168 over the past three seasons, during which the team has had three different head coaches and several top picks in the NBA Draft. With former Lakers assistant Steve Clifford taking over the head coaching gig, the Bobcats will sport an intriguing starting five that will revolve around free-agent acquisition Al Jefferson, who is a lock to put up 18 and 10 on a nightly basis. Unfortunately, the talent level runs thin after the top five players in Charlotte’s rotation, as the remaining players are either remarkably inefficient (Bismack Biyombo, Ramon Sessions, and Anthony Tolliver) or ridiculously overpaid (Ben Gordon). The major storyline to watch is the skill progression of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the No. 2 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. MKG is a dynamic athlete who uses his effort, toughness and aggressiveness to clean the glass and get buckets around the basket. However, on the offensive end, he is completely inept outside of 6 feet, and desperately needs to refine his shot mechanics in order to be an effective NBA scorer. His consistency from the charity stripe is a good sign, but if he wants to hold on to his starting job and avoid the bust label, he needs to add a consistent mid-range game to his offensive arsenal. While the Bobcats are headed towards another season in the NBA cellar, their current crop of young starters is a solid foundation for a franchise that will be undergoing yet another makeover, switching nicknames from the Bobcats back to the Hornets for the 2014-2015 season. Kemba Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller form a solid nucleus of talent and potential, and with a potential star added through this year’s Draft, Charlotte might be able to finally take the next step. A 25-win season may be on the horizon, yet the combination of a top 5 pick in the loaded 2014 Draft and Ben Gordon’s contract coming off the books offers a glimmer of hope for the Charlotte fanbase, which has been told to “wait til next year” since the expansion team came to fruition in 2004. Current Rotation and Projections (All projected statistics are from ESPN’s 2014 Projections) No. Player Name POS MPG PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3PM 1 Kemba Walker PG 35 17.4 3.4 6.6 2 0.4 43.6% 1.5 2 Gerald Henderson SG 32.6 14.5 3.5 2.5 1 0.5 45.1% 1.1 3 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF 28 9.2 6.3 1.6 1 1.1 46.8% 0 4 Cody Zeller PF 29.8 12.1 6.5 1.2 0.9 1 50.1% 0 5 Al Jefferson C 36 20.6 10.2 2 0.9 1.7 49.5% 0 6 Bismack Biyombo C 25.9 4.8 6.8 0.4 0.3 1.8 46.2% 0 7 Ben Gordon SG 21.2 10.6 1.8 1.9 0.5 0.2 41.8% 1.3 8 Ramon Sessions PG 26.7 12.7 3 4 0.8 0.1 43.1% 0.5 9 Josh McRoberts SF 19.5 5.7 4.4 1.8 0.4 0.4 47.4% 0.3 10 Brendan Haywood C 15.4 3.3 4 0.3 0.2 0.7 47.2% 0 11 Anthony Tolliver PF 16.7 4.5 2.9 0.6 0.3 0.3 39.6% 0.7 12 Jeffery Taylor SG 19.6 6.1 1.9 0.8 0.6 0.2 43.1% 0.7 2013-2014 Depth Chart  POS No. 1 No. 2 No. 3 No. 4 PG Kemba Walker Ramon Sessions Jannero Pargo - SG Gerald Henderson Ben Gordon - - SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Jeffery Taylor James Southerland - PF Cody Zeller Josh McRoberts Anthony Tolliver Jeff Adrien C Al Jefferson Bismack Biyombo Brendan Haywood - Player Contracts Key: (P)=Player Option (T)=Team Option (R)=Restricted Free-Agent Player Name POS AGE 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17 Al Jefferson C 28 $13.5 M $13.5 M $13.5 M None Ben Gordon SG 30 $13.2 M None None None Gerald Henderson SG 25 $6.00 M $6.00 M $6.00 M None Ramon Sessions PG 27 $5.00 M None None None Michael Kidd-Gilchrist SF 20 $4.80 M $5.01 M $6.33 M $8.26 M Cody Zeller PF 21 $3.85 M $4.03 M $4.20 M $5.31 M Bismack Biyombo C 21 $3.21 M $4.08 M $5.47 M None Kemba Walker PG 23 $2.70 M $3.45 M $4.67 M None Josh McRoberts PF 26 $2.65 M $2.77 M None None Brendan Haywood C 33 $2.00 M $2.00 M None None Jannero Pargo PG 33 $1.39 M None None None Anthony Tolliver PF 28 $1.02 M None None None Jeff Adrien PF 27 $916 K None None None Jeffery Taylor SF 24 $788 K $915 K None None Overall – – $60.16 M $28.30 M $19.5 M $0 Team Needs: Everything Position Needs: SG, PG The Bobcats didn’t have much going for them last season. They struggled to put points on the board, gave up more than 100 points per game, and let opposing teams shoot the lights out from the perimeter. In fact, Charlotte ranked dead-last in points per game, points allowed, field goal percentage, opposing teams’ 3-point field goal percentage and point differential. The key to correcting these issues will being with the 2014 NBA Draft. The Bobcats need to find a guard who can defend both guard positions and effectively run the offense. Charlotte’s dream prospect should be Dante Exum, an Australian high schooler who will be eligible for the Draft after his senior year. Point guard is his natural position, but at 6’6”, he possesses the length, athleticism and scoring ability to transition between playing lead guard and the 2-guard spot. With Ramon Sessions and Jannero Pargo entering free agency after this season, Exum has added value due to his potential to be a franchise cornerstone at the point guard position. The 2014 NBA Draft has excellent depth, which will allow Charlotte to address another major issue (depth at the power forward position, or perimeter defense) with its early-second round pick. Potential Prospects: First Round PG Dante Exum – Australia – 6’6” 185 Pounds SF Jabari Parker – Duke – 6’8” 240 Pounds SF Glenn Robinson III – Michigan – 6’6” 210 Pounds SG Gary Harris – Michigan St. – 6’4” 215 Pounds SG Wayne Selden – Kansas – 6’5” 220 Pounds Second Round SG PJ Hairston – North Carolina – 6’5” 225 Pounds PF Khem Birch – UNLV – 6’9” 185 Pounds PF Jarnell Stokes – Tennessee – 6’9” 255 Pounds SF Rodney Hood – Duke – 6’8” 185 Pounds SG Markel Brown – Oklahoma St. – 6’3” 190 Pounds 1 total views, 1 views today
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