Welcome to a five-part look at the 2008 NBA Draft from the perspective of the Charlotte Bobcats. Part One is a basic look at the Bobcats’ needs as they stand currently. Part Two takes a detailed look at the draft lottery process which determines where the team will pick. Part Three will be an examination of the Bobcats’ options if they should luck out in the lottery and move up into one of the top three picks, while Part Four will be a look at the team’s possible choices if they stay in their spot with the eighth pick. At the end of this odyssey, Part Five will consider the Bobcats second round pick.
With the coaching situation partially taken care of (official Larry Brown announcement by Wednesday at the latest?), let’s turn our attention to the next most important aspect of this offseason for the Bobcats: the 2008 NBA Draft. Currently, the team holds the eighth pick in the lottery, as well as the eighth pick in the second round (#38 overall).
This draft will not be quite as important for the Bobcats as past ones have been. The team has a young, talented core, and barring a major roster upheaval at the behest of the new coach, there aren’t as many slots that need to be filled this offseason. Notice the phrase “as many”, though — there are still some holes in this roster, and we are working with a lottery pick here.
The team is set at the wings, with Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, Matt Carroll, Jared Dudley, and Adam Morrison eating up all the minutes and bringing varied skill sets to the table. At point guard, Raymond Felton would seem to be entrenched… or not. In Part Three, we’ll have to consider the possibility of selecting Derrick Rose should the Bobcats get one of the top two picks. And then there’s the issue of a backup point guard — it’s arguable whether or not Earl Boykins showed enough in his stint with the team this year to guarantee that he returns as the backup point man for ‘08-’09.
For the bigs, we have Emeka Okafor, Nazr Mohammed, a returning Sean May, and the projects Ryan Hollins and Jermareo Davidson. Wallace and Dudley can slide up into the 4 slot against smaller lineups as well. This group of bigs is noticeably devoid of a smooth, offensively-minded guy who can complement Okafor in a traditional starting/crunch-time lineup. Rather than deciding the correct label or spot (center vs. power forward) for Okafor, it’s crucial for the Bobcats to find a low post offensive threat to pair with him. This takes pressure to score off Okafor, and frees him up to concentrate on defense and rebounding. Ideally, this “smooth, offensively-minded” guy would also be able to guard the more mobile 4s in the league.
The Bobcats front office was likely thinking along these same lines with last year’s draft day acquisition of Jermareo Davidson — he fits the above profile pretty well. Or more accurately, he potentially fits the profile pretty well. Jermareo has a lot of work to do on his body and game before he could realistically fill this role for the team.
So we’ve established the Bobcats needs: primarily, an offensively-minded big man to complement Okafor; secondarily, a point guard to either back up or challenge Felton. If Larry Brown does indeed become the coach of the Bobcats, it’s very possible that the lottery pick could be used in a trade for a veteran to meet one of these needs. However, it’s way more fun to think about being a part of the lottery and using the pick on a young guy full of potential. So be on the lookout for Parts Two through Five of the Bobcats Baseline 2008 Draft Preview.