This Thursday’s NBA Draft will mark the first day of the “John Wall Era” for the league. The dismantled Washington Wizards will have the good fortune of adding the talented point guard to center the foundation of a rebuilt roster. Elsewhere in the Southeast Division, the Charlotte Bobcats have prepared to sit this one out despite the challenge to improve on last year’s success.
Coach Larry Brown has openly confirmed rumors that the Bobcats would like to pick up a second-round talent in the Draft, or sign an un-drafted prospect. Reports say that the team has been working the phones in search of a trade partner, as well. So, there’s a strong possibility that the Bobcats might make some news in the next couple of days. If Jordan and Brown are handling such preparations, what do the Bobcats want in the 2010 NBA Draft?
REASONS FOR THE BOBCATS TO GET INVOLVED IN THE DRAFT
• CHEAP LABOR : The team might be very close to the top of the salary cap even if they pull off a trade (to unload a contract). A second-round rookie could be useful to an organization so tight on funds.
• RESERVES : Charlotte needed their two best players (Stephen Jackson & Gerald Wallace) to play nearly every minute of every game last season. Considering that Wallace plays dangerously and may never change his style, the team can only protect their All-Star by securing a capable, young reserve to give Gerald a few more chances to rest and repair his body throughout the season. The same idea should apply to Stephen Jackson, who is only getting older and will need to get some opportunities to rest in order to avoid injury over the next season.
• INSURANCE : During the upcoming NBA Free Agency period, Charlotte might find the opportunity to trade away one of their big contracts or find a remedy for their point guard problem. The result of such a fortunate deal could leave the team with a lack of depth at one or multiple roster positions. If the team could pick up a second-rounder and a cheap free agent, the Cats would have a couple of safeguards in place and some hungry players heading into training camp.
REASONS FOR THE BOBCATS TO SIT IT OUT
• DRAFTING IS A WEAKNESS : The Bobcats are exceptionally bad at the NBA Draft. Their Draft history is just about embarrassing; Raymond Felton, Sean May, Adam Morrison, DJ Augustin, Alexis Ajinca, and Gerald Henderson. Maybe the sparkle displayed by their second-round selections Jared Dudley (2007 : now with Phoenix), and Derrick Brown (2009) have made Rod Higgins and Michael Jordan feel like geniuses of Round 2? That might explain why a late selection is so appealing to these guys.
• WASTING MONEY: It sounds like the Bobcats might be in the hunt to buy a Draft selection from another NBA club. This is probably a bad idea. The rumored rate for a second-round pick is about $1.5 million. Maybe Jordan and Larry Brown can identify the distinct qualities between a player that wasn’t fit for the first round and an un-drafted talent. From a fan’s perspective, the difference between those two types of players seems very small, but maybe MJ wants to bet $1.5 million that he can spot the difference. Then again, this might just be an easy way for the team to avoid staying at home and at least have a ticket to the dance on Draft night.
• PLAYING TIME : Let’s get back to two of the Draft selections mentioned above – Gerald Henderson and Derrick Brown. Both of these young players showed great athleticism, skill, and energy during their sparse minutes on the floor last season. Still, the Charlotte Bobcats are coached by a guy that just simply prefers veterans over rookies. If the Cats really want to acquire a pick this year, it’s very likely that the youngster will spend all but garbage-time on the bench this coming season. Any rookie acquired on Thursday or during the off-season should find rare playing time unless Coach Brown leaves the team.
IS DRAFT DAY JUST THE START?
We can’t expect to know what exactly is going on with the Cats this summer until the first domino falls; the late-night trades and fallout on Friday morning. With Free Agency beginning on July 1st, the changes will continue around the league and it appears that Michael Jordan and Rod Higgins want to be active with trades this summer. The unfolding of the Raymond Felton dilemma begins next Thursday and the team’s actions should provide some insight into their plans for the upcoming season. Fortunately, the latest news about Tyrus Thomas’ desire to stay with the team sounds encouraging, but Charlotte might need to pinch some pennies to work out a long-term contract with their new power forward. The club’s current payroll might limit their ambitions this summer, but we should expect to see a few more headlines about changes to the Bobcats roster.