Rosterpalooza ’13 | Version 2.0

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Back in Version 1.0 of our offseason nerd-a-thon, we outlined a plan that would allow the Charlotte Bobcats to return to the ranks of competitive basketball next season while maintaining the team’s committment to acquiring and developing young talent. But in order to execute that plan, the team would have to let one of their precious few assets walk via free agency. That asset’s name is Gerald Henderson and he’s played so well over the past two months that we had to dedicate an entire Rosterpalooza to him.

Rosterpalooza ’13: Version 2.0 (The Hendo Edition)

Henderson isn’t a Top 2 franchise guy and probably not even a Top 3. The real question is whether he’s a 4th guy, the *uber* role player who, while not a star, is an integral piece of the team’s identity – think Jeff Green, Wesley Matthews, Taj Gibson or Wilson Chandler.

The Bobcats must be certain that he’s at that level because 4th Guys aren’t cheap and the contracts that they sign ($7-$8 million annually) are notorious for being the riskiest and least “efficient” deals a front office can ink (*cough*, Tyrus Thomas *cough*).

Should Charlotte Re-Sign Gerald Henderson?

PROS: Efficient scorer (even on a terrible team), still young (26 entering next season), good rebounder, a complete two-way player, solid intangibles, potential leadership qualities.

CONS: Improved three point shooter but doesn’t shoot enough to stretch the floor, not a primary scoring option, gives up too much size when matched against SFs (strictly a two guard).

With Shooting Guard currently the league’s weakest position, Gerald couldn’t have picked a better year to hit free agency. Henderson currently ranks 8th in the league amongst SGs in PER and is probably the best defender amongst the Top 10. With the likes of Arron Afflalo and Demar Derozan cashing in between $7 and $9 million annually, don’t expect Gerald Junior to come at a discount just because he plays in obscurity.

RESULT: Charlotte re-signs Gerald Henderson, 4 years $30 million

Moving the Needle

With Henderson locked up and Kemba Walker still mid-rookie contract, the Cats retain a promising young backcourt. Ramon Sessions has played great on a value deal and still has one year left to go as the team’s more than capable third guard. But those guys aren’t the problem. Anyone who’s had the (dis)pleasure of watching 70+ Bobcats games this season knows that if Charlotte is going to improve, they will need to upgrade the bigs.

The Bobcats rank a dismal 25th in points in the paint against, giving up an attrocious 103 points per game in total (league worst). Factors include: Mike Dunlap’s wacky defensive rotations, Ben Gordon, dual point guard backcourts, Byron Mullens, etc. So yes, it’s not entirely Bismack Biyombo’s fault that Charlotte is a horrid defensive team. Both he and Josh McRoberts are active, capable on-ball defenders but they’ll need help.

On the offensive side, the Bobcats’ highest scoring big men, McRoberts and Mullens, average a whopping 18ppg in total – even worse is that the number is skewed high given that they’ve rarely played together in the same game. Outside of the seldom used/injured Brendan Haywood, none of the Bobcats bigs have a post game and, amazingly, none can serve as the dive man in the league’s most basic play aka the pick and roll.

Part I: The Draft

In Version 1.0 we went the optimistic route, giving the Bobcats a Top 2 Lottery pick and their choice of Marcus Smart, Nerlens Noel or Ben McLemore. But given the league’s Lottery history, Charlotte has just as good a shot to pick outside the Top 3 than in it. In Version 2.0, we’ll assume the worst and have the Cats picking 4th.

With that pick, the team could shore up the middle with a project center like Maryland’s Alex Len or trade down and nab a more polished but limited player like Cody Zeller. Or they could roll the dice on an undersized Power Forward from UNLV whose size, injury history and work ethic will likely red flag him outside the Top 3.

Anthony Bennett would instantly become the greatest Canadian player in Charlotte hoops history but outside of that, there are few guarantees. Will his 6’8″ height be offset by the huge wingspan? Will he work to develop a post game? Will he be able to stretch his perimeter shot to the NBA three point line? Are the injuries a fluke?

Ultimately, Bennett’s upside as a dominant scorer at his position outweigh the risks at pick 4. Worst case scenario, he’s Derrick Williams. Best case scenario, he’s Paul Milsap. Either way, he’s an upgrade.

RESULT: Charlotte drafts Anthony Bennett, PF UNLV


Part II: Free Agency

With Bennett drafted and Henderson re-signed, the Bobcats will need to add immediate help in the middle and some long range shooting via the open market. But first, as always, a little housekeeping…

Amnesty Tyrus Thomas

With the stroke of a pen, Michael Jordan rids himself of the last remaining stain of the Larry Brown era. Now that T-Time’s $8 million salary is off the books, the front office can then use the cap space to…

Sign J.J. Hickson

What a dramatic improvement this will be, going from Tyrus Thomas to a player with similar athletic prowess, better size and a functional brain. Hickson might not have Tyrus’s 18 foot range (YAY!) but he’s everything else the Cats have needed in a big man and more: shot blocking, rebounding, solid post defense, an improving post game, BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY: Hickson is an OUTSTANDING FINISHER in the basket area. Bobcats fans (and players) will be amazed to see dunks, putbacks and the occassional pick and roll executed in the lane next season. He’ll only be 25 when the season starts, has ties to the region and will form a nice big man combination with Biyombo and Bennett going forward.

RESULT: Charlotte signs J.J. Hickson, PF/C, 4 years $30 million

Stretch the Floor

Photo of Martell Webster wearing one of many NBA jerseys

The Bobcats have struggled to stretch the floor with long distance shooting, especially from the Small Forward position where rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is still sorting out his mid-range game. Last time around we penciled in Carlos Defino as a potential solution. This time, we’ll go with Washington’s Martell Webster, a 26 year old bomber who’s currently shooting a lights-out 42% from beyond the arc. Webster’s never been a great defender but that’s what MKG is for. As a 20 minute per game change of pace rain-maker, Martell could do wonders opening up the lane for Charlotte’s drive-heavy guards.

RESULT: Charlotte signs Martell Webster, SF, 2 years $7.5 million

McBob

Josh McRoberts has been great and even after adding Hickson and Bennett, the Cats will still have enough in the tank to sign McBob to a reasonable contract as a utility big/fill-in starter.

RESULT: Charlotte re-signs Josh McRoberts, PF/C, 3 years $12 million (final year is a team option)

The Godfather Offer

Let’s take a quick look the Bobcats’ Depth Chart Heading into Training Camp:

  • PG: Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions
  • SG: Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon
  • SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Martell Webster, Jeffrey Taylor
  • PF: Anthony Bennett, Josh McRoberts
  • C: J.J. Hickson, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood

Now have a look at the salary chart. Notice anything odd? Yes, outside of Ben Gordon’s expiring deal, every single player on the Bobcats’ payroll can actually play! There’s no dead money tied up in the Tyrus Thomases, Gana Diops and Reggie Williams of the world. It’s like a real team all of a sudden.

Potential Salary Forecast

Select Image to Enlarge the Chart

Best yet, between Gordon’s $13.2 million expiring and the (likely) THREE 2014 FIRST ROUND Draft Picks Charlotte owns, they will have set themselves up in perfect position should a superstar suddenly become available via trade. Who is going to turn down some sort of combination of a massive expiring, multiple picks and young prospects still on their rookie deals??? OKC and Orlando didn’t get as much for James Harden or Dwight Howard. It’s a Godfather offer you can’t refuse just waiting for a STAR to become available.


Part III: The Final Step

Is Mike Dunlap a legitimate NBA coach?

Decide if Dunlap is the guy.

I’ll say it again. If the Cats play their summer correctly, they’ll suddenly have an appealling roster stocked with good young talent. Should Brian Shaw, Jerry Sloan, Mike Brown, Nate McMillan or Stan Van Gundy become intrigued, Charlotte will need to make certain that they have the right head coach to lead them to the next level.

-ASChin
@bobcatsbaseline


POLL : Should Bobcats Re-Sign Henderson

  • Yes, Absolutely! (41%, 116 Votes)
  • Let Him Walk (7%, 21 Votes)
  • For the Right Price (52%, 148 Votes)

Total Voters: 285

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10 Responses to “Rosterpalooza ’13 | Version 2.0”

  1. Dr. E
    April 10, 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    JJ Hickson’s agent is on the phone, wants to get your offer on paper before you come to your senses.

    There’s a reason he has played for 3 different teams already, and that the Kings waived him. I don’t profess to know the reason, but there is a reason.

  2. spectre
    April 11, 2013 at 7:39 am #

    Good stuff! Going against Dr. E I think it’ll cost a little more for Hickson & Webster…but I think we could get McBob for a little less than that so it evens out somewhat.

    I like this roster and I like the flexibility we’d still have going into the next couple of seasons. If we could pull this off then I think we’d get out of the cellar a lot quicker than many think.

    Well done ASChin!

    • ASChin
      April 11, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Many thanks. Dr. E is certainly right that Hickson is a gamble given his recent vagabond ways but big men peak a little later than most and I have a feeling J.J. is headed for a Tyson Chandler-type upswing.

  3. SportsCLT
    April 11, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Hickson is realistic. The Bobcats had great interest in him during the draft, and in fact that was one of the reasons that Charlotte took Augustin instead of Lopez – with the thought that Hibbert, Hickson or Ajinca would be available with their second first rounder that year. Their gamble was costly — as we all know — when Hibbert and Hickson went off the board right before Charlotte picked.

    What I don’t know is why Charlotte didn’t claim Hickson when he was on waivers last season. What were the factors in that decision?

    Three first rounders in ’14 are really attractive. You’ve got to figure they’ll probably be picking in the 6-10 range (with their own pick), and I wonder if they’ll be able to package them together to move up to take Wiggins, Parker or Randle.

    I still contend that Dunlap should not be the coach going forward. It’s not tank time anymore.

    • ASChin
      April 11, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      Good call on Hickson. The organization has been after him for a while. If memory serves correct, the reason CLT couldn’t claim him off waivers last season was because they were already at/over the cap whereas SAC had space to sign him outright.
      Have a feeling that the three firsts/Gordon package will be mentioned a lot in trade rumors from July until the deadline.

  4. IT IS STILL TANK TIME
    April 11, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    Look, we’ve suffered through 10 years of garbage. We can suffer through another year.

    • ASChin
      April 12, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

      That’s probably the organization’s strategy but let’s be honest, the ’14 Draft Lottery doesn’t guarantee the team anything other than a shot at the Top 3. This time last year we were talking about Shabazz Muhammed and Cody Zeller as a potential franchise saviors. Will their story arcs be replicated with Wiggins and Parker?

    • Mike
      April 12, 2013 at 4:43 pm #

      Seriously, how many more years is it going to be okay to tank?
      How the hell did they mold a “fanbase” that considers it acceptable to continuously fail.

      The Bobcats have shown no ability to compete at an NBA level. Here’s a solution:
      Take away the Bobcats rights to play against NBA calibre organizations.

      They have a D-League agenda (developing players unprepared for the NBA), a D-League Coach, and an overwhelmingly D-League roster. So, maybe they should spend the next year “developing” as a D-League club.

      Once, the team is ready to actually compete in the NBA, the future commissioner can call them back up – as the Hornets.

    • @MisterCrisp
      April 17, 2013 at 9:37 am #

      I agree, its still tank time. If the bobcats plan to build around walker/mkg/biyombo they will need more scoring at sg or c. Hendo does not fit the bill at sg, so I say deal him. If you can get McLemore I think you’d be in pretty good shape at 2. Another draft pick could come in handy this year, I’m really high on Lucas Nogueira out of Brazil, currently playing in Spain. Huge frame (7ft+) good hands/feet and great timing! He’s gonna be a project but he reminds me a lot of a young Andrew Bynum. Trade Hendo for a pick, pick up Lucas, and the Bobcats future is looking good! *wakes up*

  5. Jared
    April 16, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    I thought Jamal Magloire was the best Canadian hoopster to grace Charlotte. Not sure Bennette will de-throne him.

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