They Drafted Who? – The Baseline Guide to Jeffery Taylor

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I watched the NBA draft last Thursday at my friend Reed’s house, and to my shock and surprise, Vanderbilt’s Jeff Taylor fell to the Bobcats in the second round. Baylor’s Quincy Miller may have had a higher upside at the 31st pick, but to have player ranked 15th overall by DraftExpress from my school snatched up by the Bobcats couldn’t have made me happier.

So when Reed’s dad came in to check on how the Bobcats blew yet another draft pick, I proudly told him: “we got Jeff Taylor, a small forward from Vandy!” He wasn’t nearly so excited, responding, “Oh yeah, well when’s the last time a Vanderbilt player was a messiah?”

It’s a good thing I didn’t tell him Taylor is from Sweden, too.

But don’t be scared off Jeff Taylor because the most famous Vandy basketball alumni are John Amaechi and Will Perdue. And don’t be scared off because only two Swedish-born players have made it to the NBA for a grand total of three seasons. But most of all, don’t be scared off Jeff Taylor because he’s a 23-year old senior.

The second of two SEC small forwards taken by the Bobcats, Jeff Taylor doesn’t have the upside of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but he still should be a valuable role player—or even more. How can he help the Bobcats? In his own words, Taylor is “a guy that plays extremely hard on defense, can attack the basket and finish, and is also able to hit jump shots.” Really, Taylor fits right in with what Coach Mike Dunlap is looking for: energy, defense, athleticism, and shooting.

Despite being just 6’7” with a 6’6” wingspan, Jeff Taylor is one of the more incredible athletes of the draft. Only Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquis Teague, and Miles Plumlee bettered his 40-inch vertical jump, and only three players had less body fat than him (4.2%). Not just that, but Taylor tested in the 87th percentile of all players at the draft combine for bench press and agility drills.

Taylor’s main calling card is defense, where he really shined in the SEC. In his three games against Kentucky, he held Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to a 5.7 PPG and guarded every position except center. What’s more impressive, he earned three straight SEC All-Defensive Team honors thanks to opposing players making just 26.7% of jump shots against Taylor.

He’s not all defense, though; Taylor is a versatile scorer, too. He scores most of his points driving to the rim or in transition, but Taylor is also a very efficient jump shooter—something he’s improved upon each year at college. His 49.3% shooting, including 42.3% from beyond the arch, will be welcomed with open arms in Charlotte, where he can surely find his niche.

So what did the Bobcats find in their second round pick? They’ve got an elite athlete who can be a lock down defender and knock down long-range shots. He doesn’t have the potential to be a superstar like, say, LeBron James, but he can be an extremely valuable role player like Heat teammate Shane Battier.

Sure, Jeff Taylor is the “other” rookie small forward this season, and there’s no precedent for a Swedish Commodore in the NBA. But he should make an immediate impact on both sides of the ball and has the skills to be a building block going forward alongside MKG, Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyombo, and four potential lottery picks over the next two years.

-Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)

(Bobcats are one of the 12 worst teams in 2013; Bobcats are one of the 10 worst teams in 2014; Portland misses the playoffs in 2013 or 2014, but isn’t one of the 12 worst teams; Detroit misses the playoffs in 2014, but isn’t one of the 8 worst teams.)

MKG is the Future

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Baseline 2012 Draft Review

PART I – What Just Happened?

The Bobcats stunned the internet Thursday night by selecting Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist with the second overall pick in the 2012 Draft. For those of us glued to Twitter and Hoopshype, the pick was a surprise because:

  • A. Every media outlet in the universe reported the team was working to trade down.
  • B. Out of all the draft’s top seven prospects, MKG is the least offensively polished – not exactly a perfect fit for the league’s worst offense.
  • C. The team’s only power forward under contract is a guy whose effort was so infuriating last season, he provoked a 68-year old man to pull a reverse Spreewell on him.

So why did Charlotte forego dreams of a sure-fire big man starter at #4 (Thomas Robinson) and another prospect at #24 (Tony Wroten, Perry Jones or Marquis Teague) in order to keep the pick and draft an 18 year old with a broken jump-shot?

PART II – Why It Happened

GM Rich Cho is a smart dude. President Rod Higgins is a smart dude.* They played the Wayne Gretzky by way of Steve Jobs card:

Don’t skate to where the puck is, skate to where it’s going. And judging from last month’s NBA Finals, the puck is going to an UBER-ATHLETIC place in which only the crazy-long, high of energy may roam.

Lebron James. Kevin Durant. Paul George. Luol Deng. Rudy Gay. Iggy. Danny Granger. Chris Bosh. Derrick Rose. John Wall.

Thomas Robinson only covers one of these guys on a good day. MKG can match up with ‘em all.

Robinson is an old-school bruiser who could’ve banged with Charles Barkley or Karl Malone back in the day. Meanwhile, this year’s Finals featured James and Durant playing the bulk of his team’s minutes at the four spot. I like Robinson but there’s no chance he’s checking either of those guys.

By adding Gilchrist to a squad which already includes Gerald Henderson (a near lockdown defender at both guard spots) and Bismack Biyombo (still developing but a defensive juggernaut in the making), the Bobcats have three players who could legitimately challenge for All-Defensive team in the near future.

MKG also fits perfectly with new head coach Mike Dunlap’s philosophy of fitness, effort and easy transition buckets. Good news, coach, MKG isn’t just “fit” he’s “relentless”. No player on the roster has been able to make Gana Diop or Tyrus Thomas feel bad for giving less than a 100% thus far but I think Gilchrist the “Culture-Changer” has a shot.

PART III – “Draft for Talent, Trade for Need”

The team just announced it’s extending qualifying offers to both D.J. Augustin and Derrick Brown. I’d bet on Brown being on the roster in November – he fits the mold described above. Augustin? This seems more like a strategic move – He has value but I‘m not certain he’s in the team’s long-term or even short-term plans – so don’t be surprised to see a sign & trade go down later in the summer.

By not qualifying D.J. White, the front office announced that they’ll be going after another power forward via trade or free agency. Again, considering the new philosophy, they’ll be looking at players who can play both big man positions, run the floor and affect the game defensively. Jason Thompson (RFA) and J.J. Hickson (UFA) will certainly be high on the list. Considering Hickson’s perceived character questions, Thompson seems like an ideal fit. I’m also a fan of Ersan Illyasova but expect his asking price to be far north of what the Bobcats can offer.

Potential sleeper: Toronto’s Jerryd Bayless (RFA) is a big-time paint scorer and could be had via sign & trade (Reggie Williams’ expiring – Raps will need shooters around Jonas Valanciunas); especially if Toronto ends up using all of their cap space on Steve Nash in the next few weeks.

Finally, I would love for the team to invite Iona State PG Scott Machado and/or Georgetown C Henry Sims to camp as undrafted free agents – perhaps their agents could be enticed with the promise of playing time.

PART IV – Better Regardless

Lost in the MKG Draft night confusion was this simple fact: The Bobcats are suddenly better. If a few of the above moves go down, they might even be decent:

  • PG: Kemba Walker/D.J. Augustin (or Jerryd Bayless)/Scott Machado
  • SG: Gerald Henderson/Ben Gordon/Matt Carroll
  • SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/Derrick Brown/Jeffrey Taylor
  • PF: Jason Thompson/Tyrus Thomas
  • C: Bismack Biyombo/Byron Mullens/Gana Diop

Not bad at all. Scoring from the guard spots, MKG can slide over and check fours during small-ball lineups. This team doesn’t win 30 games necessarily but is set up very well moving forward especially if Tyrus rebounds from a wacky ’11-’12 campaign and if Byron Mullens rebounds (at all).

Two lottery picks next summer, another $10-15 million in cap space, amnesty provision card in their back pocket and another year of growth for their young players. The Bobcats’ future is bright and that might be the biggest surprise of all.

-ASChin

*anybody who can manage to get Cory Higgins on an NBA roster is crafty to say the least.

So You’re Going to Draft Harrison Barnes (and Trade for Ben Gordon?)

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Baseline 2012 Draft Preview + Roster Breakdown – Part IV

Previously in our 2012 Draft Preview, we’ve examined The Sure Thing, The Potential Sensation and The Next Bynum. Let’s wrap this baby up with everyone’s favorite Brand Manager.

SIZE & SHOOTABILITY

Believe it or not, “Harrison Bryce-Jordan Barnes” is not the name of an English poet, actor or lord but of a 6’8″, 250lb 228lb small forward prospect from North Carolina nee Indiana Iowa (thanks to @gregdinkin, I had Sean May on the brain) whose hyphenated middle name suggests he’s either the second coming of a basketball god or a dandy fop who may or may not delight in the sport’s more physical side whilst driving to the hole. What is certain about Barnes is that he is in possession of an extremely rare talent in today’s NBA: mid-range shooting par excellence.

Imagine a young Richard Hamilton were he 2-3 inches taller with nearly 40lbs more muscle. Now make him shoot the ball at an insanely high release point, rebound more aggressively and defend three different positions. Yes, gentlemen, this is precisely the sort of player the Bobcats so desperately need in order to spread the offense for drivers like Gerald Henderson or Kemba Walker to finish skrong or dish out a dime. Good day to you sir!

RESULT: Charlotte selects Harrison Barnes, SF North Carolina

FURTHERMORE

Since I can’t fathom a scenario in which the team drafts Barnes at two overall, I’ll assume that the Bobcats trade back with Cleveland and acquire another pick for their troubles. With the 24th overall selection the Bobcats select combo guard Tony Wroten. At 6’6″, Wroten can eventually form with Walker and Henderson a very solid three guard rotation that can match up defensively with nearly every backcourt in the league. With the 31st overall selection, the Bobcats go big with four year senior Henry Sims – a tough, huge center to develop alongside Byron Mullens and Bismack Biyombo.

As solid a trade as it was, Tuesday evening’s exchange of Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon left the Bobcats very guard heavy. Walker, Henderson, Gordon and (in the above scenario) Wroton aren’t going anywhere so the team will either let D.J. Augustin walk or sign & trade him later in the summer. Matt Carroll and Reggie Williams are playing on expiring low-money deals and one will likely be moved or bought out. I’d bet on Williams.

RESULT: Charlotte Drafts Tony Wroten, PG/SG Washington/Henry Sims, C Georgetown; sign & trades D.J. Augustin, extends QO to D.J. White, trades Reggie Williams for “future considerations”, re-signs Derrick Brown to vet minimum.

IN CONCLUSION

Back in ’09 the team found their Shooting Guard, last year they drafted a potential Floor Leader and Defensive Maestro. This year they find their Sharpshooter and Third Guard.

  • PG: Walker/Wroten
  • SG: Henderson/Gordon/Carroll
  • SF: Barnes/Brown
  • PF: Thomas/White
  • C: Biyombo/Mullens/Sims/Diop

Not bad at all. Do they win 30 games? If everything goes right…doubt it, but if you combine the young talent with two more draft choices the following year and a whopping $15 million in cap space – this squad will no doubt move ever further up the Eastern Conference Playoff ladder: A place of grand exposure in which young Harrison Bryce-Jordan Barnes may pitch anything and everything he well chooses. Cheerio to you all and God bless us everyone!

-ASChin

So You’re Going to Draft Andre Drummond

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Baseline 2012 Draft + Roster Breakdown – Part III

We’ve projected how next season’s Bobcats roster could look if they draft Thomas Robinson or Bradley Beal. Next, we’ll take a peek at how things could shape up should Higgins, Cho and company choose a riskier path.

Grab a Lottery Ticket

This time last year the 2012 NBA Draft was deemed the best draft class since 2003—a crazy deep draft featuring LeBron, Melo, D-Wade, and Chris Bosh. We’re less than a week out from selection day and that doesn’t appear to be the case. Anthony Davis may end up having a similar impact to those four players but after him there isn’t another surefire superstar. Instead, the Cats will have their choice of five equally-warted but promising players.

Thomas Robinson doesn’t have the highest ceiling. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has a broken jump shot. Bradley Beal is undersized. Harrison Barnes had a disappointing sophomore year. Andre Drummond has motor issues. With all due respect to Beal (and I’m a huge fan of him), only one of those five has the potential to become a true superstar—one of the three best players at his position. In a season in which the Bobcats can’t get any worse, why not take a chance on Andre Drummond?

Drummond is one of the tougher players to grade in the draft because he has so much talent but didn’t leave a spectacular impression after one year at UConn—not to mention how volatile young big men can be in the draft. He could be the next Andrew Bynum or even Dwight Howard, but a more realistic projection might be former Bobcat Tyson Chandler. Then again, he could fizzle out like the man who went directly before Chandler in the 2001 NBA Draft: Jordan’s nemesis Kwame Brown. The Bobcats had two main problems last year: they couldn’t stop teams from scoring at the basket at will, and they didn’t have a star. Drummond can fix both problems.

RESULT: Charlotte Selects Andre Drummond, C Connecticut

Biding Time

Points: D.J. Augustin is a restricted free agent and I can’t see him returning to Charlotte. When he wasn’t hurt last year, Augustin looked disengaged and the team clearly sees Kemba Walker as the future. Charlotte won’t be able to trade him in time to pick up an extra draft pick this year, so I expect them to deal him later in the offseason to a contending team for a mid-to-late first-round pick (think Dallas, Memphis, or the Lakers). In D.J.’s absence, Cho will then need to add another point guard or two, so I expect him to pick up a big, veteran guard (perhaps Royal Ivey or Keyon Dooling) and a Shannon Brown-esque reclamation project (maybe Jonny Flynn).

Wings: Charlotte still needs offense from somewhere, and the perimeter would be a good start. I have a feeling some quality wing players will be on the board for the #31 draft pick. Maybe that’s John Jenkins, Will Barton, Quincy Miller, or Jeff Taylor (who Chad Ford’s latest mock draft has slated to go 31st). Additionally, the Bobcats still need more three-point shooters, so Cho could take flyer on another young guard: James Anderson. He never got much playing time in San Antonio but the 23-year old lit up the Big 12, averaging 17.9 ppg on 37.5% shooting from beyond the arch over his three-year stretch at Oklahoma State. Brandon Roy would be a fantastic addition (and would help cast away demons from the ‘06 draft), but he’d likely prefer to go to a contending team like Miami or Boston.

Bigs: Bismack Biyombo, Andre Drummond, and their combined 14’11” wingspan will immediately alleviate Charlotte’s interior defense problem. There won’t be much offense immediately, but they should grow to emulate OKC’s defensive frontcourt of Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins. Byron Mullens and D.J. White can bring short spurts of instant offense, and anything Tyrus Thomas brings will be gravy. It’s not a fantastic group, but there’s a lot of potential down low, and they won’t give up nearly as many easy buckets as last year.

RESULT: Charlotte signs James Anderson and Jonny Flynn to 2-year $5 million deals and Royal Ivey to a 1-year $1.25 million deal, drafts Jeff Taylor, sign-and-trades D.J. Augustin for a future 1st round pick, and extends a qualifying offer to D.J. White.

Bottom Out

  • PG: Walker/Flynn/Ivey
  • SG: Henderson/Anderson/Williams/Carroll
  • SF: Maggette/Taylor
  • PF: Biyombo/Thomas/White
  • C: Drummond/Mullens/Diop

If Rich Cho is trying to follow the Oklahoma City rebuilding plan—which, by the way, I fully support—the Bobcats need to stay bad for now. OKC picked up their stars because they were bad enough to get the 2nd pick to get Kevin Durant. Then Durant played off-position at shooting guard and the team was bad enough to get Russell Westbrook. Then Westbrook had his rookie struggles and the team was bad enough to land James Harden. (Editor’s Note: I’m sensing a pattern here)

The bottom line that winning 15 games and winning 25 games isn’t much different—neither team makes the playoffs. But the 15-win team gets a better draft pick. This Bobcats team is better than the dreadful 2011/12 Bobcats team, but then again, you could multiply last years win total by two and a half and still have the worst record in the league.

Charlotte probably won’t find their Kevin Durant in this draft. That ship sailed when Adam Silver announced those fatal words: “The second pick will be made by… the Charlotte Bobcats.” But their Kevin Durant may come around in the next draft in the form of Shabazz Muhammad—or even two years in the future in the form of Jabari Parker.

The worst thing the Bobcats could do is eat up their precious salary cap space with a terrible contract while they’re not competitive. Michael Jordan needs to bide his time until his Kevin Durant comes along. And until then, I think they should roll the dice on a potential superstar (Drummond) and some potential role players (Taylor, Flynn, and Anderson).

Ben Weinrib (@benweinrib)

So You’re Going to Draft Bradley Beal

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Baseline 2012 Draft + Roster Breakdown – Part II

Last week we built out the Charlotte Bobcats ’12-’13 roster post-Thomas Robinson, this time we’ll take a look at what Rich Cho, Rod Higgins and new head coach Mike Dunlap will need to do if they go a different route.

The Scoreboard Decides the Game

Dunlap insists the Cats will be more aggressive on offense, converting easy baskets while doing their best to minimize those same shots on defense. That’s wonderful news and I’m certain that eventually the hustle plays will cut down the team’s dreadful -13.9 point differential and maybe even swing a few close games their way. In the meantime, the Cats can buy themselves a little breathing room by employing players who can increase the team’s offensive output the old fashioned way: Scoring the Damn Ball.

Bradley Beal has been compared to Eric Gordon, Ray Allen and Dwayne Wade: not only good company but rare company. There just aren’t many big-time scorers in the game. Beal instantly becomes Charlotte’s number one offensive option and most feared shooter. Concern over his 6’4″ height or with how Beal affects Gerald Henderson’s role with the team are mitigated by Beal’s ability to play both guard positions. The team’s guard rotation of Augustin, Henderson, Walker and Beal becomes one of the league’s best young backcourts.

RESULT: Charlotte selects Bradley Beal, SG Florida

Looking Forward

With the backcourt set, Charlotte will need to address depth at both the 3 and the 4 spots.

SF: Drafting Beal gives Dunlap the option to go small with Henderson playing on the far wing. He’ll need to get comfortable there because incumbant and veteran placeholder Corey Maggette is a near lock to miss a dozen or so games due to injury. Derrick Brown is a replacement level backup as well as a free agent and may not be invited back.

PF: This is why everyone’s reading Thomas Robinson as the pick. Once you pencil in Bismack Biyombo as a full-time center, the Cats collection of power forwards looks downright ugly. D.J. White is a fine backup with a nice 18 foot jumper but doesn’t defend all that well and has no post game. Tyrus Thomas? Who knows what you’re gonna get with the guy. He could end up averaging a double-double or be out of the league entirely by season’s end – how often can you say that about a six year veteran?

Again, I’m optimistic the team will get a call from Antawn Jamison’s agent come July and he’d certainly bring a much needed dose of professionalism and experience to a young team. I’m also convinced that Cho will try and trade up from the 31st pick to nab another frontcourt prospect, especially if they go Beal early. Jared Sullinger, Quincy Miller or Moe Harkless might be worth the move up.

RESULT: Charlotte signs PF Antawn Jamison to a two year $8m deal, drafts PF Quincy Miller in the late first round, extends QO to D.J. White, D.J. Augustin.

Staying Competitive

Make the moves above and you enter camp with:

  • PG: Augustin/Walker
  • SG: Henderson/Beal/Williams/Carroll
  • SF: Maggette/Miller
  • PF: Jamison/Thomas/White
  • C: Biyombo/Mullens/Diop

World Beaters? No, but a much more competitive lineup than last season especially given the boost in fire power. These Bobcats push to win 30 games, enter next year’s offseason with two 1st rounders, upwards of $30 million in cap space and lots of teal and purple (but that’s another story for another day).

-ASChin

NEXT UP: So You’re Going to Draft Harrison Barnes


POLL : What Should They Do with Pick #2?

  • Select Thomas Robinson (39%, 75 Votes)
  • Select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (8%, 15 Votes)
  • Select Bradley Beal (15%, 28 Votes)
  • Select Andre Drummond (9%, 17 Votes)
  • Trade The Pick (29%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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So You’re Going to Draft Thomas Robinson

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David Phillips/AP

Baseline 2012 Draft + Roster Breakdown – Part I

Post-Lottery I broke down the three serious contenders for the Cats’ second overall pick. Last week, DrE prescribed some trade options should the team choose to go another route. Today we’ll begin filling out the team’s roster based on who they end up walking away with on the 28th. First up…

STEP 1: T-ROB MANIA

Not only is Thomas Robinson the safest pick at two but by selecting him the Bobcats can follow a fairly straight-forward path building out the rest of the roster come July. At 6’9″/244, Robinson instantly becomes the team’s muscle down low; he’ll likely lead the team in rebounds his rookie season and challenge for highest PER. If the Cats do select T-Rob, expect a stream of happy tweets from Bismack Biyombo, who’ll be surprised to find a competent frontcourt brawler crashing the boards next to him in the paint.

Long term, the combo of Biyombo and Robinson form a high(ish)-ceiling big man duo to build the team around. Add in a change of pace stretch five (Byron Mullens), a (hopefully) refocused Tyrus Thomas* and the Cats frontcourt suddenly becomes a strength.

RESULT: Bobcats select PF Thomas Robinson, Kansas

STEP 2: YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU GOT TIL IT’S GONE

With the frontcourt out of the way, the team must address its #1 area of weakness: SCORING. Robinson will help a little but what the Cats desperately need is a legit 20-30 point threat capable of drawing a double-team or cracking a pick ‘n roll — y’know, those components which make up 90% of NBA offenses.

GOOD NEWS: Big-time scoring wings are available this offseason. Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala and Rudy Gay can all be had given the right trade.
BAD NEWS: Even if the Cats wanted to take on a big-salaried veteran, the team might not have the ammo required to make a deal happen.
Oh, and don’t look for any firepower in free agency, it’s simply not the year for it (#2013).

How desperate are the Bobcats for scoring? Without any legitmate offensive threat on the roster, the team can’t even properly evaluate its current point guards. DJ Augustin is technically a free agent. But what’s he worth? Put him on the Lakers and he’s a legit starter/rotation player, nailing open threes playing off Kobe & Co. On the Bobcats? Another mediocre player on a mediocre team. How can Kemba Walker learn the position when he’s the best option for the team’s offense every time down the floor? The new coaching staff will help but the team MUST acquire scoring talent soon or risk roster-wide development atrophy.**

The most likely scenario is that the team signs some low-risk/low-cost veteran help in the form of Antawn Jamison or Grant Hill to shepherd the kids until Shabazz Mohammed*** or James Harden come along.

RESULT: Bobcats extend/sign D.J. Augustin to the $4.4m qualifying offer, sign Antawn Jamison to two-year $8m partially guaranteed deal.

STEP 3: ANOTHER STEP FORWARD

Drafting Robinson, signing Augustin and Jamison brings the roster to:

PG: Augustin/Walker
SG: Henderson/Williams/Carroll
SF: Maggette/Jamison
PF: Robinson/Thomas/White
C: Biyombo/Mullens/Diop

Factor in the team’s high second-round pick (a potential rotation player) and the roster maxes out at fourteen with a cap number around $55m — right around the league mandated minimum.

Will this roster be decent? Probably not. Will they be as bad as last year? Nope. The coaching change alone should be good for a handful of victories. Robinson’s ability to finish in the paint and rebound will be a godsend while Jamison’s scoring punch from the bench should prevent some of those mid/late quarter collapses.

Will the fanbase stick around after another grueling season? Total speculation on my part but I think the organization has an ace in the hole to restore local interest once the demolition is complete. One Hint: BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ…

RESULT: Charlotte team looks better, finishes strong, wins 27 games, enters July of 2013 with a handful of good young players, two first round picks, a ton of cap space and lots of teal & purple.

-ASChin

*And, no, I refuse to believe that the Bobcats will amnesty Tyrus simply because: a.) The team is broke and b.) No one outside of Billy King would offer T-Time guaranteed money to offset the costs. Also, “T-Time” is the second laziest nickname in the league, right after “T-Rob” and just behind “Hendo”.

**Lack of scoring both on the team and around the league is why I’m strongly in favor of Charlotte taking Bradley Beal with the pick — but that is another post for another day…

***Is Shabazz Mohammed the next great NBA prospect or the leader of the Black Panther movement? Name always confuses me.

NEXT UP: So You’re Going to Draft Andre Drummond


POLL : What Should They Do with Pick #2?

  • Select Thomas Robinson (39%, 75 Votes)
  • Select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (8%, 15 Votes)
  • Select Bradley Beal (15%, 28 Votes)
  • Select Andre Drummond (9%, 17 Votes)
  • Trade The Pick (29%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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The Case Against MKG (and the case for the Other Three Guys)

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Bobcats Baseline: 2012 Draft Preview, Part I

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

“You don’t understand, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a winner!” – People on the Internet

Great! But why stop with MKG? Maybe the Bobcats should draft Michael Phelps or Tom Brady. What’s Ivan Lendl up to these days? Meryl Streep? She’s as decorated as they come. If I’ve learned one thing in my twenty-plus years of ring-less fandom, it is that THERE IS NO CORRELATION BETWEEN preprofessional and post-professional success. Period.

  • Emeka Okafor was a WINNER.
  • Raymond Felton and Sean “Crab Bread” May were WINNERS.
  • Kemba Walker was a WINNER.

Strange that the Bobcats have had all of these winners in their brief existence yet have lost so many games. Quick look at the stars currently playing for a title: Lebron, DWade, Pierce, Garnett, Rondo, Harden, Durant, Westbrook, Duncan, Ginobli, Parker. ZERO NCAA Championships total. Conclusion: IT DOESN’T EFFING MATTER.

“MKG has a motor that doesn’t stop!!!” – People on the Internet

So does a Honda Civic but you won’t see it on the track at Le Mans. Reggie Evans, Kenneth Faried, Cory Brewer, Matt Barnes and Tony Allen all give 110% every minute but if I was coming off the worst season in NBA history, I’m not sure I’d spend the Number Two Overall Pick on a non-game changing Energy Guy.

Oh yeah, and then there’s that thing about how Kidd-Gilchrist CAN’T SHOOT. Or create offense for himself. That’s gonna go over real well on a team already LOADED with offensive threats, right?

If Bobcats GM Rich Cho is 15% as smart as the internet gives him credit for, he ain’t gonna take MKG anyway so I don’t even know why we’re talking about him. If the team KEEPS the pick, they’ll almost certainly choose between the following three players (in no particular order):

1.) Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas

PROS: The Safe Pick. He’ll probably never beat Chris Bosh or Al Horford out of a starting All-Star gig but he’ll slide in nicely next to Biyombo to eventually form one of the East’s better, if undersized, frontcourts. His rebounding will be an instant godsend as will his ability to successfully execute any sort of offense within four feet of the basket.

CONS: Power Forward is hands down the easiest position in the NBA to fill right now. Aside from the top 5-6 guys, there’s not much separating the Carlos Boozers from the Drew Goodens. Not to mention the fact that Tyrus Thomas’s off year on the runway model diet may prove to be a fluke. Add to that the availability either via Free Agency or Trade of some solid starters (Paul Milsap, Ersan Illyasova, Brandon Wright, Josh Smith, Carl Landry) and it might not make sense to spend Number Two on a Glorified Replacement Player.

POTENTIAL TOP FIVE AT POSITION? No.

2.) Andre Drummond, C UCONN

PROS: The Vegas Pick. There just aren’t many dudes with Drummond’s combination of size and athleticism. He’s almost as HUGE as Bynum and Howard today at nineteen. His offense needs work and he’ll surely be a foul magnet and therefore a non-factor early in his career but if both parties invest heavily in his development, he may one day challenge Anthony Davis as the best big man in the 2012 Draft class. Pair him with Biyombo and they could form the most fearsome defensive frontcourt in the league for a decade.

CONS: Kwame 2, Electric Boogaloo. If he’s not serious about the game or his career he could single-handily set the franchise back at least another year. But for a team already playing from so far behind, that might not matter.

POTENTIAL TOP FIVE AT POSITION? Yes.

3.) Bradley Beal, SG Florida

PROS: The Cam Newton Pick. Lost in the now universal worship of Cam is the fact that most draft analysts initially had him pegged somewhere between a mid-first rounder to an early second round pick. Panthers GM Marty Hurney rightfully shut out the experts and picked the guy who was right for the team and situation, regardless of draft position. It paid off big.

Beal is this draft’s Newton. He does precisely the things the Bobcats desperately need: SHOOTING + DYNAMIC SCORING. Put him in a three guard rotation with Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker and the Bobcats backcourt is a big point guard away from being good for a long while.

CONS: “But Gerald Henderson is our best player!!!” -People on the Internet – Do I even have to acknowledge this? I like Henderson. He’s fine but he’s probably the 19th best shooting guard in the league. Plus Beal can play some point. Like a rich man’s Sefolosha in OKC, there will be plenty of minutes available for Gerald, Jr.
“You can’t draft an undersized SG at number two!” - Traditional Draft Experts - It’s a small-ball league now and has been for some time. Beal’s shooting and ability to get to the line will help the team in their dire most area of need. Instantly. If Rich Cho is 4% as smart as I think he is, look for Beal to be swishing threes next season in orange and blue.

POTENTIAL TOP FIVE AT POSITION? Yes.

-ASChin (@bobcatsbaseline)

COMING SOON: OFFSEASON PLANS BASED ON THE POTENTIAL PICKS

POLL : What Should They Do with Pick #2?

  • Select Thomas Robinson (39%, 75 Votes)
  • Select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (8%, 15 Votes)
  • Select Bradley Beal (15%, 28 Votes)
  • Select Andre Drummond (9%, 17 Votes)
  • Trade The Pick (29%, 55 Votes)

Total Voters: 190

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