It can’t get much worse for Michael Jordan, can it? His team had the worst winning percentage of any team in NBA history in 2011-2012 and still missed out on the No. 1 pick in the draft. This team needs a lot of help and it isn’t on the way, yet.
They took a step in the right direction when they drafted Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. We are unsure that Kidd-Gilchrist will have the impact that his former teammate, Anthony Davis, might have on his franchise (New Orleans Hornets). But nonetheless, he is a hard-working kid, who wants to get better every day, something Charlotte lacked last season. Kidd-Gilchrist hates losing, so uh, don’t tell him the Bobcats won 11% of their games last season.
This team lacks fundamentally sound basketball players and veterans who have “been there, done that”. Does this team have some pieces? Yes, but they are very small pieces to a very big puzzle right now. 2011 draft picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo were not good last year. Walker shot 36.6% from the field and Biyombo managed to not develop an offensive game during the season. I can’t wait to watch him this season, not.
They traded for Ben Gordon in the offseason, shipping Corey Maggette to Detroit in the process. This team is filled with guards, with seven of them having a good chance to make the roster once camp breaks. Their post players leave a lot to be desired. Either they are somewhat skilled offensively and play terrible defense or they are severely limited offensively and play below-average post defense. This team also has very little versatility and will constantly face bad matchups every game.
Sorry for being so down about the ‘Cats, but I don’t see any optimism.
Point guard(s) – Kemba Walker: He really struggled to shoot the ball last season and wasn’t able to create much for his teammates (4.4 assists per game). But, then again, looking at the players he was playing with. I expect him to play better this season, but that won’t translate into many more wins for his team. It will be another long year in Charlotte for Mr. Walker.
Ramon Sessions will back up Walker.
Position Grade: C
Shooting guard(s) – Gerald Henderson: Henderson has turned into a pretty decent pro, something Duke has had trouble with over the past decade and change. He still can’t shoot the ball, a lick, from three-point range but his mid-range game is solid. If he is ever given a chance, I think Henderson could be a solid 7th or 8th man on a playoff team. Maybe after his contract is up, he will bolt for a team that has a chance to make the playoffs?
Ben Gordon will back up Henderson.
Position Grade: C+
Small forward(s) – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: I think Kidd-Gilchrist will be the best player on the Bobcats this season. His work ethic is solid and I think his offensive game will be better than what other people think or are expecting. He will have trouble guarding the skilled small forwards this season, but who doesn’t have trouble guarding LeBron James and Kevin Durant? I think he will be the main reason the Bobcats improve their win total this season.
Rookie Jeffery Taylor will back up Kidd-Gilchrist, more than likely.
Position Grade: B-
Power forward(s) – Tyrus Thomas: I don’t have much to say about Thomas other than he is overpaid for the production he provides, or doesn’t provide. Jordan is paying him $8 million a year to average 5.6 points per game and he doesn’t even start. I would have to say that Thomas hasn’t panned-out like Jordan hoped when Jordan acquired him in 2009 from the Chicago Bulls. Sorry, but only Thomas or Biyombo can start at power forward. I will take the lesser of two evils.
Bismack Biyombo will back up Thomas, provided he makes the roster (bad joke).
Position Grade: C-
Center(s) – Byron Mullens: Mullens put together some nice stretches of consistent games last season. Still, I don’t know what to make of him. NBA 2K13 doesn’t believe he is very good because they gave him a terrible rating. But remember that it’s only a video game. Anyway, Mullens will look to build-off his solid 2011-2012 campaign, a season in which he averaged 9.3 points per game. I still think he could grab more rebounds (five per game), but I guess it’s hard to rebound the basketball when the opposition scores every time.
To be honest, I don’t know who will back up Mullens at the center position.
Position Grade: C-
Projected Starting Lineup
G: Kemba Walker
G: Gerald Henderson
F: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
F: Tyrus Thomas
C: Byron Mullens
Starting Lineup Grade: C-
G: Ramon Sessions
G: Ben Gordon
F: Jeffery Taylor
F: Bismack Biyombo
Bench Grade: D+
Coaching Grade: C- (Mike Dunlap)
I don’t have the Bobcats anywhere near the playoffs, but I do have them finishing last in the Southeast Division.