Charlotte Bobcats Season Preview

No Way But Up

That’s the slogan that the Charlotte Bobcats should use this season after having the NBA’s worst ever winning percentage last season. Coming off of a 7-59 record, the Bobcats can’t get any worse than they were a few months ago. In writing this post, I’m trying to find whatever positives that I can in this team. Just to let you all know, I struggled mightily with keeping my focus.

I wanted to dedicate about 300 words to this post, but I love you all too much to rob you of this aesthetically pleasing word play….no? No. Alright, lets continue shall we?

As I said before, the Bobcats had the worst winning percentage in NBA history last season. They’ll surely be able to do better than that this season. As a matter of fact, I have them in the double digit win column. They’ll win 17 games this year and I think that a lot of the win shares will end up going to Michael Kidd Gilchrist. Though he’s offensively challenged, on the defensive end of the floor its a different story. He should be able to pick up the teams energy as well with all of the plays that he’s going to make on both ends of the floor.

He isn’t the most skilled player, but smart with a really big heart. He’s a great transition player that never seems to tire when he’s on the floor. At Kentucky, running is what they thrived on. They used that athleticism that they had over everyone else to their advantage. The Bobcats may not be as athletic, but they’ll surely showcase a bit of speed while out on the floor; especially if Kemba Walker ends up beating out Ramon Sessions for the starting point guard position.

I believe that Rich Cho and crew are trying to instill a new culture in the Charlotte Bobcats organization from the front office all the way down the the team players. They’ve brought in a leader in Mike Kidd-Gilchrist and may have one in Kemba Walker should he improve as a player in the NBA. We saw flashes of what Walker can do last season and how good of a leader he is, however, he needs to be able to do that on a consistent basis. With more minutes played and an NBA season under his belt, that should come with time.

Fresh Faces

The Charlotte Bobcats brought in a new face after letting go of head coach Paul Silas last season. They hired Mike Dunlap–a name not relatively known in many NBA circles. It turns out that Dunlap was the assistant coach at St. Johns University before taking the Bobcats position. Still, this remains somewhat of a mystery hire in the eyes of many.

First, for the Bobcats, out of all the coaching names that were available, why did you take Dunlap? You have Stan Van Gundy available, Mike D’Antoni, and Brian Shaw just to name a few. There were plenty of people who had proven that they were more than capable of coaching an NBA team than a college hoops assistant coach.

I think that the hire was because the Bobcats have a plan and are trying to execute it down to the tee. They had plenty of interviews other than Mike Dunlap, who wasn’t said to be in the race for this coaching job until it started to wind down. I think that the plan the Bobcats have isn’t something that other coaches were willing to endure. After all, the Bobcats hardly turned over their roster this season. Its still just as jaw-droppingly bad as it was last year aside from the additions of Ben Gordon and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

We haven’t seen Ben Gordon play any form of good, relevant basketball since his playing days in Chicago, MKG isn’t going to be able to carry this team on his own, and the best offensive player on this team is likely going to be Kemba Walker. Rather than putting your job security into the hands of a fledgling squad, knowing that your only ending result would likely be to get fired, wouldn’t you rather wait until the next coaching job comes up? I’d say that’s more than plausible.

I think that’s how Dunlap ended up with the job. He was the only one that was more than willing to take it, knowing that the end result might not be as good. For someone to jump from being an assistant coach in the NCAA ranks, to being a head NBA coach is something that they could only dream of. Even if it was with a team who couldn’t put up more than single digits in the win column. Dunlap is right for jumping on this job; I’d do the same thing. As I’ve stated repeatedly throughout this post, it can’t get any worse.

Minute Allocations

Moving along rather quickly, I think that if the Bobcats really want to change their culture, it starts by putting the best talent you have on the floor. Even if they are young players trying to find their way.

With that being said, that doesn’t mean that their roster turnover will result in a good team. In fact, I think they’ll be a horrible team this season. Just look for their rookie players to get a lot of minutes and first year players will likely be more productive than last season.

Starters

Kemba Walker- 33.6 Mpg

Ben Gordon- 23.5 Mpg

Mike Kidd-Gilchrist- 36.1 Mpg

Tyrus Thomas- 32.3 Mpg

Brendan Haywood- 25.5 Mpg

Reserves

Jeff Taylor- 22.6 Mpg

Ramon Sessions- 27.8 Mpg

Gerald Henderson- 23.6 Mpg

Matt Carroll- 19.2 Mpg

B.J Mullens- 18.6 Mpg

Bismack Biyombo- 28.9 Mpg

Desagna Diop- 15.1 Mpg

Conclusion

I believe that the young players will get their share of the spotlight that they weren’t really allowed to last season. All year long, the Bobcats were playing sub-par basketball without letting any of their rookies get the shine. This year there will be a focus on developing their younger pieces in hopes of one day being able to draft this guy. In all seriousness, though, the Bobcats should see some real improvement in the next few years. Just not next season.

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