I’m back again for the 25th team of the Sports Script’s 2013-2014 NBA Preview. I case you missed it, I covered the Orlando Magic and Utah Jazz as the 27th and 26th teams respectively, yesterday. So make sure you give them a read and get caught up here and here. Moving on to the current task at hand, right now it’s time for team number 25. They actually happened to land a big time free agent to sign with them, but in all honesty, it’s not going to make them much better. It’s time to talk about Michael Jordan‘s team!… I mean the Charlotte Hornets!… Whoops, another mistake, I totally meant the Charlotte Bobcats. Does anyone really care about the Hornets/Bobcats/Jordans?
Key Additions: Al Jefferson (Free Agency via Jazz) Cody Zeller (Draft) Steve Clifford (Coach)
Key Departures: Tyrus Thomas (Free Agent) Mike Dunlap (Fired)
Projected Starters: PG Kemba Walker, SG Gerald Henderson, SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PF Cody Zeller, C Al Jefferson
Ok then, lets talk offseason moves, and the elephant in the room, Al Jefferson. He didn’t do this to win a title, he’s in this to make a big payday, and while that’s fine, don’t make it so obvious by signing with the Bobcats Big Al! Grabbing him from the Jazz (3 Years, 41 Million) was a move of desperation saying, “Hey we’re totally trying to win games here!”, at the worst possible time to do so. What do you absolutely, no questions asked, need in the NBA to contend? A star, and the Bobcats won’t be getting one anytime soon. After that they brought in Cody Zeller who should be a good complement to Jefferson down low, and while I don’t think he will be the best big man out of this last draft, I do think he’s the most NBA ready right now.
The starting lineup actually seems to have a lot of upside, especially with the trio of Walker, Zeller and MKG. Walker has the most potential out of all three, and could potentially become a franchise point guard for the Bobcats. He’s a slasher, finisher and just all around very good, polished player. He could stand to develop his jumper a little bit more, but that can wait for now. Zeller as mentioned above, is a good complement to Jefferson down low, and is already very NBA ready with a great low post game. He should develop into a good low post forward throughout his NBA career. The final one is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and oh boy is he an enigma. He’s a very talented, all around very good energy kind of player, but my god, someone get this kid a proper jumpshot. Seriously, I was a great long-range shooter in high school, and I will go down for free and blow up his current mechanics, and rebuild it from scratch. MKG could be a very good player, but you’re not going very far if you can’t get opponents to respect your jumpshot. We’ve already talked about Jefferson, he’s a guaranteed 20-9 a night, without any defense, but if you’re the Bobcats you take what you can get. Finally Henderson is a very serviceable player, nothing particularly great about him, but he’s just a very well-rounded player, and it was a very good move resigning him.
Aside from Walker and Zeller, nothing excites me about this team. No bench, you’re relying on Al Jefferson to be your star, and MKG could get worse this season if he doesn’t drastically change his jumpshot. But the talent they have in the starting lineup will be enough to win them enough games to take them out of the Wiggins sweepstakes, and into the middle of the lottery. The good news about that is they will get a very good player anyway, the bad news is no one will care enough to follow the player close enough and see if he makes a difference, because it’s the Bobcats. Could we just maybe fast forward their season to next year when they will be the Hornets again, and people might care once more?
Final Prediction: 32-60, 11th Eastern Conference