Bobcats Ready to Roll the Dice at Number Two?
With two of the first 31 picks in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats find themselves looking to make a splash after hitting rock bottom at 7-59 this past season. The frustration of not having the opportunity to draft the consensus number one overall pick in Anthony Davis notwithstanding, Charlotte still has an excellent shot at drastically improving this team on June 28.
Although he clearly must have been disappointed, Bobcats general manager Rich Cho did his best to put a positive spin on being left with the number two overall pick.
“The last time I was with a team that picked number two, we got [Kevin] Durant so we’ll see what happens,” Cho told NBA.com recently. “You can make a case for five or six guys at number two but we’ll narrow it down and make a decision on June 28.”
Cho, who spent 10 years as the assistant general manager for the Seattle Supersonics/Oklahoma City Thunder, had a glowing track record during his time with the franchise. Over the course of those 10 years as assistant GM, Cho was involved in the drafting of the aforementioned Durant to go along with James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka among others.
As for this draft, there are two obvious choices at number two for the Bobcats to decide upon: Kansas junior Thomas Robinson or Kentucky freshman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Center Andre Drummond could also be a long shot possibility if the Bobcats decide they absolutely must draft a center with their top pick.
Let’s not also rule on the possibility of a trade either, but we’ll go into that in detail a little later. For now, here’s the breakdown on the possibility of taking Robinson, Kidd-Gilchrist or Drummond:
Thomas Robinson, PF – 6’9, 240 pounds
The frontrunner to be taken second overall after an impressive series of pre-draft workouts, Robinson averaged 17.7 points (50.5 percent shooting) and 11.9 rebounds per game this past season for Kansas. Robinson is an extremely athletic, high energy player that features a well-rounded repertoire on both ends of the floor.
With his 7’1 wingspan, Robinson’s length is disrupting on the defensive end and plays into his ability to shoot over smaller defenders and stretch defenses with a decent perimeter game. Of the three players the Bobcats are most likely to select, Robinson’s potential and NBA readiness arguably rivals likely number one overall pick Davis’ the most.
Robinson’s 2.7 turnovers per game last season at a post position are troublesome and he must evolve his game offensively to compete at the NBA level but overall he’s a stud talent.
Even with a building block like Bismack Biyombo already on the roster as a hybrid PF/C, Robinson’s talent suggests Charlotte should find out if the two can play off one another in the post. As this team continues to look for a bona fide superstar, one can’t help but anticipate the Bobcats rolling the dice on Robinson to be that guy with the number two pick.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF – 6’7, 228 pounds
Originally penciled in by many as the number two overall pick, Kidd-Gilchrist has taken a back seat recently due to Robinson’s pre-draft performance. However, make no mistake; Kidd-Gilchrist is a blue chip talent that would bring great size and explosiveness to the Bobcats at the small forward position.
Starting for the National Champion Kentucky Wildcats this past season as a freshman, Kidd-Gilchrist averaged 11.9 points (49 percent shooting) and grabbed 7.9 rebounds per contest. While not a great jump shooter at this point of his career, Kidd-Gilchrist is excellent at using his speed to get to the basket and his athleticism to finish when he gets there.
Small forward is a need position right now for Charlotte and Kidd-Gilchrist would seemingly work well together with Gerald Henderson starting at shooting guard. An excellent perimeter defender, Kidd-Gilchrist would work wonders in helping to boost one of the worst defenses in basketball last season. It’s hard to go wrong with either player, but Robinson has more star potential than Kidd-Gilchrist – something the Bobcats covet.
Andre Drummond, C – 6’10, 251 pounds
Arguably the second most dominant center in this draft class, Drummond is an excellent defender who plays even bigger than his 6-foot-10-inch frame. On some draft boards, Drummond is ranked as high as the second best prospect available behind only Davis after the big man averaged 10 points (53.8 percent shooting), 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game his freshman season with Connecticut.
That being said, Drummond is still a raw and unfinished product that has a tendency to get himself into early foul trouble. Charlotte is already developing the talented but inexperienced Biyombo, so it might be a stretch to assume they would take another post player that needs time to grow – no matter how high his upside may be.
In terms of prospects, aside from Davis, it doesn’t get much better at the center position than Drummond. It will be interesting to see how much the need for a legitimate center weighs on the Bobcats come draft day but it seems very likely that Charlotte passes on the talented 18-year old.
Will Charlotte Make a Trade?
From what’s been coming out of the organization throughout the season, the answer at this point would seem to be no. The Bobcats are looking to draft the future of the franchise and this organization believes that they are just that superstar draft pick away from getting back on the right track.
Unless a fairy tale like deal comes along that offers Charlotte something they simply can’t refuse, the clear choice would be for the Bobcats to stand pat and select at number two.
With the 31st pick in the 2012 Draft, the Bobcats Select…
Along with number two overall, the Bobcats will also have the first pick of the second round at their disposal.
This is a much more difficult pick to predict simply because you never know who is going to select who throughout the first round of the draft. As of now, several quality players could fall into the Bobcats’ hands at the start of the second round.
Here are a few notables:
Doron Lamb, SG – 6’4, 170 pounds
Picking Lamb would suggest the Bobcats took a big man at number two overall and also that Lamb would compete for the starting shooting guard spot with Henderson moving back to the three. But even if Charlotte took Kidd-Gilchrist, the Bobcats – who were the worst offensive team in basketball last season – can never have too many scorers and that’s exactly what Lamb is.
While he needs to gain bulk and isn’t the most athletic guard among draft prospects, Lamb was a legit scorer in college and one of the NCAA’s best shooters. If he falls to the second round, expect the Bobcats to consider Lamb at 31.
Festus Ezeli, C – 6’11, 255 pounds
Another player that might not make it to the second round, the senior out of Vanderbilt has the prototypical size for the center position. Ezeli is a high energy player that came out of nowhere his senior season and could be a steal late in the first round, early in the second.
There are drawbacks to Ezeli, including a lack of any type of offensive game or consistent rebounding. Some would also consider him injury prone but big men are hard to come by and his ceiling makes him worth a look to start the second round.
If the Bobcats decide against drafting a power forward or center at number two overall, Ezeli could be a solid option if he drops to 31.
Kevin Jones, PF – 6’8, 250 pounds
In his senior year at West Virginia, Jones averaged a double-double with 19.9 points and 10.9 boards per contest. However Jones doesn’t have great size at power forward or outstanding athleticism but, then again, we are talking about a second round prospect here.
Jones could be the safest pick (and most likely to be available) of this bunch and might be selected by Charlotte regardless of who they take at number two overall.
It’s make or break time for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats and this draft will be monumental in terms of the strides this team is set to make over the next few seasons. There’s little doubt that a wasted top two pick would be extremely difficult to stomach for an already weary fan base.
Charlotte has a solid group of young players but no one that really stands out as an All Star player capable of leading this team back to respectability.
This must change, starting with the number two pick in the 2012 draft.