NBA@2: Bobcats, Wizards Optimistic After Lottery
The Charlotte Bobcats had a 25% chance of landing the top pick in Wednesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, but the worst winning percentage in NBA history wasn’t enough to earn the right to draft Kentucky’s Anthony Davis.
Obviously the odds were stacked against Charlotte—just as they are against every team—but that wasn’t any consolation to Bobcats general manager Rich Cho.
“From a competitive standpoint you want number one,” Cho told HOOPSWORLD, “but we’re going to get a really good player at number two.”
Cho’s right. Unlike some recent drafts, this one appears to have anywhere from four to seven major talents. Charlotte will likely be able to choose between highly coveted Connecticut center Andre Drummond, Kansas power forward Thomas Robinson and Kentucky swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist—any of whom would make a tremendous addition to a young team such as the Bobcats.
And while none of those names are as exciting as Davis’, Cho shouldn’t be embarrassed about introducing any of the aforementioned alternatives to the Bobcats fans.
“Well yeah, there are some very good players in this draft and with number two we will be able to control our own destiny from the number two picking backwards and we’ll get a good player.”
But to really appease the restless fan base, Cho will need to insert the right coach.
Patrick Ewing has already been informed he is no longer a candidate, and we might not know who Paul Silas’ replacement will be until after the draft.
Essentially, Cho has the option of complementing his pick with a particular coach or pairing his new coach with a specific rookie.
“I think in an ideal world you’d want the coach in place but we want to make sure we pick the right coach so we’re not going to rush it,” he said. “Chances are we will have a coach in place before the draft but we’re not on any strict timeline.”
Cho admits that he will have to think about “how the pieces are going to fit,” when making the second pick in June’s draft, but insists the team will take the “best player available.”
The good news for Bobcats fans is that not one or two, but three talented young players will get their first full training camp going into next season. That’s a chance that Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo were denied because of the lockout of 2011.
“We’re really excited about that,” Cho said, referring to having Walker, Biyombo and a first-round pick in this year’s camp. “Bismack, with the lockout, we couldn’t work with the players obviously and Bismack had a contract situation in Spain so he really wasn’t even in training camp and so I think the summer league and being able to work in the summer is going to help both of them a lot.”
The Bobcats still have a long way to climb toward respectability, but Wednesday night was a step in the right direction—even if the result wasn’t what Bobcats fans had in mind.
And how did the Wizards make out?
The Washington Wizards didn’t have the same odds of landing the top pick that the Bobcats did. However, they did have the perfect partner for Anthony Davis in fellow Kentucky Wildcat John Wall.
The vision of Wall tossing alley-oop passes to Davis in transition was likely all Wizards fans could think off while the ping pong balls were bouncing away in midtown Manhattan on Wednesday night, but general manager Ernie Grunfeld still thinks the Wizards will be adding a tremendous player at the end of June.
“Obviously everybody wants to get the first pick but we feel good,” he said. “We went back, we are three, we were supposed to be two so we’re right about where we’re supposed to be.
“I think every draft has groupings,” he continued. “Obviously this draft probably has a clear cut number one and there’s probably five or six players after that that could go anywhere from two to five or six depending on which team is picking and who has their choice. But we will be up there and we will get a very solid player to add to another piece to the puzzle for us.”
And even though he can’t pair Wall with Davis, Grunfeld will be sure to make sure whomever the Wizards take will be compatible with his star point guard.
“Well, I mean basketball is a team game,” Grunfeld said. “Obviously John Wall is a big part of what we’re doing but we want to get guys that complement John but also complement some of our other players. I’m excited about the process coming up. I’m excited to meet some of these players and get an opportunity to talk to them face to face and we’ll have a real nice solid player for a long time.”
So how close are the Wizards to narrowing down their “big board?”
“Obviously this is an ongoing process,” he said. “We’ve had an opportunity to watch these players for the last year. Most of them were freshman, younger players up at the top anyway. But now we’re going to get an opportunity to exactly have them into our facility. Chicago pre-draft camp is next week so we’re going to get an opportunity to go there and talk to them in person and try to see what type of people they really are.”
With Nene in the middle, Grunfeld doesn’t have to pick Connecticut center Andre Drummond, unless he feels so inclined. Washington still has Andray Blatche and Rashard Lewis around (although, presumably, Grunfeld would want to deal Blatche for cap relief), so drafting a power forward isn’t a necessity either.
Basically, Grunfeld has the luxury of deciding who fits best with Wall and simply going from there.
Jack Twyman passes away at 78
Former Cincinnati Bearcats and Cincinnati Royals center Jack Twyman passed away in the Queen City at 78, according to a report by the Associated Press.
Twyman, a hall of famer, averaged 31.2 ppg in 1959-1960 and appeared in six All-Star games before going to work as an NBA television analyst.
Twyman is perhaps best remembered for becoming the guardian of teammate Maurice Stokes, who was left paralyzed after hitting his head against the hardwood in the last game of the 1958 season.
Twyman not only cared for Stokes, but also put together an exhibition to raise money for his friend and teammate, which later became an NBA tradition.
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