What Bobcats Should Do With Fourth Pick
Once again, the ping pong balls did not fall in the Charlotte Bobcats’ favor in this year’s draft lottery. They fell out of the top three and into the four spot. While Otto Porter and Nerlens Noel are likely going to be off of the board at that point, the Bobcats will still have some very good options to choose from at four.
As we’ve done with the first three picks, HOOPSWORLD asks their writers to make the decision for the Bobcats at four:
Draft Alex Len
Michael Jordan’s Charlotte Bobcats continue their quest to rebound and rebuild after losing a combined 120 of 148 total contests over the last two seasons. Not surprisingly, Charlotte has a top-5 pick in the NBA Draft for the second straight year and the pressure is on this organization to build a quality talent base heading into the future.
One of the most recent Bobcats’ selections, seventh overall pick Bismack Biyombo in 2011, has proved to be a stout defender but may be too small at 6-foot-9 to compete on a consistent basis at center. Despite his elite wingspan, Biyombo may be better suited to be a defensive stalwart and shot-blocker from the power forward position – a la Serge Ibaka with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Which brings us to possibly the best 7-footer in the 2013 NBA Draft – Maryland’s Alex Len. Recovering from surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left ankle, Len is expected to miss roughly four-to-six months this summer heading into the 2013-14 NBA season.
Still, Len is expected to be a top-5 pick despite likely being on the shelf to start next season – not unlike potential number one selection Nerlens Noel. This isn’t a factor likely to scare away a Bobcats’ squad that’s not banking on contending next season.
If Len falls to four, this could be just what the doctor ordered for a Charlotte squad in desperate need of size down low. Already projected as a stout NBA defender, Len would give the Bobcats a formidable defensive-minded frontcourt that would make life difficult for opposing offenses.
Len’s offensive game needs to continue to evolve but his selection would be an ideal pick for the rebuilding Bobcats. The expectant window for this team to get back into contention is over the next few years, so drafting a player that isn’t likely to start the season shouldn’t faze Charlotte.
If the Bobcats believe Biyombo will indeed grow into an everyday NBA center, then UNLV power forward Anthony Bennett should be the choice at four. If not, drafting a 7-foot-1 center with elite-level potential isn’t a bad consolation prize at the fourth overall pick.
- Derek Page
Draft Ben McLemore
If the 2013 NBA Draft goes according to my picks thus far, Nerlens Noel, Trey Burke and Victor Oladipo would be the first three players off of the board. If that’s how the draft does indeed play out, the big winner would be the Charlotte Bobcats at No. 4 because they’d be able to select Ben McLemore out of Kansas.
Some teams don’t have a need for McLemore because they already have an answer at shooting guard. However, Charlotte isn’t one of those teams (especially with Gerald Henderson possibly leaving as a free agent this summer) and the 20-year-old McLemore could be the franchise player that the Bobcats have been searching for in recent years.
A number of executives believe that McLemore could end up being the best player to come out of this draft class. He’s a terrific all-around player who has the athleticism and skill set to be very special down the road. McLemore only played one year of college basketball so he’s still somewhat raw, but he has a ridiculous amount of upside, which is why a lot of teams really like him.
McLemore is a terrific athlete, posting a vertical of 42 inches at the combine. However, unlike some athletic players, there is more to his game than just jumping out of the gym. He also has one of the best jump shots in this class, which is why he has drawn comparisons to Ray Allen among others. Last year, McLemore averaged 15.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, two assists and one steal as a freshman for the Jayhawks. He shot 49.5 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range.
McLemore really complements Charlotte’s top pick in last year’s draft, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. McLemore is more of an offensive player while Kidd-Gilchrist is more of a defensive player. They bring different skill sets to the table and would have no problem coexisting on the perimeter. Charlotte would have a very talented young core that consists of McLemore, Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo among others. That group could develop together and become a formidable team in a few years.
Before the lottery, McLemore was being discussed as a potential No. 1 or No. 2 pick. If he slips to No. 4 simply because other teams have bigger needs that they must address, the Bobcats would be in luck.
- Alex Kennedy
Draft Anthony Bennett
Here’s a fun game; go look at the Charlotte Bobcats depth chart and turn your attention to the power forward position. Josh McRoberts was the starter by year’s end, but Jeff Adrien and Byron Mullens were the two guys that nabbed almost all the rest of the starts at that position. Charlotte is also stuck with Tyrus Thomas for a couple more years, but his effectiveness as a pro at this point is questionable at best. To make things worse, McRoberts and Mullens are free agents this summer, meaning Charlotte has no choice but address the power forward position, if not in the draft, then definitely through free agency.
And if they’re going to do via draft pick, nobody makes more sense than UNLV standout Anthony Bennett.
The ‘Cats need help on the offensive end of the floor, especially in the post, and Bennett is a face-up post player with the kind of muscle to bang with NBA physicality. He rebounds well, plays his rear end off, and possesses athleticism that is surprising considering his big frame. Yes, he’s coming off shoulder surgery, but half of the players projected to be taken in the top six will be drafted while rehabbing various injuries.
This is a guy that gives Charlotte a major upgrade at a position in which they are in dire need. Ben McLemore would be fine, but the gap between him and Gerald Henderson isn’t anywhere near as large as the gap between Bennett and Jeff Adrien. Taking Bennett makes them immediately better and gives GM Rich Cho someone to build around along with Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Plenty of picks would work for Charlotte, but this one makes the most sense.
- Joel Brigham
Draft Victor Oladipo
In the scenario that Victor Oladipo is still on the board for the Charlotte Bobcats, there’s absolutely no doubt that he is who they should go with. The Bobcats’ history is bleak to say the least. Their best year came when they were barely .500 and made it to the playoffs, where they were unceremoniously swept in the first round.
With Gerald Henderson set to enter free agency, Oladipo would be a fine replacement for all the reasons that make him a very viable choice for the three teams picking ahead of the Bobcats. He’s a fierce competitor who has a disdain for losing that may outweigh his passion for winning. He really gets after it on the defensive end of the floor, where the Bobcats are going to have to improve if they’re ever going to consistently be one of the top eight teams in the East. Having Oladipo on the opposite wing from Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a good foundation for a defense.
The one concern about that combination is spacing on the offensive end. Both of them have to improve their shooting ability a great deal in order to be as good as the Bobcats need them to be. Given their work ethic, though, it’s not inconceivable to believe that they’ll be able to make the necessary improvements.
Wherever he ends up, Oladipo is going to fit in seamlessly because he’s a low maintenance player. Coaches will know that they can depend on him to raise the level of intensity in practice and always be ready to play whenever he is called on.
For a team like Charlotte that has such a history of losing, that is almost as valuable as anything he can do on the court in games. He would probably step in and be their starter, though, depending on what happens with Henderson’s free agency.
With yet another new head coach in Steve Clifford coming in, the Bobcats need to put him in a position to be successful if he’s going to last longer than his predecessors. Drafting a pro-ready prospect like Oladipo would be the first step in the right direction.
- Yannis Koutroupis