Charlotte Bobcats Season Preview

22 10 2008

My NBA South East Division preview continues with the Charlotte Bobcats:

Charlotte Bobcats

2007-08 Standings 32 – 50, 12th Eastern Conference

2008-09 Predicted Record 25 – 57, 5th South East Division, 14th Eastern Conference

Projected Starting Five:  Nazr Mohammed, Emeka Okafor, Gerald Wallace, Jason Richardson, Raymond Felton

Sixth Man:  Adam Morrison

High flyer Gerald Wallace will be hoping to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to glory this upcoming season.

High flyer Gerald Wallace will be hoping to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to glory this upcoming season.

It’s about time that the Charlotte Bobcats started making some noise in the NBA. They’ve been in the league now for four years and the most wins they’ve accumulated were 33 two seasons ago. You can understand their first few years being poor as they had many of the dregs from other teams through the expansion draft, and they looked to accumulate cap room and young talent.  They have yet to even have an All Star selected. Four years in and Charlotte Bobcats seem no closer to a playoff spot.

This offseason they made an incredibly positive step in signing Larry Brown as coach. Typically his teams have done well within a season or two of the Hall Of Famer taking over, and the Bobcats will be hoping he has a similar effect in Charlotte. However his last stop was with the woeful New York Knicks and even Brown couldn’t work his magic there.

At least in Charlotte he does have some talent to work with, especially at the swingman positions. Gerald Wallace is one of the best two way players in the NBA. The small forward averages just under 20 ppg and is capable of defending the opposition’s best player. While it’s doubtful whether he will ever be an All Star he is still a valuable asset who would serve a championship squad well as the fourth option.

At the shooting guard slot the Bobcats play Jason Richardson, a high flyer with three point range on his shot. The Bobcats acquired him from the Golden State Warriors and the suggestion remains that he is better suited to the run and gun style of play that the Warriors prefer. Like Wallace he is a valuable piece but it’s doubtful whether he will ever be an All Star.  Pity then that he is paid All Star money.

Another player overpaid is Emeka Okafor. He recently signed a six year $72 million extension. He’s a serviceable big but not worth that kind of money. He’ll give you 11 rpg and about 2 bpg but for that kind of money you expect some offensive production and he’s woefully inadequate there. Averaging around 14ppg.

The point guard slots are manned by young, Raymond Felton, and rookie, DJ Augustin, players. Brown is especially demanding on point guards and it will be interesting to see how they cope with his over zealousness.

Coach:

Larry Brown is a Hall of Fame coach and that immediately makes him an upgrade over Sam Vincent, their previous coach. But does he still have it? After all he couldn’t work his magic with the Knicks and he has a relatively inexperienced team to work with.

Bench:

Adam Morrison will be looking to prove his doubters wrong and be the effective player off the bench that the Bobcats need. Unfortunately he missed all of last season due to an injury so it’ll be interesting to see how he comes on this season. The remainder of the bench is young with Matt Carroll being the most experienced with five seasons in the league. Will they be able to cope with the demanding Larry Brown?

Star Player:

Jason Richardson is the star of the Bobcats though a case could also be made for Gerald Wallace. Richardson will be expected to carry the load offensively. Hope his shoulders are broad enough.

Team MVP:

Now that he has his big contract Emeka Okafor really needs to show that he was worth it. If he can add 5 or so points to his average (a big ask) then the Bobcats will be a dangerous team.

Final Prognosis:

I don’t give the Bobcats much show this season. They’ll win their share of games but it won’t be enough to lift them from the bottom of the league. Their best bet would be getting a high draft pick and trying to get a genuine star.

 

You can find an index of past Previews here.

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