Truer words have never been spoken. I reached out to the Rolling Stones on this one because in this draft, the words fit it perfectly. In a draft that is pretty much void of a superstar player, every fan has a want. Draft the best player available at your pick, they say. Draft the best player in the position that we need, others may say. Jump with me to this quick look at the available players in the draft, and some issues behind picking or not picking them.
We all know we need front court help. Biz and Gillie the Kidd are still learning their way around in the NBA. They're young, and they will get better. I can't scold a power forward because we really haven't had a solid guy there. Mullens is atypical because of his shooting range. Constant banging down low landed him injured for the latter part of the season. He's due a qualifying offer, but who can say if he gets it. Josh McRoberts was an excellent fit on our team as the post-trade deadline came and went. Adding him to the team promoted more ball movement, better game flow, and more offensive rebounds. He's an unrestricted free agent, so whether he gets an offer or not is a mystery to me. Jeff Adrien is an unrestricted free agent, so he will possibly be gone. Gana Diop's contract is over and he will not be returning. Basically, we're looking at Biyombo and Brendan Haywood filling the center position, and possibly Mullens at PF. I don't mention Tyrus Thomas because he needs to be amnestied so bad...I was going to make a joke here, but Tyrus remaining a Bobcat is too painful to laugh about.
So what are our options to fill the gaps down low? Well, the first 2 names that come to mind I the draft are Alex Len and Anthony Bennett. That's my top 2 picks in the draft to help us out. Beyond that, I say that we should trade down with someone like Minnesota for their pick and Derrick Williams. With the lower pick, I draft Zeller. If Houston still wants to unload Thomas Robinson, I offer up a second round pick or 2, or I'd even be willing to let go of the Portland pick we have for next season's draft. That's a quick injection down low of youth that can be molded I to something good for the upcoming season.
If you think about this, and we did what I am listing above, moving out would be Gana Diop, Tyrus Thomas, Jeff Adrien, and Byron Mullens. Coming in would be Alex Len or Anthony Bennett, or we trade down and get Cody Zeller and Derrick Williams. Priority needs to be to give Josh McRoberts an affordable contract and pursue getting Thomas Robinson by some reasonable means. T-Rob wasn’t a #5 pick for no reason. He could be a trade steal that we should be willing to take. If the above works out, we’d still have room to shop around for an undrafted player or 2, or even sign a free agent like Mosgov or Pekovic. Some things will just be determined by who we can draft. I’d go into detail about why I’m not mentioning Noel, but I’ll just keep it short. A broken growth plate in high school and a torn ACL in college in the same knee is enough for me to throw up the red flags and turn my head anywhere but there for a draft pick.
Now for those of you who are wondering where McLemore and Olapido are in my quest for the perfect pick, I’m getting there. Everyone has been so high on McLemore. He bombed out in the NCAA tournament, went to a pre-draft workout “out of shape”, and bombed the workout in Phoenix. 3 strikes and you’re out for me. I don’t need to see any more of him. Olapido, however, has been even better than advertised. If there was a guy I was going to get that was not a front court player, this would be my guy. He was proving at the collegiate level that he was really good on both sides of the ball, and now he’s killing it in these pre-draft workouts. My only problem is that we have Gerald Henderson, who I fully believe, needs to be kept. I believe a 3 year $21 million contract is a fair amount for him right now. If the team continues to improve, he’d be coming into his prime at the end of that contract, on a team that has risen from the ashes, and is a prime contender in the east. If Len and Bennett are gone, Olapido is my solid 3rd pick. Ben Gordon is gone after this season, so getting a 3rd shooting guard is no big deal. At some point, what’s left on Gordon’s expiring will be traded to a team for something and we will be in need of a shooting guard.
Guys, that’s it. Len, Bennett, and Olapido are the only 3 guys I would take with the #4 pick. There’s just not much else out there. Trading down, my interest only falls to Zeller. I might could get more excited, but just take a look at the top 6 prospects. Of the 6, 3 can’t work out, and we can only base our opinions on what they did in college. I like the pre-draft workouts so you can see how they handle NBA level drills, and you can get their feedback from it. We aren’t getting that from Len, Bennett, or Noel. As for the other 3, we didn’t have a need for Otto Porter, and McLemore and Olapido didn’t come to CLT (that I know of). Basing a draft off of college film scares me, but, this isn’t the superstar level draft. We just have to take it for what it’s worth. Like I said, moving a second round pick or 2 for Thomas Robinson is a minimum risk deal because this is the 2nd year of his guaranteed rookie money. The rest is team options. If he doesn’t work out, we let him walk. If he plays up to the #5 pick expectations, we struck gold at the cost of a couple second round picks.
After Thursday, we’ll have a new Bobcat or Bobcats. Time will tell. This week will be a busy one, full of trade rumors, players that are available, and players that are being pursued. I mean, we’ve already seen a coach traded for a draft pick, so what’s next? Minnesota trades their mascot to Los Angeles for the Lakers name back? Trust me, this week is going to be jam-packed full of news nuggets, but don’t put a ton of faith into any of them. Mr. Cho holds his cards pretty close, so we most likely won’t know what all happened until Friday morning and our heads may still be spinning at that point. I can guarantee that we aren’t all going to get what we want in this draft, but hopefully we walk away with some better pieces than we had.
“No, you can't always get what you want, but if you try sometime, you just might find you get what you need.” – Rolling Stones
Let’s hope the Bobcats get what they need.
Let’s Go Bobcats!