2011-12 Record: 7-59, Last in NBA (worst winning percentage in league history)
2012 NBA Draft: F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky, 2nd overall pick), F Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt, 31st overall)
Offseason Losses: G D.J Augustin (signed with Indiana Pacers), F Corey Maggette (traded to Detroit Pistons)
Projected Starting Line-up: PG Ramon Sessions, SG Gerald Henderson, SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, PF Bismack Biyombo, C Brandon Haywood
OFFSEASON GRADE: C -
It can’t get any worse than last season.
It just can’t.
The Charlotte Bobcats finished with the fewest amount of wins (7) and the lowest winning percentage (.106) in the history of the league at the end of the 2011-12 regular season.
Improvement is inevitable. That’s probably giving the team more credit than they deserve, but fans of the Bobcats (they do exist apparently) can breath a sigh of relief knowing Charlotte’s year-end record will (hopefully “knock on wood”) hit the double-digit mark in 2013.
This team needed a bit of everything. Nothing was set in stone at any one position. How could it be? There are truly no positives on a 7-win team. Everyone was in fear of losing their spot on the roster.
It seemed like an absolute lock that the Charlotte Bobcats would win the NBA Draft Lottery and earn the right to draft Kentucky Wildcats standout Anthony Davis. Selecting Davis was going to be the first step in a long drawn out process of turning this franchise into a playoff contender once again. As fate would have it, Charlotte dropped one spot and ended up with the 2nd overall pick, selecting Anthony’s teammate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist instead. Michael is a tremendous athlete with an amazing upside at the small forward position. His tremendous attitude and his willingness to become a better player should spread to his new teammates in Charlotte and be a huge positive going forward. Gilchrist may not have the immediate impact of an Anthony Davis, but the Bobcats could have done a lot worse at pick #2. He has the potential to be the best player coming out of the 2012 draft looking 4-5 years down the road, if he can develop more of an offensive game to go along with his outstanding defensive prowess.
Bringing in coach Mike Dunlap (former Denver Nuggets assistant coach to George Karl) should go a long way in Kidd-Gilchrists development. The casual basketball fan may have never once heard the name “Mike Dunlap” before, but coaches around the league rave about how good a pickup this was for Charlotte. Dunlap is a very intense worker and constantly expects the absolute best out of his players. I have no doubt in my mind that he will push this team every single day, but expectations should certainly be tempered considering the talent (or lack there of) he has to work with.
Outside of selecting a new head coach and drafting their franchise player of the future, the Charlotte Bobcats kept it relatively simple this offseason. Signing Ramon Sessions to a 2-year deal and claiming center Brandon Haywood off of an amnesty claim are ho-hum pickups at best. Neither player is much of an upgrade over what Charlotte already had (which is actually saying quite a lot). With Charlotte management putting a lot of stock into young prospects Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo for the future, it simply remains to be seen as to whether the presence of Sessions and Haywood will stunt their growth for one more year.
Washed-up veteran Ben Gordon is also now a member of the Bobcats roster after coming over from the Pistons in a trade for Corey Maggette.
With Gerald Henderson showing a lot of promise from last season at the 2 spot, Gordon will more than likely come off the bench and continue his string of negative, lousy, unproductive years ever since leaving the Chicago Bulls back in 08-09. He can still shoot the basketball at a high-rate, but other than that, he brings little else to this Bobcats team.
The Charlotte Bobcats won’t make the playoffs in 2012-13.
Will they be a better, more competitive team than they were last year? Of course! They can only go up. A trio of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo should give the fan base in Charlotte some hope at least.
It may take a while (a lonnnnnng while), but it appears that this team may be heading back on the right track.
Talk about being optimistic…..
Christopher Walder is a sports blogger and lead editor for Sir Charles in Charge. You may follow him on Twitter @WalderSports