28 days to go until the 2010 NBA Draft!
Today, we continue to the slow, boring start and take a look at the third of three teams without draft picks: the Charlotte Bobcats.
If you booed Stephen Jackson, then watched him play in the playoffs while the Dubs sat at home again, know this. He's on a capped-out team that has very little wiggle room to improve.
He's stuck. They all are. It doesn't look pretty for 2010-11 for the MJ-cats.
The dire situation is best described by the blog Bobcats Baseline in an article entitled Off-Season Prescriptions for the Capped-Out Cats. It's worth the whole read, but here's a quick snapshot of their #1 problem...
The Bobcats have $27.5 million (roughly half of their cap space) committed to the center position and the last time I checked, none of those guys were named Howard, Duncan, Ming or Gasol. Years of poor financial decision making have finally caught up: overpaying Emeka Okafor when they didn’t have to (Chandler), overpaying Matt Carroll when they didn’t have to (Diop) and bailing out Joe Dumars with the expiring contracts of Walter Herrmann and Primoz Brezec (Mohammed).
Here's what they've got committed (and not) for 2010-11...
|pg||D.J. Augustin||Raymond Felton|
|sg||Stephen Jackson||Larry Hughes|
|sf||Gerald Wallace||Stephen Graham|
|pf||Tyson Chandler||Theo Ratliff|
That's eleven "meh" guys under contract! Look at how thin the backcourt is.
Derrick Brown was a 2nd-round pick, 40th overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. Here are some guys who were picked after him: shooting guard Jodie Meeks, shooting guard Chase Budinger.
It's as if the Bobcats were the anti-thesis of the Golden State Warriors, who are always searching for quality bigs.
It's definitely the anti-thesis of Michael Jordan's Bulls teams, where you had one or two or three great players and a bunch of scrubs to fill the holes, whereas now his Airness has a bunch of rotation players and no truly great players.
To top things off, this year's crop of new blood is particularly weak in the backcourt. And even if they can get a newbie free agent on the cheap, the problem is that he will be a newbie that's not necessarily joining a squad of seasoned veterans.
But who knows, maybe Larry Brown can continue to work some magic.
As far as the new blood, none of the incoming point guard class could possibly take the place of Ray Felton, should the Bobcats not be able to sign him. The only one with a remote chance that sort of fits the bill would be MIkhail Torrance, a Poor Man's Russell Westbrook who's thirsting to be an alpha dog (I wrote about Torrance's Portsmouth Invitational performance here). All the other point guard prospects don't fit that personality, with perhaps the exception of Jerome Randle, who stands just 5'9".
And that's only if neither Torrance or Randle gets "claimed" in the 2nd round.
None of the 2009-10 rolls of the dice at shooting guard worked. Henderson (12th pick overall) was a decent pick, but didn't see a lot of playing time. And 2nd-round pick Robert Vaden (45th pick overall) was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The incoming shooting guard class is even worse. That's why you have a freshman like Jordan Crawford edging the outskirts of Lottery Pick territory (top 14). There are no Anthony Morrow types currently on the radar who won't get drafted and can be invited into training camp.
Come to think of it, Greivis Vasquez could be a good fit for the Bobcats as a training camp pickup, assuming he doesn't get drafted by someone else. He can play both the 1 and the 2, has the alpha dog ballhandler mentality on a team that has ho-hum written all over it.
Then again, neither Vasquez nor Randle, for that matter, has great defense, which tends to be a requirement on any Larry Brown squad.
Whom they invite to training camp should be a good indication of MJ and Rod Higgins's approach towards 2010-11. They'll either mail it in and look ahead to 2011-12 (i.e., do very little), make a whole-hearted attempt to improve the roster despite the handcuffs (i.e., make an impressive Daryl Morey-ish signing), or screw it up (i.e., sign someone they shouldn't have).
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