Who’s the Right Fit for the Bobcats?
Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo – Charlotte’s first-rounders last year – may not have been able to save the Bobcats from one of the most dismal seasons in the past decade of professional sports, but they each showed solid potential to produce in the NBA and they need to be considered greatly when discussing the number two overall pick this year. Walker’s a great scorer with an incredible IQ for offense. He took a solid but not spectacular supporting cast at UConn and turned them into NCAA champions. The biggest question with him is which guard position he fits best in, but he showed his ability to score in the NBA, albeit rather inconsistently, last season. Biyombo has the defensive instincts of fellow Congo-native Serge Ibaka (although he unfortunately lacks the height) and no matter where you put him in your starting five, he’s got some of the most active defensive hands we’ve seen from a rookie in recent years.
So what’s next?
There seems to be five different options that the Bobcats are considering as of now – apart from trading down in the draft. The two I’ve been hearing most are Thomas Robinson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but Andre Drummond, Bradley Beal, and Harrison Barnes all appear to be on Charlotte’s radar as well. Beal may be the least likely now that they’ve acquired Ben Gordon from the Pistons, but here’s how I’d rank each selection:
Harrison Barnes – 8/10
The main criticism on Barnes is that he just doesn’t look motivated or fully devoted to the game frequently enough. While I think that’s definitely fair on a certain level, as we rarely saw Barnes take over games when his UNC team really needed it, he still clearly showed his ability to put the ball in the hoop. Besides Beal, he’s the best shooter amongst the projected top-6, and probably better than Beal when it comes to the catch-and-shoot. Even though some of the past UNC shooting guards have been underwhelming in the NBA (McCants, Ellington), I think Barnes has the size and ability to play either shooting guard or small forward and could see him having an upside similar to Danny Granger. Alongside Walker, I think he could really help spread the floor and make up for Walker’s lack of size if they fill the 2 and 3 spots. As mentioned earlier, Kemba is great at creating and if Barnes can find the motivation to become a premier shooter, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him averaging over 20 points per game in just a couple years – extremely valuable points when you’re talking about the Bobcats.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – 7/10
A fantastic athlete with an explosive leaping ability that will most likely fit into the small forward spot in the NBA. He was a key cog on the best team in the NCAA last season, usually as the third option on offense. My problem with MKG is that he just doesn’t do any one or two things good enough to warrant that number 2 overall selection. Alongside a premier point guard, I could see Kidd-Gilchrist filling in really well, but his inability to create for himself or shoot the ball consistently well makes me question his effectiveness if he’s expected to be one of his team’s top scorers.
Thomas Robinson – 6/10
Robinson is an incredible athlete with great versatility and an NBA-ready body. He’s got a solid basketball IQ and contributes in a variety of different facets of the game, but just like with MKG, he doesn’t excel in any particular area. Robinson’s not going to be a go-to scorer in the NBA, lacking a dominant post game or consistent jump shot and even though a lot of players can develop these skills as they grow older, I think Robinson will be more of a role player in the NBA, and a role player is a tough sell at number 2 overall.
Bradley Beal – 5/10
A really smooth shooter that reminds me of a less explosive Eric Gordon. While it’s hard to argue against drafting someone comparable to Gordon with the second overall pick, I think Charlotte has to pass just because he’s got similar concerns to Kemba. At 6’4”, Beal’s closer to the size of the average NBA point guard than shooting guard, but there’s no doubt he’s more of a shooting guard. He’d be a solid fit on Washington or Cleveland, but not in Charlotte.
Andre Drummond – 4/10
Drummond’s an attractive option just because of his size (6’11”, 279) and age (18), but I just don’t see any aspect of his game that will allow him to be a dependable NBA starter. He rebounds the ball decently well and will probably block a fair amount of shots, but he’s too slow to be a reliable defender and has little-to-no ability at all on the offensive end, especially on the block or outside of about 7 feet. While a lot of big men develop their post games as they get older, I think Drummond hasn’t shown us enough to believe that this development will happen and I would rather see him taken somewhere between picks 8 and 15.