Big decision made with Clifford. Bigger decision coming with Draft « Queen City Hoops

Big decision made with Clifford. Bigger decision coming with Draft

Steve Clifford has now been named the new coach of this young rebuilding movement in Charlotte and now all eyes are set towards the June 27th NBA Draft. Although the draft isn’t loaded with elite talent this season, the Bobcats cannot afford to strikeout on landing a prospect that will help the team moving forward.

Last Tuesday, Charlotte learned that they’ll draft 4th next month — unless they find a way to trade back, which would probably be ideal for just about any team in the top-5. With the 4th pick, there are a few presumptions that we can make about the first 3 — 1) Nerlens Noel + Ben McLemore will more than likely be off the draft board. 2) One team in the top-3 is going to make every attempt they can to move back in the draft, and with this field of underwhelming talent, that’s going to be a very difficult sell to other teams/buyers.

When considering those factors, it’s fair to assume that the Bobcats will be stuck with the 4th pick and choosing from these list of prospects — Otto Porter, Victor Oladipo, Anthony Bennett, C.J. McCollum, Alex Len, Cody Zeller & Steven Adams. Len probably has the most potential of this group because of his 7’1 frame + athleticism for a player of this size.

– ESPN’s Chad Ford on Len following the Draft Combine

Len was on crutches during his visit to the combine. He measured well with a nearly 7-foot-4 wingspan and was impressive in interviews by virtually all accounts. If he could work out, I think he’d have a shot at going No. 1. However, from what I’m told, he’s still in the mix with the Cavs for that top spot anyway. It’s hard to imagine him falling out of the top 10.

Well, if the Cavs are seriously considering Len at #1 overall, then certainly every team drafting soon after them would have to take a long look at the Maryland center, right? Yes and no. If Len was available at #4 then there’s no doubt that Charlotte would have a very difficult time on him, but let’s all remember that smokescreens are a seriously tool in every draft — especially valuable in a draft that doesn’t feature any shoe-in stars. If Cleveland could convince a front office that Len is really worth the top pick (which is highly unlikely) because of his athleticism/mobility for his size, then they’d have a chance of cashing in on that #1 pick. Again, that’s highly unlikely, and the only realistic scenario that would get any team out of the top-4 picks would include Cleveland, Orlando, Washington or Charlotte taking on a player salary that has multiple years left to give ‘X-team’ salary cap relief.

ESPN’s Ryen Russillo has thrown out a theoretical trade scenario that’s a good reference point to how one of these teams would be able to move back in the draft — Cleveland trades #1 overall pick for Luol Deng. Deng has approximately $28mil over 2 seasons left on his contract.

Charlotte really has no assets to package in a trade in order to move back, so let’s bank on the fact that they will be drafting at #4 unless they find their way into a deal that help two other teams facilitate some kind of trade. Most mock draft boards currently have Charlotte selecting Victor Oladipo with the 4th pick, and I couldn’t be anymore on-board with that idea. It sounded like a fit before the hiring of Steve Clifford, but Oladipo seems to be an even better fit since we’ve learned who the new head coach will be for this franchise. It should be obvious to most now that Cho is trying to build this roster with youth that are of a high character model — Oladipo is that. Along with the fact that there isn’t a player that brings more energy to the floor + great two position defender + a rapidly developing offensive player — this is as close to a no-brainer selection with the 4th pick as it gets to me (assuming he’s available).

The other name I’d like to focus on is Anthony Bennett. At 6’8, 240 lbs. he’s got a wide frame and is a terrific scorer from numerous spots on the floor. Very versatile offensively. Bennett is very explosive around the rim + can beat most defenders off the dribble to get there — he’s drawn comparisons to Larry Johnson, an ex-Charlotte Hornet great. Bennett really believes in his game and sometimes that can come back to bite him. One of his biggest weaknesses is his spotty shot selection + being a bit out of control on the offensive end from time-to-time. Although he’s versatile offensively, he doesn’t have great size (height) and lacks an effective post game offensively. Bennett is also spotty defensively with his effort — as you could imagine, that’s the biggest concern to me.

– Chad Ford on Bennett following the Draft Combine

Bennett wasn’t able to play at the combine, nor did he interview. The shoulder surgery doesn’t appear to bother teams much; it’s more about the fit. He has an NBA-ready game and should be a terrific scorer at the next level, but his lack of ideal size makes him a little more difficult to plug in. The Wizards, Bobcats, Suns and Pistons are all taking a serious look.

When we talk about guys who have star potential in the NBA out of this draft class, Bennett’s name is without doubt one that jumps off the page. Below is the DraftExpress scouting video for Bennett.

So, there’s the early outlook on what I can gather leading up to next months draft. Again, this draft isn’t loaded with talent, but don’t let that fool you — the Bobcats must capitalize on every opportunity they get to improve the roster at this point of the rebuilding process.

10 comments to Big decision made with Clifford. Bigger decision coming with Draft

  • charlottean

    the thing I don’t like about bennett is the similarity to MKG. He’s more of a post up version but size and long term potential is too similar. If we had a monster of a 5 like a bynum or a hibbert, It would make sense. but with biz, that would give us a starting front court of 3 guys that are long 6-8ish.

    len scares me because nobody with his resume in college has gone on to be a star in the nba. not anyone that I can recall. Very ed davis’ish in the college impact area.

  • Lester

    I agree for the most part, but a solid #5 man star or not, would be good out of this year’s draft.

  • charlottean

    I agree on that. I just think len is 3rd in the big man pecking order in this draft.

  • Spencer/SDS

    I see Bennett as a very Paul Milsapp type player, he will be extremely efficient, a good scorer, decent rebounder (good for a 6 ft 8 guy but decent for a starting PF) okay defensively, won’t be a reliability unless you put him as your 5..which is an awful idea

    Len, reminds me of a very recent draft pick we saw in Portland with Leonard…also as far as Len type players becoming successful in the NBA maybe look at Drummond??? (also last year) I wouldn’t put him in the category of Orton or Thabeet (i believe you did in a previous post) Orton was a 30th or 29th overall pick…and wasn’t looked at highly coming from college in the 1st place (not very bright, or didn’t try in college-dropped out after the 2nd term or once basketball started coming around basically-a.k.a he couldn’t return to Kentucky in the 1st place) and Thabeet, well he was a fiasco caused by Memphis, most experts saw him as a late 1st rnd pick at best in the 1st place, Memphis made a huge gamble and it did not pay off at all

    Also Len is the 3rd in the pecking order of this draft in talent for NOW, but potential he is on top, Zeller can be damn good but Len could just be better simply, a true C with athleticism…well every teams jaws drop off for one…man if Shaq, Wilt, Kareem or Hakeem or any center of that caliber was around today we would be looking at a true dynasty

  • charlottean

    drummond was a freshmen. a young freshmen at that. for perspective……biyombo is like 10 months older than len. Knowing how uncoordinated biyombo is…..i still think he would have looked like shaq against last year’s acc centers. I mean plumlee, mcadoo, kadji, howell? none of those guys are legit nba 5′s. I’m supposed to be impressed when he has 18 and 7 against brooklyn LIU? I KNOW i’m being hard on the guy but you guys are talking about investing the #4 pick on him over zeller.

    I do NOT buy the fact he has higher potential than either noel or zeller. Zeller is no doubt the more finished product, but he still has a ways to grow. I don’t see len being better than zeller at any point (beyond something circumstantial like zeller being drafted to the team that then signs dwight howard or zeller greg oden’s his knees).

    I see len being a mediocre starting center. as his ceiling. Not a bad pick at 10 at all. but at 4? rough. Darko would still be starting somewhere had he been drafted 7th or lower that year. I think len is very much so darko caliber. I think zeller is more than that. somewhere between bogut and gasol. a discount duncan.

    I realize that zeller has fallen in draft stock because his standing reach and wingspan are way below average. I think his shooting/ability to run the floor/vertical all wayyyyyyyyyyyy outweigh length but in the nba draft logic gets thrown out the window. And I struggle to logically find a way to justify len being better than zeller. or oladipo/bennett/porter/mclemore (depending on who is left) in terms of the 4th pick for us.

  • Wilmington

    Obviously not many people have watched Len through the course of the year. He is soon to be twenty and has already made great strides with his body and game from freshmen season. He outplayed every other big man in this draft class when matched up against them, Noel and Plumlee. I would compare him to Hibbert more so than anyone else in recent years. Hibbert didn’t look to special coming out of college but really developed his game well when he became a pro. Len already has solid post moves to advance upon and is a decent passer. Given time he looks to develop into a very nice center. In the league today it is rare to get that kind of talent with his size and length. Would be a mistake to draft any of the wings in this years draft over him considering the rarity of true centers compared to how many good wing players come out year after year. Len was also in a bad system in Maryland as they had poor guard play and did not play to his strengths.

  • charlottean

    roy hibbert is overpaid and overrated. is he a good player? no doubt about it. is he great? no effing way. He was drafted 17th and has completely lived up to that billing. minnesota isn’t looking at that draft like “man we could have had roy hibbert instead of kevin love”. you could re do that draft TODAY and he would still probably go 10th.

    rose, westbrook, love, mayo, gordon, hill, ibaka, lopez, batum, gallinari, pekovic, hickson, asik, jordan, etc.

    I mean I like hibbert a lot. if you’re saying len could be hibbert or a little better, I agree. Zeller is better than hibbert right now. Noel stands to be A LOT better than hibbert. Noel is like 3 years ahead of hibbert and that’s without the weight. let that dude hit 24/25…..he could be ridiculous.

    i keep hearing how len destroyed noel in their head to head. that was noel’s FIRST college game. and kentucky still won the game. how is that relevant? Len is a player. He’s going to be a solid NBA big. is he going to be a star? i don’t see it. Zeller’s a sure thing and Noel sure looks like one too.

  • Wilmington

    Who would go ahead of hibbert besides rose Westbrook love and maybe Lopez or ibaka? Hibbert is a top 5 center. There’s not many legit centers besides Dwight gasol Lopez and chandler. Most of those are not balanced offensively and defensively. Len could turn out to be a bust but his size, athleticism, and skill set do not come around often. Even though he is young Noel is terrible offensively besides dunking. The ability to feed a man in the post and score is tough to come by. I really hope the Bobcats take him. Zeller would be my next hope for the Bobcats. The draft next year is loaded with wing players and some good pf. With taking Len cats would have great size and the option of getting Parker wiggins Harrison or randle with their first pick. Maybe even have 2 extra late lottery picks next year. Really hope the blazers trade Aldridge as it would work nicely for CHA.

  • Wilmington

    Would love to see cats maneuver a deal for mavs pick and move Henderson and mavs pick to move up and grab zeller too. Cats would still be one of the bottom teams in league and chance at wiggins or Parker next year. Big dreaming but If the could manage to recieve pistons or blazers pick next year cats could potentially have: Len zeller biyombo Parker/wiggins mkg pj Hairston Taylor and Kemba. Would be an excellent young core especially with the Hornets name coming back. Would take luck in lottery and execution from front office which has been long overdue.

  • charlottean

    that’s just showing how weak the position is right now. he’s still not a great player. the heat make him look great because he’s going against bosh and haslem. his career per 36 is 16 and 10. that’s not horrible but i mean that’s vlade divac numbers. luc longley was a big guy to clog up the middle for the bulls in the 90′s. didn’t make him a great player.

    I like hibbert A LOT, I would gladly have him on my team. but he’s not worth a max contract. Maybe intangibles-wise he is but talent? production? no. he’s a good solid starter on a contending team. but he’s not an elite guy. you don’t build your team around him, he’s part of the team you build around someone else to contend. in his case, they build around granger and somehow ended up with george being the guy. craziest ish ever. but they never built around hibbert. they weren’t even sure if they were going to match portland’s offer last year. biyombo is/will be every bit the defender hibbert is when he’s 26. I would take biyombo at 26 over hibbert right now.

    portland isn’t trading aldridge and that wouldn’t help us. the pick is top 12 protected. they trade him and they’re bottom 10 for a few years. they keep him, they finish around 15 or 16 this year and we get the pick.