Everything the Bobcats did this offseason – resigning Gerald Wallace, resigning Matt Carroll, and trading for Jason Richardson – may not matter anymore. ESPN reports that Sean May is out for the year, as May has decided to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee (the same procedure Greg Oden had done earlier this season). While some fans had talked about not expecting much out of him this year, the Bobcats management obviously expected him to be available, as they let Jake Voskuhl leave for the Bucks. With May out for the year, the Bobcats are left with Emeka Okafor, Walter Herrmann (an undersized 4), and a lot of question marks in the frontcourt. Can Ryan Hollins improve by leaps and bounds (and more) from his rookie season, and contribute meaningfully? I am skeptical. What about Othella Harrington? Out for the preseason, recovering from surgery himself. Primoz? I think not. The rookie, Jermareo Davidson? Expecting him to be better than Hollins was last year is a stretch.
Last season, with May in the lineup, the Bobcats were 0.1 points per 100 possessions worse than their oppisition. Without him, 4 points worse – a swing of 3.9 points. But after Gerald Wallace turned his season around on December 27th, it got even more pronounced. The Bobcats were far better off with May on the floor – with May, the Bobcats were 7.8 points per 100 possessions better than their opposition, but without him, 2.1 points worse – that is a net 9.9 point swing.
The big difference in last season to this is that the Bobcats have one more high quality player on their roster, Jason Richardson. The starting lineup now looks like Emeka, Walter, Gerald, Jason Richardson, and Raymond Felton, instead of Matt Carroll at the 2. No offense to Matt, but that is a big difference. It is certainly a bigger difference than going from May to Walter. So, maybe I was a bit hasty – the offseason moves still matter, maybe even more so now since the Bobcats lost one of their better talents (I did not say players, since Sean has done so little of that). But where the injury does matter will be in the win column – Sam Vincent's goal of 4th in the East is more remote and that playoff spot that so many fans are counting on just got a bit tighter.