It hasn’t been the busiest of off-season acquisitions for the Bobcats, but it hasn’t been the quietest either. Rich Cho began to pull the trigger on an asset building trade and free agents this summer with the addition of Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood. Jordan & Cho would also execute the drafting of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor, arguably the best draft of this franchises history.
Brett, Mathew and I break down this summer for the Bobcats and how we think the new roster will help or hurt the team moving forward.
1- FACT or FICTION. The Bobcats had the best draft in franchise history by selecting Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor.
Spencer Percy: FACT. Considering that the other three draft classes that could potentially compete with this year’s are Brandan Wright/Jared Dudley, Gerald Henderson/Derrick Brown and Kemba Walker/Bismack Biyombo, the most recent class (Kemba & Biz) could raise some debate, but when it’s all said and done I’d probably put my money on MKG and Taylor. Some people have suggested that drafting two players that play the same position doesn’t make a lot of sense, but I certainly beg to differ. Charlotte now has two SF’s that can both guard the opposing team’s best player- both will be elite defensive players. Not to mention that both of these guys are high character guys who have an unmatchable work ethic, much like Kemba and Biz. So let the rebuilding continue.
Brett Hainline: FACT. It’s not a terribly high bar, with only 2 real contenders, in the 2011 drafting of Bismack and Kemba, and the 2004 draft of Emeka Okafor and Bernard Robinson, but MKG has the potential to be the best of any of these players. Jeff Taylor is a bonus, a later addition like Derrick Brown or Jared Dudley that can be a rotation player.
Mathew Lewis: FACT. Last year’s draft brought two exciting and possible difference-making players to the roster, but I’ll still say a haul of MKG and Taylor is a better get for the Bobcats. MKG has the highest upside of the four and is probably even the best player at the moment. Taylor has the potential to be a real contributor as well.
2- FACT or FICTION. The trade swapping Corey Maggette for Ben Gordon and a 1st round pick from Detroit was a positive by Cho and the Bobcats.
Spencer Percy: FACT. No question. Many GM’s around the league were very surprised that Detroit was willing to throw in a 1st round pick along with Gordon just to shed some salary and add a washed up Corey Maggette. I’m very surprised that Cho was able to pry a 1st rounder away from Detroit as well, but apparently they were that desperate to part ways with Gordon and get him off the books for the next two seasons. Overall, it’s a good move for Charlotte, but Gordon will make more money (by A LOT) than any player on this roster over the next two seasons barring a big trade. That being said, it doesn’t appear that Gordon will get in the way of the Bobcats going for a big free agent next summer as Charlotte only has $21.3 million on the books (as of now) going into next summer.
Brett Hainline: FACT. Big positive for the Bobcats. It makes the backcourt a bit more crowded and smaller for the upcoming season, but it will help the league’s worst offense improve a bit. Oh, and a first round pick is a win – the Bobcats have to pay someone while they build through the draft, so going slightly younger for a year longer isn’t the worst idea.
Mathew Lewis: FACT. Although the Bobcats took on another year of salary (Maggette’s contract expires after the upcoming season while Gordon is signed through 2013-2014), getting back a 1st round pick in exchange is worth it. The Bobcats are going to have to build through the draft so obtaining another pick is of more value than shedding salary cap space.
3- Pick it. Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions or Brendan Haywood. Who was the best off-season addition for the Bobcats and why?
Spencer Percy: Haywood- for two reasons. First, it gives the Bobcats a true center, something they severely lacked last season as long as you don’t count Diop. Secondly, Charlotte will pay him just north of $6 million over the next three seasons. We’re talking about a player that could potentially be this team’s starting center for numerous seasons- what a great price. Usually a guy like Haywood are the types that carry awful contracts, which Haywood did, but thanks to the amnesty clause Charlotte got a starting center for an enormous discount over the next three seasons.
Brett Hainline: Ramon Sessions, as long as you don’t treat Gordon and the future first as a package deal. I like the addition of Sessions, because it will allow the Bobcats a little more freedom to play the dual point guard lineup they’ve used so frequently throughout the years. With Kemba not a pass first point guard, the size increase from D.J. to Ramon allows the Bobcats to better distribute minutes between Kemba, Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon and Ramon.
Mathew Lewis: Gordon. The Bobcats need shooters and Gordon can do just that, as he’s shot over 40% from behind the arc in 7 of his 8 seasons in the League. Kemba is going to be able to get into the lane. It’s the one aspect of his game he consistently displayed last year. Gordon will provide him a worthy drive and kick target.