As the 2011 NBA draft approached the Bobcats seemed as if they were mulling over just a few prospects that seemed to have very similar skill sets, Charlotte was seemingly trying to make the safe/best value pick. 5:00 pm arrived and everything changed rapidly.
Charlotte was able to unload the contract of Stephen Jackson to Milwaukee along with Shaun Livingston in exchange for Sacaramento’s #7 overall pick in an obvious attempt to officially commit this draft, and probably more to come, to start rebuilding for the future. The Bobcats received Corey Maggette along with the #7 pick from Milwaukee in the three team trade. The trade also included John Salmons and the #10 pick being sent to Sacramento for Beno Udrich.
The Bobcats mindset changed drastically as they prepared to now select twice in the top 10 of the draft. Many sources throughout the day reported that Charlotte was in love with Tristan Thompson and wanted to find a way to get him, hence moving up to get the #7 pick. That wasn’t enough as Cleveland grabbed Thompson at #4. Tristan had been a workout freak throughout the days leading up to the draft and his stock continued to skyrocket and the Bobcats were obviously not the only team to fall in love with the 20 year old’s potential.
Charlotte probably wasn’t taken back too much when Thompson was taken by the Cavs’ at #4, and they had a back-up plan. His name is Bismack Biyombo, the 6’9 18 year old sensation from the Congo. There is good and bad news about Biyombo’s potential; he could possibly have one of the highest ceiling’s of any player in the draft, but yet is also being predicted as one of the biggest bust. I predicted Biyombo just this past week on a ESPN 5-on-5 piece to be the biggest bust of the draft. There is reason to be optimistic about this pick though, why? Well, first off he’s only 18 years of age and has more than enough time to mature, and secondly he’s thought by most all experts that follow NBA prospects to be an immediate impact on the defensive end in the NBA. Bottom line is that Biyombo defiantly does some things very well that should translate in some fashion to the NBA, but he is still extremely raw in many areas, especially offensively, and has a long way to go.
Charlotte got risky as I was hoping with the 9th pick and selected Kemba Walker. Walker will enter the Bobcats organization as the type of player who has shown that he can do just about anything offensively with the ball in his hands. The transition phase for Walker will be attempting to transform into a true point guard in the NBA. Kemba was viewed by most in the draft as a combo 1/2 guard which means that his skill set is a mix between a PG/SG. This mix in skill set can be very difficult to predict in the NBA, especially when you’re an undersized player like Kemba at 6’1, but Kemba showed enough brilliance in his days at UConn to be considered a top prospect. Kemba will without a doubt be put into a situation in Charlotte where he can have the ball in his hands with plenty of opportunities to score, and don’t be surprised if you see Augustin and Walker on the court at the same time, a lot of time. Don’t let the combo guard title fool you though, Walker will be expected to run the PG position and back-up Augustin. Learning to become a true PG is where Kemba will go through the toughest growing phase on the next level and learn his true role in the NBA, which will be a learning period for not only himself, but the coaching staff as well as they will have to find where Walker fits the best. Kemba Walker may very well be the most naturally talented player in this draft, now it’s just a matter of finding out whether or not that talent can translate to the vigorous in’s-and-out’s of the NBA.
The dust has settled on all this draft madness, I feel like I just finished taking the SAT, and it’s time to move along with preparing for next season (if we have one, that is). Biyombo and Walker are without a doubt the most positive building blocks Charlotte has ever come out of an NBA draft with up to this point in their franchise history, now what will be done with them to take the Jordan owned Bobcats to the competitive level that Michael so thirst to get them to?