The Bobcats have completed the 2012-2013 regular season and as the dust begins to settle it appears as if Charlotte took no steps backwards, but likely made some slight ground on the rebuilding process. Next stop — June 27th draft.
Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Bismack Biyombo and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is pretty much how a future is defined in Charlotte currently and every single one of these guys got better this season. Kemba (18.86 PER) improved his shooting percentages drastically from one season ago(36.6% FG to 42.3%). Hendo (16.48 PER) became a different guy after the all-star break — 18.9 PPG on 46.2% shooting. Oh, and he added a 3-point shot this season. Biz (10.07 PER), well his improvement is tougher to put your finger on, but he’s also still only 20 years old. He had just two more double-doubles from a season ago and his shooting numbers actually got slightly worse — -.013 FG% & -0.4 PPG. That being said, Biz’ production on the glass improved slightly — +1.5 RPG & +0.6 Off. RPG. MKG (14.04 PER) had a typical rookie season on a bad team and I’m going to pretty much leave it at that — look, it’s clear to us all that his jump shot has a long way to go, but he’s without question going to be an elite defender (learning how to defend in NBA) and is explosive in open floor + at the rim.
Now that I’ve given you just the slightest of proof into the steps forward for the Bobcats on the court, let’s have a look at what might the team do in this summer’s draft. The season finale win over Cleveland was actually far more significant than many may have thought — it stole the best lottery odds away from Charlotte and made them the slight underdog to the Orlando Magic. Assuming, for the sake of example, that the Bobcats do end up with the number two pick in the draft, they’ll have an interesting decision to make. There’s no clear cut franchise player in this summer’s draft and we’ve been hearing that for awhile, but that doesn’t mean that Charlotte can afford to blow it either. This draft screams to me the opportunity for the Bobcats to go get another player who fits the ‘High motor/High character’ mold of what Cho is looking for — Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Ben McLemore & Alex Len are some names that come to mind. And again, I’m trying to decipher who the high character players are in this draft. Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart & Jabari Parker (just to name a few) will all be there in 2014 and all have the capability to be superstars in the NBA — needless to say, don’t break your back trying to figure out the ‘best talent’ available to you this summer — get the player who’s going to come in and continue to improve the culture you’re trying to build if you’re Rich Cho and Mike Dunlap.
Victor Oladipo (6’5, 214 lbs.)– This is my pick if I’m Rich Cho and sitting with the #2 pick on June 27th. Oladipo has everything that I’d want in a SG — extremely athletic, elite defender, tough, EXTREMELY HIGH MOTOR, above average rebounder. His biggest knock is his jump shot and carelessness when putting the ball on the floor from time-to-time. Oladipo would put another elite defender on the floor to go beside MKG and aid in shading Kemba’s defensive deficiencies. Mostly, I like the idea of the Bobcats getting another player who has the mentality of killing himself in the gym everyday in order to make everything around him better. I certainly don’t know Victor personally, but when you watched the kid go 100 MPH every play on the floor at Indiana and hear the rumors of him being an extremely hard worker — well, it certainly seems like a very good fit for the culture remodeling in Charlotte.
Tom Crean made a comment this past season that Oladipo had improved as much over one season as much as he’d seen any player do since he’d been in coaching.
Dick Vitale — “That’s a mini version of number twenty-three (Jordan)!” Comment made during the Michigan game @ Indiana this past season.
I’ve heard the Dwayne Wade comparison made and I’d agree that’d be a best-case scenario for Oladipo in the league. The athleticism, explosiveness at the rim, wingspan for his size and quickness all resemble Wade’. His instincts in transition are what bring the biggest smile to my face — I just imagine some of the highlights than Oladipo and Kemba will have.
Here’s Oladipo’s DraftExpress scouting video —