It’s two days until the draft, so let’s take a quick peek around the internet and see what’s up. First, here’s what a few leading sites predict for the Bobcats:
ESPN’s Chad Ford projects Charlotte to take Anthony Bennett:
This one sounds like it’s coming down to a showdown between Bennett and Alex Len. Either player would give Charlotte’s front line a much-needed scoring boost. The Bobcats have Bismack Biyombo as a defensive presence but not a lot else. Also, don’t totally write off Cody Zeller here. I hear he’s a dark horse.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress predicts the Bobcats will select Alex Len:
With little separation between the top prospects at this stage, the Bobcats have reportedly honed in on attempting to fill a major need at the center position in 7-1 Alex Len. The Maryland product is a skilled and highly athletic big man who may have the most upside of any player in this draft. This pick will certainly be up for grabs as we’re likely looking at a situation similar to last year where no one really knew which direction Charlotte was leaning in until the pick was actually made.
David Aldridge at NBA.com also makes the argument for Anthony Bennett:
Don’t overthink this: Last season, only one team scored fewer points a game than Charlotte (93.4), was DFL in the league in field goal percentage (.425) and lost games by an NBA-worst average of 9.2 ppg. The Bobcats need somebody who can put the ball in the basket. Bennett may be a ‘tweener, but he has explosive offensive potential no matter where he plays. Bennett and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist would have serious potential as a forward duo, each complementing the other’s weaknesses.
Matt Moore’s mock draft at CBS Sports is a bit of an outlier — he has Rudy Gobert being taken ahead of Alex Len, for example. For the Bobcats, however, he’s also leaning towards Bennett. It seems like a consensus might be starting to form:
Bennett’s value is dropping but you have to still like him here for the Cats. They don’t need a project center, they need someone in this draft to provide legitimate contributions on the floor, and they’re especially hurting for a power forward who can score.
Now, for some links:
— Queen City Hoops put together a pre-draft roundtable on our predictions, possible trades, and the best player in the draft. We didn’t agree on much, which is probably both a good and bad thing. On the one hand, that means Charlotte has plenty of viable options. On the other hand, it’s hard to shake the feeling this draft will be more of a crapshoot than usual.
— Rick Bonnell at The Charlotte Observer, as usual, has been doing some stellar work over the past week. He’s touched on the uncertainty of this draft, the path forward for the franchise, and the upcoming free agency period, among other topics.
— Chad Ford and Marc Stein have a rumor round-up this morning at ESPN. Most interesting to Charlotte is that the Timberwolves could be interested in trading Derrick Williams and the No. 9 and No. 26 picks for a shot at Victor Oladipo. Which would you prefer: one of Alex Len, Nerlens Noel or Victor Oladipo, or the hypothetical combo of Derrick Williams, Steven Adams and Tim Hardaway Jr.?
— Ben Swanson at Rufus on Fire wrote about the team’s ongoing culture change, and how their choice in the draft will reflect that. He’s not a fan of Bennett.
— Sports Illustrated has one of those articles featuring observations from an anonymous scout. An interesting read, if you go in with the understanding that it’s just one man’s opinion.
— Joe Kotoch at Sheridan Sports writes that “I can say with 100 percent confidence that if the draft were held today, the Cavaliers would select Alex Len with the top pick.” There are a number of other little tidbits in there, so it’s worth a read.
— Kevin Pelton uses WARP projections to grade out the 2013 draft class. He comes to some interesting conclusions, notably ranking Ben McLemore, Alex Len and Victor Oladipo much lower than most.