The Charlotte Bobcats have a combined total of 28 wins the past two seasons. They recorded a laughable 7-59 win-loss card in the shortened lockout season of 2011-12 and had improved three-fold, though still not very good, to 21-61 the following 2012-13 NBA season.
NBA: Preseason-Charlotte Bobcats at Miami Heat
To put in perspective that seven-win output is WORST record all-time percentage-wise (10.6 per cent). Only the Providence Steam Rollers-- with the Basketball Association of America, the precursor of the NBA—had the worst total output with six wins in 1948.
But if last season’s “slight” improvement was a sign, then the Bobcats are moving in the right direction. The moves they did in this offseason just about confirms that they are done “tanking” this season and beyond.
2013-14 Charlotte Bobcats Projected Depth Chart
PG – Kemba Walker/Ramon Sessions/Jannero Pargo
SG – Gerald Henderson/Ben Gordon
SF – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist/Jeffrey Taylor/James Southerland
PF – Cody Zeller/Josh McRoberts/Anthony Tolliver
C – Al Jefferson/Bismack Biyombo/Brendan Haywood
Why the Jordanaires Will Compete This Season
1. Finally, a BIG Man – In the offseason, the Bobcats splurged on Al Jefferson offering the big man a three-year contract worth around $40.5M. The criticism of Big Al, that he is lazy and ineffective on defense, is valid and legit. However, since 2004 when the franchise the joined the league, Jefferson is the first and only legit option at the post since Walter Hermann played for the franchise.
Jefferson played with the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and Utah Jazz, and he was the cornerstone in the latter two teams. He averaged a career-high of 23.1 points and 11.0 rebounds for the 2008-09 Wolves squad and it's not far-off to think that he'd produce similar numbers as the number one option in Charlotte.
2. Walker and MKG Development – Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will join Jefferson as two of the key pieces in the Bobcats line-up. Walker made great strides in 2012 and averaged 17.7 PPG and 5.7 APG while running the team. MKG, meanwhile, only had averages of 9.0 points and 5.8 last year but is pegged to have a breakout this year. With Jefferson commanding constant double-teams in the middle, the floor opens up for the rest of the Bobcats-- especially for Walker and MKG.
3. A Semblance of Depth – Finally, it appears that the Bobcats can go 8-man deep this conference. And that means eight NBA talent that can compete night-in and night-out. At the wing/guards spots, veteran Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon will provide instant offense off the bench. At the PF/C slots, they have rookie Cody Zeller, who was drafted fourth overall in the most recent NBA Draft and Bismack Biyombo. Both 21-year-olds are known for their hustle and energy—a good complement to the rather slow-footed Jefferson.
Fearless Forecast: In the thick of things in the Eastern Conference early before fading out late… Finishes with a 32-50 record good for 10th in the East. They might even crack an 8th seed if other teams’ key players suffer major injuries—say Cleveland’s Irving misses lots of games again, or Washington’s Wall records many DNP’s. Head coach Steve Clifford will make sure there will be no tanking in his Charlotte stint. The 52-year-old mentor, who has had assistant coaching experiences with the New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers in the 13 years in the league, is expected to lead this rag-tag of Bobcats to respectability this season.
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