Everyone assumes that the Charlotte Bobcats will have the first pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. You know what happens when you assume, right? Let’s just say that the #1 pick is not guaranteed to the Bobcats. For months, all we hear is Anthony Davis as the player who will be “the man” next season. What happens if the Bobcats do not get the #1 pick? Which player(s) should be plan B? First, we have to assess what the Bobcats need.
The Bobcats have two decent point guards in Kemba Walker and D.J. Augustin. Both players are capable of running the team. However, Kemba is more athletic than D.J. D.J.’s experience and savvy will be important to the team’s growth, so he should not be traded or waived. The shooting guard and small forward positions are stacked like pancakes at IHOP on National Pancake Day. Reggie Williams, Gerald Henderson, Matt Carroll, Cory Higgins, Corey Maggette, Jamario Moon, and Derrick Brown play these positions. Although Tyrus Thomas is listed as a power forward, he also plays the small forward position. None of these players stand out as the go-to guy at this position. There will be several shooting guards and small forwards who could make an immediate impact in Charlotte next season. Bradley Beal (Florida), Doron Lamb (Kentucky), Jeremy Lamb (UCONN), Dion Waiters (Syracuse), Tony Wroten (Washington), Austin Rivers (Duke), Williams Buford (Ohio State), and John Jenkins (Vanderbilt) come to mind. The small forward position will have several game changers available such as Harrison Barnes (UNC), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Kentucky), Terrence Jones (Kentucky), Darius Miller (Kentucky), Kris Joseph (Syracuse), Moe Harkless (St. John’s), Royce White (Iowa State), Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt), Chace Stanback (UNLV), and Will Barton (Memphis). On several mock drafts, Brad Beal is emerging as the top shooting guard. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Harrison Barnes are the frontrunners at the small forward position.
This year’s NBA draft will be full of talented power forwards and centers. Many people have already crowned Anthony Davis as the #1 pick. At 6’10” 220 pounds, Davis will most likely be a power forward, though he can also play the center position. Other players to watch include Andre Drummond (UCONN), Jared Sullinger (Ohio State), Thomas Robinson (Kansas), Perry Jones III (Baylor), John Henson (UNC), Festus Ezeli (Vanderbilt), Kevin Jones (West Virginia), Fab Melo (Syracuse), and Draymond Green (Michigan State).
If Charlotte does not get the first pick in the draft, I think that any one of the following players would be a wise pick if they are available: Harrison Barnes, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Andre Drummond, Jared Sullinger, and Thomas Robinson. The first priority of the Bobcats should be the center position. A legitimate rebounder and shot blocker will give the Bobcats presence in the low post. The next priority should be at the small forward position, particularly a player who can score and be a go-to player. The power forward position should be the next top priority.
The Bobcats need a go-to player (Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson, Harrison Barnes, MKG), a shot blocker (Anthony Davis, John Henson, Fab Melo), low post presence (Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger, Thomas Robinson), a pure shooter (John Jenkins, Jeffery Taylor, Chace Stanback), a defensive stopper (MKG, Anthony Davis, Fab Melo), an “energy guy” off the bench (Draymond Green, Royce White), and a leader (Anthony Davis, Thomas Robinson, Draymond Green, MKG, Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger). Once the Bobcats find an identity, rather choose an identity, then they can move forward. Before they make any picks though, they need a coach who will usher in their new vision.