Roughly 30 percent of the way into the NBA season, I believe its fair to grade the Charlotte Bobcats and analyze their development in 2012/13.
Over the coming days, Roberto Gato will grade the primary contributors from Charlotte’s frontcourt and backcourt, as well its rookies and newcomers, and head coach Mike Dunlap.
Today, the frontcourt will face the music.
Byron Mullens: C+
Seven-feet-of-smooth has been somewhat of an enigma this year; He’s been given a green light to launch shots despite his less-than-mediocre shooting and three-point percentages, but he’s averaging close to a double-double in the Bobcats’ seven wins, and he’s averaging more than seven rebounds overall on a team that doesn’t have many great rebounders. It’s Mullens’ performance in Charlotte losses that kept him from a better grade; When the ‘Cats fall, he’s almost invisible on the court, averaging just 11 points and less than seven rebounds, to along with less than one block and one steal.
Brendan Haywood: C
I’m not sure why his minutes have declined so much since the beginning of the season. He’s a decent rebounder and defender, and he doesn’t take stupid shots. Still, there has to be a reason for the decline in playing time. Maybe he’s out of shape. Perhaps he hasn’t learned the concepts of Mike Dunlap’s offense and defense. Whatever it is, he needs to get it figured out, because this team needs him to be able to play extended minutes.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: B+
By all accounts, Kidd-Gilchrist has lessened the pain Bobcats fans felt after being denied the opportunity to draft Anthony Davis number one. He’s fun to watch, he’s already a more-than-serviceable NBA defender, and his offensive game is not as limited as some said heading into the draft. He’s second on the team in rebounds, and he stuffs the stat sheet every night. If MKG could convert more of his transition baskets and half-court slashes to the rim, he’d be sitting at an A right now.
Jeff Taylor: C+
I love Taylor. I wanted him to fall to Charlotte in the second round on draft night, and when he did I was estatic. Just because he has a slightly above average grade does not mean he’s having a bad year. His shooting percentage is not where it needs to be, but he was a great shooter in college, so that number should go up over the long haul, which means his 7.8 points per game should go up as well.
Bismack Biyombo: C-
I really wanted to see some development from Biyombo in his sophomore season. He’s been in and out of the rotation as far as minutes go this year, so that might have something to do with things. Still, he’s averaging more minutes per game this season, but less points, a tiny bit less blocks and less assists. He is shooting at a higher percentage than last season, and grabbing a few more rebounds, but the problems that haunted him last year are still bugging him this season; He can’t catch the ball on the run inside the paint, he jumps at too many pump fakes, and he gets into foul trouble far too often.
The rest of the group:
Tyrus Thomas: D It’d be an F, but just in case any league executives read this blog to get their Bobcats news and scouting information, I don’t want them to think he’s had a truly horrible year, so they can still trade for him.
Gana Diop: D+ If there’s anyone on this Bobcats team I like less than Byron Mullens, it’s Diop. He’s filled in admirably when he’s played, though… Which hasn’t been often.
Hakim Warrick: D+ He doesn’t play that much, mostly because the Bobcats have a bunch of frontcourt players, and partly because most of those guys are better than him.
Reggie Williams: C He probably saw the writing on the wall when Charlotte drafted two small forwards this season. Still, when he’s played, he hasn’t been bad.
Jeff Adrien: NA I haven’t watched him play much, but I’m glad the Bobcats took a flier on him instead of paying someone a ton of money to sit on the bench like he does.