Josh McRoberts is the Charlotte Bobcats starting power forward. No Bobcats fan could have imagined this reality in the offseason.
Snce being acquired from the Orlando Magic at the NBA’s Trade Deadline, McRoberts has played his way into the heart of head coach Mike Dunlap and stuffed statsheets in Bobcats losses. In 11 games with Charlotte McRoberts is averaging 6.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists and a steal in a little over 23 minutes. His 14.8 player efficiency rating is the highest since playing for the Indiana Pacers in 2010-11.
McRoberts play is an entertaining sideshow while the ship sinks on another Bobcats regular season. McRoberts, 25, is young enough to be a holdover for next season. His activity on both sides of the ball has been a welcome addition. Lost in his hustle, is how athletic he is at 6’10-6’11. McRoberts has already delivered some crowd pleasing dunks in Time Warner Cable Arena.
Ultimately, Dunlap’s decision to testdrive McRoberts in the starting lineup shows the desperation of the Bobcats.
Byron Mullens has started the most games at power forward for Charlotte this season. Mullens back injury might be the main factor in his recent demotion. However, Mullens hasn’t made the most out of this season and statistically hasn’t improved despite adding a shaky three-point shot in the offseason. With Mullens slated to hit restricted free agency in the summer, it’s questionable whether he’ll return next season.
Jeff Adrien started five games this season. Adrien’s a useful rebounder and grinder off the bench, but isn’t a solution as a starter. Even Hakim Warrick, who the Bobcats traded to acquire McRoberts, started 14 games in place of an injured Mullens. Tyrus Thomas, the Bobcats highest paid power forward, started two games this season. Thomas was active this week for a change, but the writing is on the wall for the end of his Charlotte tenure.
The struggles and questionmarks of the Bobcats has been beaten endlessly. To Charlotte’s credit they’ve found new ways to highlight the biggest flaw of this team. McRoberts bandaid production is appreciated, but his insertion into the starting lineup further emphasizes the Bobcats biggest need in the offseason: a legitimate NBA starting power forward.
For all his energy and hustle, McRoberts is not that. Nor is any other player on the roster.