JEFFERSON ANKLE SPRAIN
Al Jefferson sprained his right ankle during the Bobcats loss to the Miami Heat Friday. Jefferson contested a Chris Bosh jump shot during the third quarter and landed awkwardly on his ankle. He was seen on crutches in a walking boot in Milwaukee Saturday and is targeting the team’s season opener in Houston for his return.
Jefferson’s injury hopefully isn’t too serious. The Bobcats have already lost Brendan Haywood for at least three months to a left foot stress fracture. Haywood and Jefferson are the team’s biggest bodies and could put the Bobcats at a size deficiency. Bismack Biyombo started in Jefferson’s absence against the Milwaukee Bucks and pulled 21 rebounds in addition to 9 points.
The Bobcats can’t be too careful with Jefferson’s injury; the team invested a lot of money into him and he’s a focus of their new offensive attack. Jefferson has been very durable over the past four seasons, missing only 14 games.
ANOTHER BIG MAN?
With injuries to Jefferson and Haywood, it’s logical the Bobcats could be in the market for an experienced big man.
Internal options like Patrick O’Bryant and Jeff Adrien will continue to get looks, though neither are preferrable. There are free agents to consider like Drew Gooden, Kurt Thomas, Troy Murphy and former Bobcat Hakim Warrick.
If the Bobcats decide just to keep what they have, it would likely result in more minutes for Biyombo and Josh McRoberts.
THE STRUGGLES OF MICHAEL KIDD-GILCHRIST
The second year development of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is the key to the Bobcats overall improvement this season. The team knows Kidd-Gilchrist can defend and rebound at an exceptional level, but the former Kentucky Wildcat’s offense is a questionmark.
So far, Kidd-Gilchrist looks lost offensively. He’s been encouraged to take shots; the team can live with his misses for now. If he’s not shooting, the offense is likely to get more stagnant and resemble the shot clock violation marathon it was last season.
Kidd-Gilchrist likely will never be a knockdown shooter; his mechanics won’t allow it. The offense shouldn’t encourage him to be like Danilo Gallinari or Klay Thompson. The Bobcats have to work with what they have and get Kidd-Gilchrist to become consistent with the form he has (of course with a few adjustments).
Joakim Noah and Shawn Marion come to mind as players who you shouldn’t encourage your kids to shoot like, but they make what they’re given. If Kidd-Gilchrist is going to keep the defense honest, repetition will be his saving grace.
WHERE’S THE THREE-POINT SHOT?
Speaking of shooting, one issue to watch in the upcoming season is the Bobcats three-point shooting; they were 27th in three-point makes and percentage last season. The starting lineup features no reliable three point shooters.
Kemba Walker had the most makes out of starters last season with 107, but made them at a 32% clip. The team is hoping for internal improvement from distance to space the floor for Jefferson’s low post scoring.
While preseason stats are ultimately meaningless, the Bobcats starting lineup has only made two threes through three games. In comparison, the reserves have 16 threes. The Bobcats offense is going to be at a disadvantage if the team’s best shooters aren’t playing a lot of minutes.