Skip to content

ProBasketballTalk 2013-14 Preview: The Charlotte Bobcats

Oct 2, 2013, 8:44 AM EDT

Al Jefferson AP

Last season: Remember when the Bobcats started the season out 7-5 and we all kind of did a double take? That really happened, there was a moment where we wondered if this team wasn’t as terrible as we all thought. Then reality hit. The Bobcats went 14-56 the rest of the season. Charlotte had the worst defense in the NBA (allowing 108.9 points per 100 possessions) and their 28th in the league offense wasn’t going to make up for that. It was ugly.

Signature highlight from last season: Byron Mullens throws it down all over LaMarcus Aldridge (in a highlight that starts in a very Bobcats way).

Key player changes: Charlotte has been terrible for five straight years, so with the best, deepest draft in a decade next year they will continue that trend to finally get rewarded, right?

Wrong. Charlotte signed Al Jefferson to a three-year, $40 million deal (the third year is a player option). This is clearly the biggest free agent signing in the Bobcats short and turbulent history. I personally like this signing because Jefferson is a guy they can sell makes them better… but not that much better. Not out of the lottery better.

The Bobcats drafted Cody Zeller at No. 4, and while that had a few of us shaking our heads at the time Zeller showed a good outside game for a big at Summer League, he could be a stretch four to balance Jefferson on the block. Anthony Tolliver was added as a free agent.

As for guys who are gone Byron Mullens left for the Clippers, Tyrus Thomas got amnestied and Reggie Williams is now with the Rockets.

One other key change: Mike Dunlap is out as coach and Steve Clifford is in.

Keys to the Bobcats season:

Can Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist develop more reliable jumpers?

Charlotte’s offense will not be a complete abomination this season, the addition of the rock-solid Jefferson in the post guarantees that. But with him in the post they need to space the floor — Ben Gordon helps with that and Gerald Henderson has his moments. However that is not going to be enough. It will take the two most athletic Bobcats — Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — knocking down jumpers consistently to make the other team pay for packing it in or doubling Jefferson on the block.

Walker is the guy with the ball in his hands and he made some big strides forward last season, but he needs to make more. He can be a very creative playmaker, an underrated one, but he needs to be able to stretch the floor with better shooting from three. Last season he took most of his threes from above the arc and hit just 33 percent of them, that number needs to go up.

Kidd-Gilchrist had the ugliest jumper in the NBA and has worked with Mark Price to correct it. The fact is for all the intangible things he does right he doesn’t have the handles to create looks and he shot 29.6 percent from the midrange. He has to improve that number, if not Jeff Taylor looked good at Summer League.

Can the Bobcats stop anyone?

Charlotte had the worst defense in the NBA last season, and now they added Al Jefferson as a cornerstone — a guy who admits he’s not very good at defense. Their defense could be on a course to get worse, which will stymie any progress the offense makes. This is where new coach Steve Clifford is going to have to earn his money. He has to put in a system then get his team to fully buy in, otherwise Charlotte will play matador defense all night. The Bobcats have a couple good defenders on the roster — Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo — but this has to be a team effort.

Frankly, it’s hard to expect much improvement.

Why you should watch Bobcats: Because it’s the last season ever of the Bobcats — next season they are rightfully the Hornets again. Those Bobcats unis will be collectors items (just not in Charlotte where the fan base hates the name). Charlotte also has some good young players who could blossom — Zeller, Walker, Kidd-Gilchrist, Taylor — and this will be your last chance to see any of them in a Bobcats uniform.

Prediction: 31-51. That’s a 10-game improvement over last season — their offense will improve but it can’t make up for that defense — but one that leaves them still comfortably in the lottery (just with not as good of odds as Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Utah most likely).

Latest Posts
  1. Larry Brown on Sixers tanking/rebuilding: “It makes me sick”

    Oct 30, 2014, 7:42 PM EDT

    Larry Brown Larry Brown

    The Sixers CEO fired back, but taking on a Hall of Fame coach isn’t usually wise.

  2. J.R. Smith hints Knicks quit vs. Bulls, Phil Jackson says team not ready for “Showtime”

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:55 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks

    It’s going to be a rough transition for the Knicks. New Yorkers have to be patient (not always their strong suit).

  3. Report: Cavaliers, Anderson Varejao near three-year, $30 million extension

    Oct 30, 2014, 6:15 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    It’s a sign Dan Gilbert is pulling out the checkbook to spend.

  4. Ty Lawson tells a(n obviously great) JaVale McGee story

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets Media Day Denver Nuggets Media Day

    The time the Nuggets center responded to a heckler

  5. Report: ‘Sense of optimism’ Tristan Thompson will sign contract extension with Cavaliers

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:11 PM EDT

    Tristan Thompson, Mike Conley Tristan Thompson, Mike Conley

    Cleveland, as of a few days ago, reportedly hadn’t begun negotiations with Thompson

  6. LeBron makes emotional return to Cleveland tonight, new Nike ad shows city standing together (VIDEO)

    Oct 30, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers Getty Images

    The season is about process for the Cavaliers, but tonight is about celebration of home.

  7. Pau Gasol: Marc Gasol signing with the Knicks is ‘possible’

    Oct 30, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Bulls center has discussed Phil Jackson with his younger brother

  8. Dominant Pau Gasol shows he may be a perfect fit for Bulls

    Oct 30, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Pau Gasol Pau Gasol

    Gasol was dominant opening night, and Derrick Rose is thrilled to finally have some help.

  9. Klay Thompson becomes eligible for higher qualifying offer

    Oct 30, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    Ben McLemore, Klay Thompson Ben McLemore, Klay Thompson

    Warriors shooting guard met starter criteria in game against Kings

Featured video

The list of championship contenders
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. B. Beal (7885)
  2. K. McDaniels (7169)
  3. K. Durant (6978)
  4. R. Rondo (6723)
  5. B. Lopez (6203)