5 Players That Could Help Charlotte Bobcats Recover from Last Season
The Charlotte Bobcats 2011-2012 season was somewhat short of spectacular, as they would go onto win just seven of the 66 games they "competed" in.
As we've seen in the past however, one player is capable of turning a franchise around. While the Bobcats hold the second overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft, they also hold a substantial amount of cap room, around $17 million to be exact, that could quickly help the rebuilding process.
These next five players should be on the Bobcats radar, be they free agents, potential draft picks or trade targets.
With so much talent available, even Michael Jordan couldn't mess this up, right?
5. Brook Lopez, C
Attainable Through: Free Agency (Restricted)
Age/Height/Weight: 24, 7'0", 265 pounds
2011-2012 Stats Per Game: 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.8 blocks
Lopez only played five games last season due to two separate injuries to his feet, but has shown throughout his career he was one of the better offensive centers in the league.
The Bobcats should make a nice offer to Lopez, providing that he's healthy, for a number of reasons.
For one, Lopez is only 24 years old, and should have his best years ahead of him. He's used to playing for a poor team in the Nets, which means he'd likely be easier to lure than a player coming off a playoff team.
Lopez and current Bobcats center/power forward Bismack Biyombo have very different skill sets, which would work beautifully together. Lopez is a high-volume scorer with a lot of go-to moves, but doesn't rebound particularly well. Biyombo is as raw as can be offensively, but is an excellent shot-blocker and rebounder.
Starting both together would give the Bobcats a great variety of skill in the paint, and provide them with some much needed scoring.
4. Harrison Barnes, SF and Royce White, PF
Attainable Through: Trade with Cavaliers
Age/Height/Weight: 20, 6'8", 215 pounds and 21, 6'8", 270 pounds
2011-2012 Stats Per Game: 17.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 13.4 points, 9.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists
According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Bobcats "could entertain offers from the Cavs for their pick," which would likely include the Cavs' No. 4 and No. 24 overall pick for the Bobcats No. 2.
This could be an attractive deal for Charlotte if they aren't in love with anyone in the draft not named Anthony Davis.
Trading down two picks to acquire an additional first rounder in a deep draft such as this might be in the best interest for a team so talent starved.
Barnes will likely still be on the board at four and Charlotte should have their choice at the end of the first in players like Royce White, Draymond Green, Andrew Nicholson or others.
While this isn't technically one player who would come in and help, it is one asset used to obtain two quality players, which may be even better.
3. Rudy Gay, SF
Attainable Through: Trade for No. 2 pick
Age/Height/Weight: 25, 6'8", 230 pounds
2011-2012 Stats Per Game: 19.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists
Rudy Gay's name has been floated around for a few seasons now as potential trade bait, but so far nothing has come to fruition.
His newest suitor appears to be the Bobcats, who are desperately searching for a face for the franchise like Gay could be. Charlotte is reportedly interested in possibly dealing the No. 2 pick for Gay, as they want someone who can contribute right away.
Memphis was knocked out of the first round of the playoffs this year by the Los Angeles Clippers, a disappointing early finish for a young team who has a lot of money wrapped up in their core players.
Gay could definitely help Charlotte right away, but I don't feel he's their best option at this point.
2. Thomas Robinson, PF
Attainable Through: Draft with No. 2 pick
Age/Height/Weight: 21, 6'10", 237 pounds
2011-2012 Stats Per Game: 17.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 0.9 blocks
Thomas Robinson is the best draft option for the Charlotte Bobcats, period.
No offense to Bradley Beal or Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, but neither could carry a team on their back like Robinson can.
A beast on the boards, Robinson is a very athletic power forward who has a variety of moves to score in the the low block, and can also rely on his strength to post up opponents to score.
If Charlotte chooses to stay put at No. 2, Robinson needs to be their guy.
1. James Harden, SG
Attainable Through: Trade for No. 2 Pick
Age/Height/Weight: 22, 6'5", 220 pounds
2011-2012 Stats Per Game: 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists
Behind that beautiful beard is a basketball player that can shoot, pass, create for himself and others—all while carrying a team when needed to.
The Bobcats are reportedly very interested in dealing for Harden, if the Thunder feel they won't have the cash to extend both he and Serge Ibaka after already handing out big money to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant.
Harden should be atop the 'Cats wishlist if they do intend to trade the pick, as the Thunder star is still only 22 years old and could help carry Charlotte back to basketball relevance.