Charlotte Bobcats: Options If They Trade Down for Picks
First of all, let me say this—I'm still not sold on this trade.
Cleveland gets the No. 2 pick in the draft, and presumably Bradley Beal to play beside Kyrie Irving for an extremely dynamic backcourt.
Charlotte gets the No. 4, No. 24, and possibly Cleveland's 33rd and/or 34th picks in the second round.
There are so many options here, the writing an article almost seems preposterous, especially considering the amount of scouting time the Bobcats have spent and continue to spend to make this decision, but I'm going to take a look at a few of the options they have to decide among.
Pick No. 4
Thomas Robinson is simply the second best player in this draft. He will immediately contribute to the Bobcats in the form of double-double type averages, and he is a player to build around. But the Wizards know this, and I am going to write this slide assuming T-Rob is gone by the Bobcats' selection.
The obvious two options otherwise are MKG and Harrison Barnes, and I'm going to share my thoughts about both and who I'd rather have on the team.
MKG's stock has been fluctuating as wildly as anyone in this draft class. From the sure-fire No. 2, to possibly falling out of the top 5, MKG has been evaluated to death.
It seems that most of what MKG could bring to the Bobcats would be his intangibles and his defense in his first year or first few years. He has a non-stop motor, is great in transition (which will work well in new head coach Mike Dunlap's up-tempo offense), is a tenacious defender and rebounds very well for his size. His offensive game is relatively one-dimensional, though, driving to the rim for the layups or dunks.
He needs to develop a jumper, and he needs to be prepared to take more shots. He is considered the second best prospect from the Kentucky Wildcats in this draft this year (behind obvious No. 1 pick Anthony Davis), and somehow he was seventh on the team in field goals attempted per minute. He shot .491 from the field, but again, it was his very one-dimensional, driving style of offense.
He averaged 11.8 PPG this season at Kentucky, and that number is going to have to go up in the NBA. He has the potential versatility to become the next Gerald Wallace, and that's what the Bobcats will be banking on if they draft him.
Barnes has more of the "go-to" potential that most people think of when they think high-lottery draft pick. He has a good mid-range jumper, can shoot from behind the arc, has an inch on MKG and is very long, with a seven-foot wingspan. Barnes averaged .440 from the field and .358 from behind the arc, averaging 17.4 PPG.
The problem with Barnes is that, as far as post-game goes, he doesn't really have any. He'd play SF in Charlotte, and he is not as good of a rebounder as MKG, doesn't play as good on defense and isn't capable of creating options for himself—something he's going to need to do with limited tapped talent in Charlotte.
Athletically, Barnes' stock rose in the combine. He performed very well and impressed many scouts, and the Charlotte Bobcats are reportedly in love with him after his workout with the team. He has a ton of potential, could be an elite scorer in the NBA and has a great frame for a SF; he just has to use it to be more physical in the post-game.
Who should they take?
If Robinson isn't available, I would gamble on MKG. His defense will be key in helping the Bobcats on the other end of the court as well, as the Bobcats were woeful both offensively and defensively. If the Bobcats can train him up and get him ready to play NBA-style basketball, we could be looking at the type of player you want to build a franchise around because of his play, his heart, his constant effort and his character.
Pick No. 24
The biggest thing the Bobcats need outside of a cornerstone franchise player in this draft is shooting. Harrison Barnes is a decent outside shooter, and Kemba Walker could be one day, but right now the Bobcats don't have a legitimate shooter from outside of the arc.
As ridiculous as this sounds, since he is considered a late first-rounder to early second-rounder (meaning the Bobcats could get him with the 31st pick), I think they have to take John Jenkins of Vanderbilt with this pick to ensure they get him.
I'm not going to mince words here. Bradley Beal's stock shot up in this draft because of his jump shot, outside shooting skills and excellent athleticism. He has ability to lead a team. I'm not going to say Jenkins has all of the other things, but his jump shot is better than Beal's. It's probably better than anyone else in this draft.
A lot of fuss is being made about his overall athleticism and the fact that he will become a shooting specialist in the NBA, not capable of much outside of scoring. His stats at Vandy suggest that he is a pure scorer, but let's take a look at these ridiculous numbers.
In 2011-12 he averaged 19.9 PPG, .474 FG%, .439 3P% for the Commodores. He only averaged 2.8 RPG and 1.1 APG, which is why so many believe he is just a pure shooter, but that's exactly what the Bobcats need coming off the bench.
The Bobcats can't run the risk of losing out on Jenkins by trying to wait to draft him at 31. They will still get a valuable pick that late, but John Jenkins could emerge as the steal of this draft, and he has star-power driving his jumper.
Aside from Jenkins, the Bobcats could go for more size. If Perry Jones III somehow manages to slip all the way to 24, this entire slide is moot, as they should choose him over Jenkins. But I seriously doubt PJ3 is making it that far in the draft. Jenkins is the best shooter in this draft, but PJ3 is an absolutely freakish athlete with an unimaginably high ceiling.
But that likely won't happy. Drafting Jenkins will be considered a reach by the 'Cats, but it will pay off in the end.
Picks No. 31, 33, 34
At this point on the big board, things are out of control and impossible to predict. Stock can soar, players can randomly attract teams, and things happen in the first round that surprise everyone.
So I'll talk about a few players that could be left on the board at this point and how they can help Charlotte.
First of all, if the Bobcats choose to pass John Jenkins at 24 and he is still there at 31, they would be foolish to pass him up at that point. I've already talked about him, so we'll talk about a few other players instead.
English is the backup plan if the Bobcats screw up by not getting Jenkins. He has an excellent jump shot and could provide valuable minutes off the bench right from the start. He averaged a ridiculous .521 from the field (as a guard) and shot .459 from behind the arc, which are even better numbers than Jenkins. He has two inches on Jenkins and could be used as a hybrid SG/SF.
I think the 'Cats should draft him even if they get Jenkins. Another huge steal.
The Bobcats also need size on their roster, and since we've gone small so far in the draft up to this point (assuming MKG, John Jenkins, Kim English), the 'Cats would be wise to take a look at the Turkish Furkan Aldemir.
With Galatasaray in the Turkish Basketball League, Aldemir averaged 8.5 PPG and 6.9 RPG in 21 MPG. He's only 20 years old, and at 2011's U-20 European Championship, he averaged 14.8 PPG, 15.9 RBG and 1.7 BPG.
He's relatively unproven, but the TBL has some talent. And at the 33rd or 34th pick, going for high-ceiling size is not a bad thing, considering the fact that the Bobcats are a fairly small team. He could be a project pick, but eventually a real steal in the draft.
Cunningham, another shoot-first guard at 6'4" is slotted to be the Bobcats 31st pick on NBAdraft.net. Cunningham, unlike both Jenkins and English, however, has excellent athletic abilities and has the best shot at making it out of role-player status.
A good shooter and an excellent defender, I would actually be really surprised if he made it all the way to the second round for the Bobcats to select. He could become a very good shooting guard in the league one day, and his athleticism and potential are extremely intriguing.
Taylor was Jenkins' teammate at Vanderbilt for three years, and drafting him to come off the bench with Jenkins in games could provide some interesting chemistry.
I'm not really sure why Taylor has fallen so far in the draft because he is probably the best overall player on this slide. He is 6'7" and averaged 16.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 1.8 APG in his final year at Vandy.
I think many are concerned about his height to be a SF. Six-foot-seven is kind of tweener territory between SG and SF, but Taylor plays fully like a SF.
I've watched several scouting videos for Taylor (and every player on this list), and I can honestly say he's a gifted athlete who could come off the bench behind MKG and provide much the same type of presence. I doubt Taylor will ever be an elite scorer in the league, but he excels defensively and can rebound, and pairing him with Jenkins might not be such a bad idea. He's a low-risk pick with a high upside for a pick in the high 30s.
(Note: I know I talked about four players on this slide for a maximum of three draft spots, but this was more of just an evaluation on who could be available at this time.)
My Hopeful Charlotte Mock Draft
On this slide I'm going to abandon some of what I said in my previous slides about the fourth overall pick and just nail down what I want to happen if the Bobcats trade down. I will assume we get the No. 4, No. 24 and No. 33 draft picks from Cleveland, leaving the Cavs with No. 2 and No. 34.
This is me being very optimistic, hoping with all my heart that the Washington Wizards take either MKG or Barnes and leave T-Rob for the Bobcats, which is still very much a possibility. I say there's about a 50 percent chance.
No. 4: Thomas Robinson
No. 24: Perry Jones III
No. 31: John Jenkins
No. 33: Jeffrey Taylor
This the best possible scenario for the Bobcats in the draft in my opinion. There are players I listed that I like and are obviously not included; I just wanted to take a look at the types of players we could get for trading with the Cavs on picks.
This above mock draft fills some serious holes in the Bobcats roster, and it adds depth. All of the late picks have potential to be everyday players and even starters. This is a very deep draft, and the Bobcats have a real chance to add a ton of talent and depth for Mike Dunlap to work with.