Let me say this: I don't think the Bobcats maximized their opportunities in this draft. I think the trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, in which they would have acquired the fourth, 24th, and 33rd pick for their second and 31st pick was too good to pass up, but they did anyway.
But still, I sit here a happy man. Giddy, even.
My friends reading this, and anyone who has read my articles (delusions of grandeur, anyone?), will know that I've been extremely high on Thomas Robinson, and not exactly too high on MKG. T-Rob is going to compete for Rookie of the Year this year. He is the most NBA-ready player in the draft and likely will average nearly a double-double in his first season.
MKG... well, MKG isn't going to do any of those things.
He's going to be the swingman for the Bobcats, and he's effectively going to open up other players on the court. MKG isn't the most versatile scorer in the game, relying primarily on driving to the rim and put-backs. With the Kentucky Wildcats, he was seventh on the team in FG's attempted per minute, so he doesn't shoot as much either.
Unselfish or just not a scorer, either way, he's not going to score much in Charlotte next year. Maybe 12 to 13 points per game with six to seven rebounds per game. But, he is highly capable, and could even be an elite rebounder for his position. He is excellent in transition, he has excellent speed, length and plays taller than his 6'7" frame would indicate.
Most of his contributions, however, will come with his tenacious defense and his intangibles. His drive to get better will be infectious to the team, and he's been referred to as a dream to coach. The more I think about it, the more content I am with adding MKG, even if it was over T-Rob.
Kidd-Gilchrist doesn't even turn 19 until September, so he also has a lot of time to improve, and might not even be done growing and adding muscle.
I also love Jeffery Taylor as the 31st pick. He fills the same type of hole that MKG does (both are 6'7" forwards), but Taylor has a better jump shot. He's not as fast as MKG, doesn't carry the types of intangibles and isn't as good in transition, but he's still an excellent forward and he'll be valuable off the bench right from the start for the Bobcats.
I was pretty surprised he actually fell to the Bobcats at 31st, for he is truly a great athlete. He has a lot of defensive upside, and I think the Bobcats got a steal with Taylor at No. 31, despite having already filled their SF hole with MKG.
Bobcats General Manager Rich Cho is of the school of thought that you draft based off of talent, not need, and Taylor was simply the best player on the board at that point.
The surprising addition of Ben Gordon gives the Bobcats a great shooter, something they desperately need after finishing last in the league in three-point percentage last year. Gordon was used as a sixth man in Detroit last year, and probably will be used as the sixth man in Charlotte as well.
So where does that leave the Bobcats?
Well for one, they have cap space, and they need to use it on a center. I'm anticipating the team using their amnesty clause on Tyrus Thomas, and that essentially leaves us with Byron Mullens and DeSagana Diop to play center.
Mullens is 7'0" tall, but plays like an SF, and rebounds like one too. He is not effective in the paint, but he's a good scorer who would be great off the bench. Diop is just useless, so I won't even talk about him, other than to say he's about as useful as my broken foot right now.
Chris Kaman is the most attractive unrestricted free agent, and if the Bobcats could convince him of this young team's potential, they have a shot at him. Marcus Camby is also a possibility, though a less glamorous one. There are trade options too, including possible signings and trades involving DJ Augustin and future picks, but something needs to be done to fill that hole.
The long and short of it is this: The Bobcats have gotten better.
The team is incredibly young, and the talent and potential is all there. I'm a really big fan of Gerald Henderson, and I think he's going to contribute around 20 PPG this season, especially alongside an improved Kemba Walker and an effective swingman in MKG.
There are still holes, but Rich Cho did a great job with this draft by adding depth at a position in which the Bobcats had essentially no one to play after trading Corey Maggette, not that Maggette would have played much anyway.
As a Charlotte Bobcats fan, I'm happy tonight.
You don't hear that too often.