Charlotte Bobcats: Three Fringe Players Who May Make Regular Season Roster
The Charlotte Bobcats are doing OK for themselves this offseason. And I say that with the knowledge that they will still probably be one of, if not the league's worst team again this season. However, the additions (and subtractions) they've made this offseason should help to improve one of the worst professional teams in modern sports history.
The Bobcats have added five players this offseason that will likely contribute in big ways right from the beginning. It started with trading SF Corey Maggette for SG Ben Gordon and a first round pick. The team then added two younger, better small forwards than Maggette in the draft with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at No. 2 overall and Jeffery Taylor at No. 31 overall. They then acquired a solid point guard in Ramon Sessions as a free agent and claimed the 7'0" center Brendan Haywood off of Waivers.
All of these moves dramatically improved the Bobcats roster and gave them depth and options at pretty much every position.
That being said, the team is still weak in a few key areas, and after the completion of their Summer League schedule, there may be a few players getting hard looks from the organization to make the roster for the regular season.
1: Othello Hunter
With the retraction of Derrick Brown's contract, the Bobcats are still looking for size to bolster their lineup, and I think Othello Hunter did enough in Summer League to be considered.
His stats likely won't blow you out of the water. I'm going to kind of throw out the second game, as he was virtually given the night off and played in less than two minutes without accumulating any stats.
Othello averaged about 18.5 MPG, 9.0 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 0.5 APG, and 0.5 SPG—numbers that aren't going to blow you away, but certainly solid numbers. He was arguably the best bench player on this summer league roster for the Bobcats and played some very effective, efficient minutes for the team.
He's a solid 6'8", and from what I could tell in the Summer League games (all of which I have seen multiple times), he's a strong defender and a very sound rebounder, plays a solid post game, and despite his low assist numbers, was a good facilitator while on the court.
Perhaps most importantly, he gave it his all when he was on the court, and it was obvious that he took little mental errors of his own seriously. For new head coach Mike Dunlap, someone who is frustrated with mental errors and shows the amount of effort that Hunter did this summer is someone who fits right in with his new up-tempo, defense-first scheme.
Derrick Brown is gone, and this opens up a spot for Othello Hunter who would be good insurance at both the small forward and power forward positions. Power forward is, without a doubt, where the Bobcats are weakest right now, and Othello Hunter would be a solid backup at that position.
I loved him during Summer League, and I really hope he makes the final roster.
2: Josh Owens
Josh Owens is another big guy who I think would add depth to the Bobcats' roster. He's a five-year veteran at Stanford, though one of those seasons was thrown out because of medical issues.
Owens went undrafted this season, but he managed to put up solid, if slightly underwhelming numbers in his final two years at Stanford. In both seasons, Owens averaged 11.6 PPG, and right around 6.0 RPG in just over 27 MPG. Don't let his low scoring deceive you, though—he shot well over 50 percent in both of those seasons, and when he wants to, he can put the ball into the bucket.
From the game tape I saw in this summer league (which he averaged 9.8 MPG, 5.0 PPG, 2.3 RPG), he is much more physical than his relatively low rebound totals indicate. He's a solid defender who, similarly to Othello Hunter, buys into Mike Dunlap's scheme.
Again, with the loss of Derrick Brown, Owens makes sense as a backup player. He is more suited to play the 3, while hunter is better suited to the 4, and both of these players would provide decent insurance policies and some good minutes to give vets rest.
Owens had a good career in Stanford and obviously is a smart guy (graduating from Stanford is no walk in the park), and from what I saw this summer, can be an NBA player in the right situation. He didn't get many minutes for whatever reason, but he barely missed when he was on the court, making an excellent 10 of his 12 shots.
This is a guy who can put the ball in the basket when called upon, and I think it would be a mistake for Charlotte not to give him a chance.
3: Cory Higgins
Let's get this out of the way: Cory Higgins is Rod Higgins' son. Rod Higgins holds a very high office within the Bobcats' organization (President of Basketball Operations) and he may have something to do with Cory's placement on the roster.
Cory saw some limited playing time with Charlotte last season, though he was very inefficient shooting only 32.5 percent from the floor while scoring 3.1 PPG in 11.1 MPG, and collecting 0.9 RPG and 0.9 APG.
Cory would add a little more depth to the Bobcats fairly talented and deep collection of guards. He would likely only see limited playing time if the four main guards in front of him—Kemba Walker, Ramon Sessions, Gerald Henderson and Ben Gordon—all manage to stay healthy and efficient.
He does bring some value to the court though. Similar to Henderson, Higgins is a slashing shooting guard, has good size for the position (6'5") and is a pretty decent rebounder. He failed to win anyone over with his efficiency in Summer League, shooting only 35.3 percent from the floor, but if head coach Mike Dunlap can convince him to try to be more of a facilitator, he could fill in some garbage minutes for the Bobcats or fill in admirably in place of someone who may get injured.
Cory has talent, but I don't see him making any real impact for this team. He simply just doesn't put the ball into the basket well enough to be a regular player in this league. Rod's position with the Bobcats will likely win Cory a spot with the team, though.