It's hard not to get excited about this time of year if you're a basketball fan. Last season we were denied a normal basketball schedule, and all of the news coming out of the NBA was bogged down by the lockout.
Fans didn't get to look at the rookies their team drafted because there was no summer league or training camp. Rookies didn't get the opportunity to test the NBA waters before diving in, and veterans didn't get a chance to build the chemistry necessary for a professional sports team to succeed.
All of this was extremely apparent in the Charlotte Bobcats, perhaps more so than any other team in the NBA. The Bobcats had a fragile core to begin with, and a ragtag group of newcomers and rookies coming in with fairly little NBA experience.
Veterans like Corey Maggette and Tyrus Thomas were either injured or completely ineffective on the court, and try as they might, rookies Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo just couldn't keep the team afloat.
Things are different this year though. The Bobcats added quality pieces in the draft, free agency, and by trade. Walker and Biyombo now have a season and a full summer under their belts. Incoming rookies Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor showed promise in summer league, and other players at Bobcats summer league looked great as they led the Bobcats to a 4-1 record.
The first game of summer league was the first time the organization had seen a win in almost 30 games, and there were strong feelings of enthusiasm to be had by all.
Will the success carry over into the regular season? Who's going to be the best performer of this season, and will the incoming rookies and new veterans live up to the hype?
I'm going to attempt to answer those questions, but it's important to keep in mind that the NBA is a volatile league where anything can happen.