Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (No. 2 overall draft pick)
Jeffery Taylor (No. 31 overall draft pick)
Ben Gordon (Trade with Detroit Pistons)
Ramon Sessions (Free agency)
Brendan Haywood (Free agency)
Mike Dunlap (Former St. John’s coach)
Because of how awful Charlotte was last season, GM Rich Cho had his work cut out for him once the offseason officially began.
He jettisoned Corey Maggette—a serviceable but overpaid swingman—for a high-volume shooter in Ben Gordon. While Gordon has been struggling in recent years with the Pistons, he showed that he still has something left in the tank, with a notable 45-point outburst against the Denver Nuggets back in March. We are actually projecting him to start at the beginning of the season in order to provide some more offensive output.
When the draft rolled around, Michael Jordan’s organization selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (MKG) to fill its SF need, and his defensive intensity and finishing ability around the hoop will be a welcome addition. While it’s not his team yet, eventually the former Kentucky star will be the leader of this franchise and its star player.
Jeffery Taylor is a great second-round pick, and many mock drafts had the highly athletic and sweet-shooting senior forward going in the late first round. The Bobcats have to be elated that he fell into the second, and he should be a regular member of the rotation.
Free agency wasn’t anything spectacular for Charlotte, but it did acquire an above-average PG in Ramon Sessions, who opted out of his contract following a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Los Angeles Lakers in the middle of last season. He should battle second-year player Kemba Walker for starting point guard duties.
Brendan Haywood was acquired after the center was amnestied by Dallas, and the 'Cats picked up a bargain big man for approximately $2 million per year over the next three seasons. There is a good chance he starts a number of games, with only the defensively lacking Byron Mullens to truly compete for minutes at the 5.
Finally, Cho canned coach Paul Silas, who had an abysmal 32-88 record during his tenure in Charlotte. He hired Mike Dunlap—a long-time assistant for numerous college programs who also had a two-year stint under George Karl with the Nuggets from 2006 to 2008—to helm the team. Dunlap helped lead the St. John’s Red Storm as an interim coach in the absence of coach Steve Levin for most of the 2011-12 college basketball season.
This is his first head-coaching job at the NBA or Division I level.