Could Charlotte's savior come in the form of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist?
Contrary to what some might think, the Charlotte Bobcats have several talented pieces in place and the roster isn't a barren wasteland. But what the team does need is that one elite talent who will elevate the franchise to the next level.
In other words, they need a savior.
To each person, the traits that define one might vary. For the Bobcats, their search for one should center around attitude, skill set, position and the overall talent of that individual's game.
Whether that player is on the roster, a potential free agent or will be in the upcoming draft is something that will need to be answered.
On a young team that hasn't seen a lot of success, the right attitude is absolutely crucial.
Earlier this season, Ben Gordon stepped forward and provided a perfect example for how an NBA player shouldn't act. Not only did he disrespect his coach, but he did so in front of young players who are still impressionable due to inexperience.
The Bobcats need to find a personality that can have a working relationship with whoever is coach and can make a positive influence in the locker room with the young talent the team has.
Winning can obviously cure a lot of problems. But when a team isn't winning, there needs to be someone experienced there to guide teammates through the struggles and help get them over the hump.
Can Kemba Walker step up? What about Michael Kidd-Gilchrist? Both are young, but have the potential to be leaders of this team moving forward.
Gambling on their ability to lead, though, might not be the best strategy.
Player Skill Set
Charlotte has six players averaging double figures in scoring this season, yet there isn't one guy who could be considered a go-to scorer.
Walker has shown flashes of it, averaging 17.3 points per game, but hasn't shown the consistency a team would like to see from its leading scorer.
In addition to scoring, the Bobcats need a floor general.
A point guard that can run the offense and properly distribute is crucial in terms of how effective an offense is.
Walker also leads the team in assists with 5.6 per game, but is more of a scoring point guard than anything else.
What Charlotte needs is someone capable of scoring when needed, but also someone who can efficiently run an offense and make the right pass at the right time.
Since Walker probably isn't a true point guard, it might be in Charlotte's best interest to see who else they can find to run things.
Since scoring has been a bit of an issue for the Bobcats, it might not be a bad thing to look to that position for help,
In the upcoming NBA draft, Ben McLemore of Kansas is the best option in terms of a player who can score and put points on the board,
But drafting McLemore wouldn't solve Charlotte's issue of a player who can run the offense.
Whether it's a point guard or a shooting guard, the Bobcats need someone who can efficiently score while contributing to the greater success of the offense.
While a scoring shooting guard would be of great benefit, there's not really a standout one in the upcoming NBA draft. McLemore can play, but he's not the guaranteed star that many think he could become.
Charlotte either needs a point guard that can both score and distribute the basketball or a shooting guard that can score in a multitude of ways.
This summer's draft has potential for the Bobcats. However, it's unlikely this draft will produce the superstar talent Charlotte desperately needs.
While McLemore and Kelly Olynyk of Gonzaga were previous suggestions, the more Charlotte's situation is analyzed, the more it looks like they need the help of a big name.
And with smart decisions, the Bobcats will have plenty of cap room available to pursue a star if they choose to. Currently they're on the hook for just $26.9 million.
If things go according to plan, they will let Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens walk in free agency and trade Gordon to whoever shows interest.
Assuming those things go according to plan, the Bobcats will have the money available to pursue someone who will change the landscape of the franchise and could possibly make them a contender.
That individual has the potential to be the franchise's savior and that individual is Chris Paul.
It might sound far-fetched, but Paul makes sense in Charlotte for several reasons.
First, he's a native of the region.
Paul grew up just over an hour from Charlotte in Lewsville, N.C. and played his collegiate ball at Wake Forest. His familiarity with the region might be a major temptation in terms of getting him to sign with the team.
Not only that, but Paul is Team Jordan athlete.
Whether or not that gives the Bobcats—who are owned by Michael Jordan—an advantage is still a major question, but it certainly doesn't hurt the cause.
Paul is in the final year of a contract that sees him making $17.7 million this season.
While signing Paul would certainly be a major hit to Charlotte's cap space, it's well worth the risk.
He's a point guard that can score when necessary and one that can run the offense more efficiently than anyone in the league.
At this point in his career, Paul might want to play for a winning team. Whether or not that eliminates the Bobcats from being a potential landing spot though has yet to be seen.
With the New Orleans Hornets, Paul led some teams that weren't the most talented to first-place finishes and postseason appearances.
Charlotte's cupboard isn't completely bare, so the addition of Paul would likely increase the team's win total immediately and perhaps at least allow them to contend for the No. 8 seed, which this season, means playing .500 basketball.
Even if the Bobcats were to pay Paul $20 million a year, they'd still have some money to spend on role players assuming they make the aforementioned moves—letting Mullens and Henderson walk and trading Gordon.
They would still have a wealth of youth that is under contract for a reasonable price—including Walker—and they would still have a high draft pick this summer.
Management has shown that they're willing to give big contracts to players that don't deserve them–Tyrus Thomas as an example—so perhaps it's time to give money to players that actually do.
It all comes down to one thing though: persuasion.
The Bobcats will have to persuade Paul that he should come back to his home state and play for the local team.
And the incentive is there.
Returning home and being the savior of a team that historically has struggled would make Paul a hero.