With a 21-61 record, the Bobcats had one win more than the Orlando Magic, but they simply don't have the foundational talent that the Magic have—catapulting the Bobcats atop the list of teams with bleak futures.
While there are approximately a billion things the Bobcats need to work on, there are things that are much more important to the future success of their franchise—like finding an identity and an actual star player to build around.
The 2013-14 season might not be a playoff-bound year for the Bobcats, but if they focus on the five facets of this article, they'll be headed in a positive direction, which is something they haven't been doing for quite some time.
The top three players on the Charlotte Bobcats roster are Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson.
Ben Gordon comes flying in at a close fourth, and that shows you just how talented the Bobcats are.
While talent clearly impacts the on-the-court product, it also impacts the public perception of the franchise, and, right now, the Bobcats' problems are as far-reaching as the lackluster support of their fan base.
In theory, if the Bobcats can acquire some top caliber free-agent talent this offseason—which won't be easy to do because of the state of their franchise—they can catapult their franchise into some resemblance of relevancy based solely on adding star talent.
The fans will care as long as it's a big name like Brandon Jennings, Monta Ellis, Tyreke Evans or even a guy like J.R. Smith.
Creating excitement and relevancy is integral to the Bobcats' success, and reeling in a player who's capable of being a pseudo-franchise talent is at the foundation of doing just that.
Without a true star—sorry Kidd-Gilchrist, Henderson and Walker—the Bobcats will be stuck in the troubling world of mediocrity longer than their franchise can handle it.
Who is leading the Bobcats right now?
Is it Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ben Gordon or Kemba Walker? No, it's none of those players, and it's because there is no player on the Bobcats roster right now with enough experience to actually be a leader.
This is where free agency comes into play. During the offseason, the Bobcats need to bring on a veteran presence who can not only bolster their depth but also bring a sense of leadership to the floor—something that the Bobcats haven't had for awhile.
They need someone with attitude and swagger, someone like Brandon Jennings, Andre Iguodala or even Tyreke Evans. I know, Evans is a stretch for a leader, but it's an upgrade from what the Bobcats have right now.
Leadership and a veteran presence are integral to success, and the Bobcats have neither of those. That needs to change this offseason.
The Bobcats ended the year ranked 26th or worse in every major team statistical category—26th in PPG (93.4), 27th in RPG (40.3), 29th in APG (19.4) and 29th in PPG allowed (102.7).
That atrocious statistical production isn't a sign pointing squarely at the lack of talent or cohesion on their roster. Instead, it points to the Bobcats' atrocious lack of depth.
Most of the players in their starting lineup would be the first options coming off of benches for playoff-caliber teams—with the exception of maybe Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker.
Either way, just take a look at the Bobcats bench right now—Jeffery Taylor, Ben Gordon, Jannero Pargo, Jeff Adrian and Brendan Haywood.
It doesn't take a doctorate degree to figure out that that bench unit is about as deep as a kiddie pool.
The only way for the Bobcats to enhance their depth this offseason is to hit free agency hard, and they absolutely must do that, and that means letting Gerald Henderon and Byron Mullens walk if they get qualifying offers that are significantly higher than they are getting paid now.
It's time for a new identity, and that begins by dominating free agency this offseason.
The Bobcats aren't known for much, but they are known for having one of the worst frontcourts in the entire NBA.
With the project-player, Bismack Biyombo, and Byron Mullens as their dominating frontcourt options, the Bobcats are hurting for consistent production in their interior.
They averaged just 40.3 rebounds per game, which ranked 27th in the NBA. The Bobcats also shot an NBA-worst 42.5 percent from the field throughout this past season, which depicts just how hard it was for them to get looks around the basket.
Interior offense and size on the defensive side of the ball are two major components of success, and the Bobcats have neither of them.
It's time to move on from Biyombo, who's just not cutting it with his career averages of 5.0 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. The Bobcats need legitimate talent in the paint, the kind that can open up the perimeter for their young guards and actually allow them to make a difference on the court.
Right now the future looks very bleak in Charlotte.
Not only have they won just 28 games in the last two seasons—which is one game more than the Miami Heat won during their 27-game winning streak—they are also the laughing stock of the NBA.
No one takes the Bobcats seriously, and honestly, it's because they don't seem to take themselves seriously either.
That lack of respect starts from the way their management handles player personal and acquisitions, and it trickles all the way down into how the players view themselves.
Watch highlights from any of the Bobcats' 82 games and you'll see what I'm talking about. They lack any resemblance of confidence or swagger, and they don't really know who they want to be or even what kind of team they are trying to become.
This offseason, through free agency and not the draft, it's time for Charlotte to make strides toward success and ultimately creating a brand and face of the franchise that fans can buy into.
Does that mean potentially overspending on star talent this offseason? Absolutely, but it means overspending on players who have already proven their value in the NBA, and that's not something the Bobcats have done well lately.