Breaking Down Charlotte Bobcats' Center Position
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports
Following their lone playoff appearance in 2009-10, the Bobcats decision to rebuild has been a multi-year process, one which has led to a young core of rotation players and a veteran group of solid contributors headlined by newly-signed center Al Jefferson.
Jefferson leads a group of complimentary centers, standing in front of Bismack Biyombo and Brendan Haywood on the depth chart.
Below is a breakdown of each player's skill set, included with stat and minute projections for the upcoming season.
Big Al joins the Bobcats in the first of a three-year, $40.5 million deal, with the final season including a player option, according to HOOPSWORLD.com.
Role: Jefferson will be the starter from day one and he'll be expected to step in as a veteran on both sides of the ball. Similar to how Al Horford is a vocal leader, helping Jeff Teague in Atlanta's offensive sets, Jefferson will be instrumental in the development of Kemba Walker's game.
Strengths: The 6'10" center is a fantastic back-to-the-basket offensive player. His game is tailored to be on the block, he can finish around the rim and he's a solid rebounder.
Weaknesses: Jefferson struggles on the defensive end and isn't a great passer. He gets lost in the pick-and-roll game on the defensive end too often for a player with his skill set.
Projected minutes and stats: Over his career, Jefferson has played upwards of 30 minutes per night, per Basketball-Reference.com. A defensive pairing of Jefferson and first-round draft pick Cody Zeller sounds like a disaster waiting to happen, meaning Bismack Biyombo should earn a decent chunk of floor time.
Nearly a nightly double-double, Jefferson is going to be a focal point of the offense, especially early on. His size and knowledge of the game should keep his numbers pretty consistent.
Biyombo faces a career-defining year, where he'll play out the third year of his rookie contract before the 'Cats will have the option of retaining the 6'9" forward/center's services, per HOOPSWORLD.com.
Role: After improving his defensive game but failing to figure out the offensive side of the court, Biyombo will open his third season off the bench.
Strengths: Biyombo is a solid defender who can rebound the ball and deflect shot attempts.
Weaknesses: He's got no offensive game, has bad hands, can't finish around the rim and shoots just a touch over 50 percent for his career from the charity stripe, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Projected minutes and stats: Biyombo will have every opportunity to earn significant minutes as Jefferson's lone backup at the center position, but if he can't develop some semblance of an offensive game, the 'Cats might not hesitate to turn toward veteran Brendan Haywood.
Haywood enters his 13th season in the NBA and remains one of Charlotte's veteran leaders.
Role: Haywood will serve as a reserve role player, hitting the hardwood when necessary and providing direction to Biyombo and the younger players.
Strengths: Haywood's 7'0" frame allows him to get great positioning and rebound the ball, while also playing solid defense.
Weaknesses: He's not a good offensive player and his shooting percentage last season (43 percent) was actually lower than Biyombo's 45 percent, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Projected minutes and stats: Haywood should only serve as depth to start the season, but could step into significant backup minutes if Biyombo can't give head coach Steve Clifford enough production off the bench.
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