Pre-Training Camp Player Power Rankings for Charlotte Bobcats
While building around point guard Kemba Walker, the 'Cats inked Al Jefferson and re-signed Gerald Henderson. Rookie Cody Zeller will expect to make an impact and Jeffrey Taylor should only get better after a positive Summer League experience.
Ahead is a pre-training camp version of player power rankings for the Bobcats.
1. Kemba Walker
In just his second season, Kemba Walker took a huge step forward for the young Bobcats.
After starting just 25 games his rookie year, Walker took the reigns of the Charlotte franchise as an NBA sophomore, increasing his numbers in nearly every statistical category.
According to Basketball-Reference.com, in 2012-13 Walker averaged more points per game (17.7) than Los Angeles' Chris Paul (16.9), more steals (2.0) than Boston's Rajon Rondo (1.8) and more rebounds (3.5) than San Antonio's Tony Parker (3.0).
He'll need to hit the ground running with a new pick-and-roll partner in Al Jefferson as the Bobcats attempt to take another step forward this year.
2. Al Jefferson
Jefferson steps into a leadership role in his first year with the Bobcats. Now a veteran, Big Al will attempt to help mold a young group of budding big men.
He won't only serve as another mentor for Charlotte, though.
He'll help a Bobcats team that struggled with putting the ball in the hoop near the rim and he'll be a nice compliment to rookie Cody Zeller.
3. Gerald Henderson
After two years of increased production in Charlotte, Henderson exploded with back-to-back seasons of 15 or more points per game, via Basketball-Reference.com.
Now, after signing a three-year deal to remain with the Bobcats, Henderson will be expected to produce those numbers on a nightly basis.
He'll be a top option on offense and, with Al Jefferson pounding at the rim, should have more room to work with from mid-range.
4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
MKG has been the product of many discussions this summer—most involving his work at correct a very flawed jumper.
Other than an ugly jump shot, there's not a lot Kidd-Gilchrist can't do. He's a great defender, has an all-around energy to his game and uses his 6'7" frame to easily snag rebounds.
Like Kemba Walker and Gerald Henderson were expected to, the Bobcats anticipate Kidd-Gilchrist turning his game up a notch in his sophomore campaign.
5. Cody Zeller
Zeller rounds out the projected starting five for Charlotte at power forward.
Initially projected as the No. 1 overall pick, Zeller fell to the Bobcats as the No. 4 overall selection. He picked up the pro game with ease during the Las Vegas Summer League, where he displayed a nose for the ball and was able to knock down the mid-range jumper.
His toughness is questionable and will be tested early, but Zeller's game should fit seamlessly with Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson as another offensive threat.
6. Jeffery Taylor
Taylor enters another season off the bench despite having a solid rookie year and an outstanding summer.
There's no way Charlotte should have allowed Gerald Henderson to sign on for just one more season, but Taylor is an interesting prospect. According to Basketball-Reference.com, the guard averaged 6.1 points per game while playing above 19 minutes per game.
He's in line to be the go-to guy in a sixth man role for the Bobcats and has the ability to play shooting guard or small forward.
7. Josh McRoberts
As a mid-season acquisition, McRoberts instantly worked his way into the starting lineup.
He played in 26 games with the Bobcats, while averaging career highs of 9.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, according to Basketball-Reference.com. With the additions of Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson, McRoberts will transition back to the bench.
His ability to score, while also getting rebounds, opens the competition between himself and Bismack Biyombo for first big off the bench.
8. Bismack Biyombo
The signing of Al Jefferson didn't affect any single player as much as it did Biyombo.
With Jefferson on the roster and the Bobcats selecting Cody Zeller, Biyombo's role has been delegated to the bench. As solid defender and great rebounder, Biyombo could find a way into the rotation alongside either Jefferson or Zeller, both of whom are offensively minded players.
Biyombo has spent just two years in the NBA and he's mere days past turning 21, but to move up the power rankings and back to the starting lineup, he'll need to develop some semblance of an offensive game.
9. Ramon Sessions
Sessions was a suitable backup for Kemba Walker last season, and he'll continue to be in the upcoming year.
From Basketball-Reference.com, Sessions averaged the most points of his career (14.4), despite not starting one game in his lone year with the 'Cats. He was an important member of Charlotte's rotation and will be looking to build upon his big year with another solid season.
10. Ben Gordon
Once a stud with the Chicago Bulls, Ben Gordon has deteriorated into a decent bench commodity.
Gordon's place remains behind Gerald Henderson and the Bobcats will most likely rely on Jeffery Taylor to play at the 2 and the 3 spots. In 2012-13 Gordon averaged 11.2 points per game as a backup, via Basketball-Reference.com, but his minutes should be a bit more limited moving forward.
Pargo represents insurance for Kemba Walker and Ramon Sessions. He'll be an important contributor if either goes down thanks to his ability to run the offense.
Tolliver comes from the Hawks, where he's a solid big who can play in the paint and knock down the trey.
As a 6'7" forward, Adrien has played sparingly over his NBA career. On his third team in as many years, Adrien will provide depth behind Jeffery Taylor and Ben Gordon.
Haywood will be a veteran voice in the locker room and will continue to provide depth as a solid, rebounding big.