After stumbling through numerous years of rebuilding, Charlotte looks primed to take a step forward in 2013-14. The Bobcats inked a legit center in Al Jefferson, brought back Gerald Henderson and finally have a complete roster heading into the season.
With new acquisitions and a change in the branding of the team on the horizon, the losing culture is on it's way out.
Charlotte is ditching the "losers" mentality
When reinventing a brand, it's important to have something that draws the consumer to the producer.
In this case, it's developing from the losing team to a squad with promise.
Gerald Henderson: "We're not losers... That's not the kind of character guys we have." pic.twitter.com/xxevPbYRz4— DeAntae Prince (@DeAntae) September 30, 2013
Moving up from being one of the worst teams in the league over the last few years also takes dedication to their craft, which is something the Bobcats have shown under this new regime. They have boasted perfect attendance for optional workouts before training camp.
Big Al Jefferson was impressed with the Bobcats' turnout at voluntary workouts. "One of the most amazing things I've seen in my career."— DeAntae Prince (@DeAntae) September 30, 2013
With a new group of guys and Jefferson leading the way, Charlotte fans have something other than the rebirth of the Hornets franchise to look forward to.
Rebounding is key
New head coach Steve Clifford noted his team is focused on rebounding, calling nearly every member on the current Bobcats roster "not even average," according to Scott Fowler of the Charlotte Observer.
“Al Jefferson is a good defensive rebounder,” Clifford said Monday of the Bobcats’ new big man. “Not great, but good. And Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for a rookie last year was an exceptional rebounder. Other than that, we don’t have guys who, to be honest, have even been average with any consistency.”
“Rebounding is all about toughness,” he said. “It’s all about wanting to get the 50-50 ball. No question this team has the ability to rebound – it’s just are we going to want to rebound?”
Charlotte made a concerted effort to get depth in the front court this year and will surely exploit any matchup advantages possible over the upcoming season. Much of how the 'Cats fare on the boards will depend on how they develop.
And that will likely rely on how good of a job famed big man Patrick Ewing does working with the likes of first-round picks Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo.
Al Jefferson: "People forget Patrick Ewing made Dwight Howard" as an Orlando assistant. @MagicInsider— Rick Bonnell (@rick_bonnell) September 30, 2013
Neither have the natural talent Dwight Howard has, but it does bode well for both young, talented players to be working with Ewing.
Kemba Walker's excited for his new teammates
The most drastic improvement to Charlotte's offensive scheme will be Walker's screen game with Zeller and Jefferson.
Kemba Walker talked about being excited to have better options in screen and roll with Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller. pic.twitter.com/BAtuc3qMik— DeAntae Prince (@DeAntae) September 30, 2013
Zeller presents the pick-and-pop with the ability to knock down shots from the midrange, while Jefferson will continue finishing at the rim as he slides down to the block from the pick-and-roll.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist expects more
As an NBA rookie, Kidd-Gilchrist was a do-it-all player with a mediocre shot and almost no range to his game. Surely he'd be able to move on to the next season with both eyes fixed firmly on the future.
That wasn't so at media day, though.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on his rookie season: "I was disappointed in myself... I set goals and I didn't reach none of my goals that I set."— DeAntae Prince (@DeAntae) September 30, 2013
We've covered it a bit this summer here at Bleacher Report, but it makes more sense now than ever why MKG spent the offseason working with shooting coach Mark Price. He's a genuine competitor and expects the best. If Charlotte hopes to take a step forward this season, Kidd-Gilchrist's shot must see a drastic improvement.