NBA Preview: Do The Bobcats Have Enough Depth To Make It Back Into The Playoffs?
2009-10: 44-38, 4th in the Southeast, 7th in the East, Swept in first round by the Orlando Magic
Coach: Larry Brown (26th season, 3rd with the Bobcats)
Projected Starting Lineup:
Point Guard: D.J. Augustin
Shooting Guard: Stephen Jackson
Shooting Forward: Gerald Wallace
Power Forward: Boris Diaw
Center: Erick Dampier
Key Bench Players:
Guard: Shaun Livingston
Forward: Tyrus Thomas
Center: Nazr Mohammed
Sleeper: Tyrus Thomas
Keys to Success: Elite play by Gerald Wallace and good bench play
Summary: Coming off their first ever playoff appearance, the Michael Jordan owned Bobcats look to further their success in 2010. 32 year old Stephen Jackson is entering his first full year as a Bobcat. The former Golden State Warrior averaged 20.6 points per game in 2009 while helping Charlotte earn a 7 seed.
28 year old Gerald Wallace is now the undisputed face of the franchise. The All-Star enjoyed a breakout year in 2009, where he averaged 18 points and 10 boards a game.
Last year at the trade deadline, the Bobcats made a move for 24 year old Tyrus Thomas. Thomas was once viewed as one of the most talented players in the game, but with a poor attitude and work ethic his stock rapidly fell. If Thomas plays anywhere near his potential, he should challenge Boris Diaw for a starting spot.
The Bobcats need 3rd year point guard D.J. Augustin to play well. Last year, Augustin endured a sophomore slumped, but as a rookie he averaged 11 points and 3 assists per game. If Augustin struggles, don’t be surprised if rookie Sherron Collins receives some playing time.
The lack of depth on the Charlotte roster is very concerning. Nazr Mohammed is the only proven veteran on the Charlotte bench, and the 33 year old's durability is in question.
Prediction: I predict the Bobcats to finish 9th in the East. There lack of depth is very concerning, but they should contend for a playoff stop in a weak Eastern Conference. If the Cats pick up a player or two at the deadline, don’t be surprised if they sneak into the playoffs.
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