Coming into there fifth season in the expectations are high for the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats made headways in the NBA this offseason by signing legendary coach Larry Brown to lead the Bobcats. Larry has a history of turning young teams into winners, and is looking to redirect his coaching career after a disappointing stint as the Knicks head coach. Brown runs a fast paced offense and pushes his players to the max. Jason Richardson is already raving on the way he coaches and the winning mentiality he brings to the team. Also Charlotte was a bad defensive team last year giving up over 110 points per game which he will have to change in order for them to win a playoff spot this year. The move gave Charlotte instant credibility and a contender for years to come, which set the tone for the offseason.
With the ninth pick in the NBA draft the Cats chose a proven point guard in DJ Augustin. Augustin was a first team all American at Texas while averaging over 19 points, 3 boards and six assit a game while playing in a pro style offense. Jordon and Brown fell in love with this kids work eithic the first day they saw him. Hes the first one in, last one out of the gym and does everything he can to be the best he can be.
With there other first round pick Charlotte selected Alex Anjina. Alex is a seven footer with great range from France who should play a big role this year. His numbers in France weren’t the best, but he was a workout warrior and is the type of player who Brown loves. He hustles his heart out every play though hes raw at the defensive end. That being said he has great potential with great size and a killer long ball who may just be the next Dirk. Both Augustin and Anjina are solid players who should play a major part in the Bobcats successes.
At the point guard position the Bobcats have two future stars in Raymond Felton and first round pick DJ Augustin. Felton has raised his scoring and assist average each season and should do even better by being pushed by DJ for the starting spot. Last year he averaged 14 points and seven assist along with leading the Bobcats in free throw percentage. Hes quick, with good instints and is what Brown looks for in a point guard, which should make this a breakout season for Felton. Behind him theres rookie DJ Augustin out of Texas. DJ won many awards at Texas while averging solid numbers. Brown picked him for a reason and is a perfect backup for Felton. Exept DJs minutes to go up as the season goes on and to make a big impact on the team this year. How many teams have two great scoring point guards who can make all the passes and play solid defense? Not many, which makes the Cats Augustin, Felton combo one of the best in the NBA
Last year the Bobcats made a draft day trade which gave them a 26 year old stud in Jason Richardson. And what did he do last season, Only become the leader of the club and average over 21 points, 5 boards and 3 assist a game. And to think they gave up a bust in Brandon Wright for him. Anyway Richardson is the hardest worker on the Cats, he comes in every day and works his but off in order to make this season one for the ages. Before the Cats oficall workouts began he called his teammates in to start a few weeks early. The guy has a lot of heart and wants the best for his teammates. Plus, who doesn’t love to see this guy dunk, he can change the game with one play and not many players can do that. Brown always makes the most of his skill players and Richardson wont dissapoint. Behind him theres sharpshooter Matt Carroll. Carroll showed his value last season by steping up in clutch situations and hitting big three pointers. And with Brown leading the way there should be many more oppertunites for him in the near future. Not even to mention Shannon Brown. The Cavs first round pick in 06, he was released and later signed by the Bobcats. Brown is explosive with a good jumper. He should see good minutes this year and is one of those x factors on the culb. Watch out for this guy and the rest of the Bobcats guards as the season gets ready to begin.
Is there any better small forward in the South Division better then Gerald Wallace. Who hustles more? Is there, Wallace is one of the rare players who can score with the best of them while also being one of the best defenders in the league. One second he could be guarding his man on the outside and the next second he may be making a block on the opponents big man. His only problem use to be that he couldn’t shoot but for the past five years his three point percentage has gone up and continues to work on that part of his game. Last year when he was hurt the Bobcats lost more then they won but with him at full strength going into the season theres no telling what he will do. Behind Wallace theres Jared Dudley. Dudelys one of those backups which all playoff teams have. A guy who can come in there and shut down his defender while rebounding the ball better then most small forwards in this game. As a backup he had three double digit rebound games last year which shows the kind of player he is. Jared doesn’t care weather hes in for a minute or a whole game, cause he knows he’ll make an impact no matter what. Also at the small forward position theres Adam Morrison. After missing all of last season due to injury hes back again and ready to prove that he was worth a top five pick. Everyones been downing him lately though watching him in workouts he has a great mid range game. Larry loves players who can shoot and Morrison is one of them which is why he should be on the court a lot this season. Brown should make the most of these three players, who all have potential to be solid NBA players
Power Forward is by far the Cats biggest question mark. With Okafor hopefully moving to center, Sean May steps in to be a full time starter after he missed all of last season due to a knee injury. After a solid sophmore campain when he averaged over twelve points and seven boards a game May was due for a big third year. That is, intil he injured his leg, which caused him to get season ending knew surgery. Hes looked solid so far in the preseason and if he continues to improve, he’ll be the starter for the future. Behind him theres last years second rounder Jermareo Davidson. Last year he looked plain awful missing most of his shots and getting outhusteled. Im shocked he hasent been released this offseasonLook on the Brightside, he cant do any worse, though hes not going to be much of a factor this year. May may be the long term answer at power forward but if he struggles early or if Charlotte doesn’t feel like hes ready Okafor will retake the spot hes held for some years
Is there a better rebounder in the league then Emeka Okafor. Okafor will move to center this year and should fare just as well as he has in years past. After being the Bobcats first pick ever he hasent disappointed while never having a season where he averaged a double, double a game. With Larry Brown at the helm his shot should continue to improve which is the difference from being a good player to a great one. The Cats season rests in this guys hands, if he suffers the whole team does which no one wants to happen. Last year Nazr Mohammed filled in nicely after being traded from the Pistons. Hes nothing special, but gets the job done. Ryan Hollins and Alexis Ajinca are two long term projects with great potential whose roles will be very limited this year. The cats think both are long term answers but there both raw on the defensive end and need to bulk up before they make an impact. The Cats have a good deal of balance at the center position. Okafor and Nazr are seasoned vets who are tremoundous rebounders but cant shoot while Hollins and Ajina are great on the offensive end with good jump shots and amazing free throw shooters. As long as Okafor can stay healty whatever else comes from this position is a bonus
For a team with loads of depth and an easy schedule along with great coaching and fans who care this year will turn out to be a special one for the Cats.