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Charlotte Bobcats: 30 Team Previews in 30 Days

John Friel@@JohnFtheheatgodAnalyst IAugust 4, 2010

CHARLOTTE, NC - APRIL 26: Tyrus Thomas #12 of the Charlotte Bobcats reacts after making a basket against the Orlando Magic at Time Warner Cable Arena on April 26, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Magic defeated the Bobcats 99-90 to complete the four game sweep.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.   (Photo by Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images)
Brian A. Westerholt/Getty Images

2009-'10 Statistics

Finished 44-38, fourth in Southeast, seventh in Eastern Conference.

Postseason

First Round: Lost to Orlando Magic 4-0

Additions and Re-Signings

Matt Carroll via trade, Erick Dampier via trade, Eduardo Najera via trade, Shaun Livingston via free agency, Dominic McGuire via free agency, and Tyrus Thomas via re-signing.

Losses

Alexis Ajinca via trade, Tyson Chandler via trade, Raymond Felton via free agency, and Theo Ratliff via free agency.

With their first postseason appearance under their belt, the Charlotte Bobcats appeared ready to make numerous playoff runs in the future. A core of Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, and Stephen Jackson made the Bobcats a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference with room to grow. After six years as a franchise, once again, the city of Charlotte had a basketball team to cheer for.

Hopefully for the fans they got it out of their system last year, because this team doesn't look poised to make another postseason appearance for a few more years.

By trading away one of their top shot blocking and defensive threats in Tyson Chandler and losing their developing point guard in Raymond Felton, the Bobcats took a step back over the offseason and made a number of questionable moves to back it up, including signing Tyrus Thomas to a deal worth $40 over the next five years.

Thomas has shown excellent athletic ability in his four year career, but hasn't proved to be anything other than a sideshow and a quality shot blocker. Thomas has averaged eight points and five rebounds over his career and put up 10 points and six rebounds in 23 games with the Bobcats last season. Not exactly $40 million numbers, but Thomas has room to grow and can live up to expectations if he can develop a scoring touch.

The Bobcats aren't essentially known as an offensive team considering they finished 28th in points per game last season, but it's their defense that they rely on to win ball games. They led the league last season in points allowed at only 94 per game. They can thank their anchor in Gerald Wallace for the tight defense.

Wallace, who made his first all-star game last season, averaged 18 points and a career high 10 rebounds for the 'Cats last season, who relied on him for his rebounding and defensive ability that allowed them to win a franchise best 44 games, a nine game improvement from the year before. Wallace scoring 18 points greatly helps the team, who need a scoring threat aside from Stephen Jackson, who led the team at 21 points per game.

Raymond Felton and Boris Diaw were the the two other players on the team who played a full season and averaged double digit scoring. With Felton no longer in the lineup, the Bobcats are going to have look towards D.J. Augustin as their starting point guard. Augustine has only played two years in this league, but has showed exceptional poise as a shooter.

Augustin saw his numbers decline with his minutes last season as he only averaged six points over 18 minutes per game. In his rookie season he saw his scoring average at 11 points while averaging 44% from beyond the arc and 43% overall. The decline over the past season was disappointing and expectations are high for him to fill the shoes of Raymond Felton, who has averaged at least 12 points and six assists since joining the team in 2005.

The Bobcats will also have to look towards Erick Dampier as their new center. Acquired in the trade that sent Chandler to the Dallas Mavericks, Dampier will be entering his 15th season in the league and has little to offer the Bobcats aside from being a body in the middle. Erick has averaged eight points and seven rebounds over his career and has spent the last six seasons with Dallas as their starting center. The centers for Charlotte are completely inept on the offensive end with Desagna Diop and Nazr Mohammed as the two back-up's.

The bench provides little help aside from Boris Diaw, who will be sent to the bench in favor of Thomas. Larry Hughes has established his career as a reliable swingman, but has seen his stats decline over the past few seasons and averaged eight points in 14 games with Charlotte last season. The rest of the rotation has little to offer with players such as Shaun Livingston and the recently acquired Eduardo Najera as the main scorers off the bench.

Charlotte needed to find offensive production this offseason and they didn't find it. Jackson averaged a career high 21 points with the Bobcats last season, but he's going to need a lot of help if Charlotte wants to keep up with their division and more importantly their conference. Every team in their division improved and the Bobcats appear to be the odd man out unless they can make a trade to acquire a legitimate scoring threat aside from Jackson and Wallace.

The breakout season last year was a good inspirational story, but with the Eastern Conference evolving into the superior conference of the future, the Bobcats could be left in the dust.

Projected Starting Lineup

PG-D.J. Augustin

SG-Stephen Jackson

SF-Gerald Wallace

PF-Tyrus Thomas

C-Erick Dampier

Prediction

31-51

This is Pt. 3 of a 30-day series of 2010-11 season previews of each NBA team. My profile will contain every other team that has been previewed before.

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