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Rebuilding the Bobcats (Zach Lowe article)


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#1 thatlookseasy

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 12:11 PM

Really good article talking about the team's decision to go for wins now rather than continue to hope for high draft picks and what motivated that decision.

http://grantland.com...rebuilding-nba/

The Charlotte Construction Co.

The so-called “Thunder model” of NBA team-building was never really a discrete, original thing. It had existed before; Oklahoma City was not the first team to bottom out and rebuild around draft picks. And it can only exist as a success if you nab a franchise-changing star with one of those picks.

The Thunder did something almost impossible to replicate in drafting an all-time great player in Kevin Durant at no. 2 and then remaining bad enough in the next two seasons to snag two more top-four picks. They famously nailed them all, with Sam Presti tossing in the Serge Ibaka selection at no. 24 just to taunt everyone else.

That’s not a model. That’s an unsustainable hot streak, and one that required some major luck.

The Bobcats watched from afar while their aging, expensive playoff team maxed out as first-round roadkill, and they hired Rich Cho, once of the Sonics/Thunder, to take his own shot. They traded away almost every relevant veteran, held back in free agency, and went an unthinkable 28-120 combined over the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons.

But they suffered the inverse of Oklahoma City’s lottery luck, falling backward in consecutive drawings, including a slide from pole position into the no. 2 slot in 2012 — a draft with one clear foundational superstar in Anthony Davis and a muck of unknowns after that. Close your eyes and you can still see Cho on television, taking the gut punch and wincing when the second-to-last envelope revealed the Charlotte logo.

So, Charlotte entered last summer with a choice: stink again and play for the 2014 draft, allegedly the richest in a decade, or accelerate the process by signing a quality free agent. Al Jefferson was the Bobcats’ target, and the choice his signing would represent inspired serious debate. The discussion wasn’t just about basketball. The Bobcats weren’t sure if they could afford to be terrible again. “It’s always in the discussion,” Fred Whitfield, the team’s president and COO, says of the role of revenue in free-agency decisions. “We felt Al Jefferson could help us win now, and that would clearly improve our business.”



#2 Jackofalltrades

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 03:29 PM

Really long, but good read.

#3 CarolinaNCSU

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 04:59 PM

The main thing that scares me, and that can be prevented from a good offseason, is reverting back to being bad next year. The Bobcats have improve clearly...but they're still a below .500 team in the worst conference in a decade where many teams are tanking. Not exactly a good look going into next year, when teams like the 76ers, Bucks, Magic, Celtics and so on look to be improved and actually trying to win. 



#4 Omega Atrocity

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 07:04 PM

The main thing that scares me, and that can be prevented from a good offseason, is reverting back to being bad next year. The Bobcats have improve clearly...but they're still a below .500 team in the worst conference in a decade where many teams are tanking. Not exactly a good look going into next year, when teams like the 76ers, Bucks, Magic, Celtics and so on look to be improved and actually trying to win. 

I really don't think any of those teams will be that much better though, honestly.



#5 GamecockSmitty4

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:15 PM

The Sixers have lost 25 in a row and counting. They only have a few NBA-caliber players on their team. They are basically the equivalent of the 7-win Bobcats team. Adding a couple rookies and maybe a mid-level free agent won't make them all that competitive next year.

 

The Bucks have a little promise but are still a mess. I'm not exactly sure what direction they will go in. They won't be competitive next year.

 

I'm not sure what direction the Magic will go either. Oladipo is nice and Vucevic and Harris are decent pieces but not necessarily players you build around.

 

The Celtics are a wildcard but I don't see them being competitive for a couple years.

 

Meanwhile, our team has a dominating post player and some solid young players in Kemba, MKG, and Zeller. We will likely add a rookie who can develop and a relatively big name free agent with our cap space. We're in a very good position as we have a lot of room to improve but have a solid foundation already in place.



#6 CarolinaNCSU

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 08:53 PM

Just FWIW...I said those teams (and others) below the Bobcats will actually be trying to improve instead of tank. Not better than Charlotte per se, but improved and actually trying to field teams.

 

The 76ers have lost 25 straight because their front office stripped the team of half it's capable players. Add a Wiggins/Paker/Embiid, as well as another lottery pick, while getting Noel back, and around 30 million of cap space? Some nice potential there to have a better team than Charlotte next year. I'm not saying this is even probable, but they potentially could sign say Greg Monroe and Gordon Hayward (or 2 comparable level guys)..to go along with Thad Young, MCW, Noel, Wiggins/Parker/Embiid, the Pelicans lottery pick, and their million 2nd round choices. I'm probably taking that team over the Hornets. 

 

 

In general, If some of those teams hit on their draft picks to combine to their talent already...while also having cap space....the gap could be erased quickly. 

 



#7 GamecockSmitty4

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Posted 25 March 2014 - 09:11 PM

I understand what you're saying but I think you're also giving too much credit to the young guys and rookies. Even in the hypothetical that they sign Hayward and Monroe (two more young guys, both coming from pretty crappy teams...while Hayward is showing this year that he's not a number 1 option), and draft Wiggins or Parker, you have:

 

MCW (2nd year)

Hayward (24 years old)

Wiggins/Parker (rookie)

Young (26 years old) and Noel (essentially a rookie)

Monroe (24 years old)

 

That's very little combined experience and a lot being asked for several rookies and young guys with no chemistry coming into the season. Not to mention that their bench would be absolute trash. I'm not saying they wouldn't be a fun team to watch and have an exciting future, but I would absolutely take the Hornets (plus a Hayward/Stephenson level free agent and added rookie(s)) over that team.




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