With the 2012 NBA draft less than a week away, it’s time to take a look at the top five players the Charlotte Bobcats should have on their big board.
1. Thomas Robinson:
Some say he’s the safest pick in the draft. With Robinson the Bobcats know they’ll be getting three things:
Defense and Rebounding. He averaged more than 11 rebounds a game last year, and finished the season with an 84 defensive rating (points produced allowed per 100 possessions).
Points in the paint. Robinson dropped in just over 17 points a game last year and had a 54 percent true shooting percentage. He says he’s worked on his jump shooting ability, but Charlotte needs him do most of his damage in the paint. They got outscored under the basket in way more than half of their games last season.
Upside. If this guy has proven anything over the course of his college career, it’s that he’s always getting better. In 09/10 he averaged 7.2 minutes, 2.5 points and 2.7 rebounds a game. In 10/11 he played 14.6 minutes, scored 7.6 points and grabbed 6.4 rebounds per game. Then, last year, Robinson put up the awesome numbers I mentioned above.
He’s not just the safest pick in the 2012 NBA draft, he’s the smartest pick in the draft for the Charlotte Bobcats.
2. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:
If Charlotte wants to change the culture of their team, Robinson wouldn’t be a bad choice, but MKG would be a better one.
The kid is a monster on defense, a terror in transition, and he’s got everything you’d want in a top pick… except for an offensive game in the half-court.
Some people are holding that against him, whether right or wrong. But, Charlotte was dead last in a lot of categories, including defensive rating, and Kidd-Gilchrist gives you a guy who can guard the opponent’s best player on an almost nightly basis (he won’t be guarding Dwight Howard or Dirk).
Sure, there’s work to be done on offense, but with a new head coach who’s renowned for his player development skills, I don’t think that weakness is something Kidd-Gilchrist can’t overcome.
3. Bradley Beal:
There’s a reason Beal has exploded up mock drafts recently. On a team that played a four guard lineup at times, Beal, a freshman, scored almost 15 points a game and connected on 34 percent of his three point attempts.
His true shooting percentage was 57, and he wasn’t a liability on the other end of the floor, which he proved with a 96 defensive rating in 2012.
He can create separation and get his shot from anywhere on the court, and he isn’t afraid to take the ball to the rim.
If Charlotte wants to go for an offensive player at pick two, Beal should be their guy.
4. Harrison Barnes:
With Barnes, you know what you’re getting for at least his rookie season. A big, athletic guy who can shoot, defend and play either at the two or three spot in your lineup.
The problem is this: Is that all you’ll ever get out of Harrison Barnes?
There are questions about his ball handling ability. There are questions about his ability to take his man off the dribble and attack the basket. There are questions about his ceiling as an NBA player.
Still, the kid did shoot threes at a 36 percent clip last year at UNC. His overall true shooting percentage was 53 percent.
I think the Bobcats want Barnes, and that’s why I think number five on their big board should be:
5. Trade the hell out of pick #2.
If Cleveland calls the Bobcats and offers their picks (#4, #24, 33, and 34) for Charlotte’s second pick, Charlotte has to make that deal. ESPECIALLY if they want to draft Barnes. You can defend that pick at #4, but drafting him over players like Robinson, Kidd-Gilchrist and Beal would raise a significant amount of eyebrows.
The more I read, the more I believe this is what will end up happening on draft night. We shall see, but for now, count on Barnes and a bunch of picks coming over to the Queen City on June 28.