Dec 21, 2012; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers forward Cody Zeller (40) drives to the basket against the Florida Atlantic Owls during the second half at Assembly Hall. Indiana won 88-52. Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

The Charlotte Bobcats Big Board


On Saturday we posted our first 2013 mock draft, predicting the first round picks of every NBA team that has one. Today, we’re issuing our first Charlotte Bobcats big board.

The methodology is quite simple; Based on projected end of the year standings, who are the top five players the Bobcats should be watching as college basketball teams start getting into their conference seasons.

Right now Charlotte is projected to finish with a top five pick, so, naturally, the following players are arguably the five best in college basketball this year.

Like our mock draft, our big board is not based solely on talent. It’s based on the Bobcats needs, the player’s talent and the player’s potential for growth.

So, here we go:

1. Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Zeller could’ve been a top five pick last year if he left Indiana for the NBA. Instead, he’s playing on one of the best teams in the country and he’s still going to be a top five pick. He’s averaging 16.6 points per game on 62 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He still has room to grow, too; Most experts say he doesn’t use his size to his advantage, and, as a result, he could become an even better offensive player.

2. Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
McLemore might not be the second best player in the country (although he’s getting more and more love from mock drafters every week), but based on need, it’d be hard for Charlotte to pass on the opportunity to draft a shooter as good as this guy. He’s also one of the best rebounding guards in the draft, and he’s a solid defender for a great defensive Jayhawks team.

3. Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Bennett looks like the real deal at power forward for the Runnin’ Rebels. He’s got the size and the ability to contribute immediately on any NBA team. He’s nearly a 20 points and 10 rebounds guy and he’s only a freshman. Oh, and he’s a pretty efficient scorer, hitting on more than 50 percent of his shot attempts.

4. Alex Len, C, Maryland
Like most people who have nothing more than a passing interest in college basketball until March, I knew nothing about Len until his performance against Kentucky to open the season. He only plays 24 minutes per game, but he’s still averaging 13 points and eight rebounds per game. That tells me this guy has a ton of room to grow, even though he could probably contribute off the bench right away for any team that drafts him.

5. Shabazz Muhammed, SF, UCLA
Muhammed is not a player the Bobcats need. He’s too good to fall past the top five, though. He’s almost a 50 percent shooter, he’s almost a 20 point per game scorer, and at 6-6, 225 lbs, he can bang with PFs. The problem here is Charlotte drafted their SF of the future with the second pick in the 2012 NBA draft. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (and Kemba Walker) is the future of this team, and I just don’t see the ‘Cats taking a player, even as good as Muhammed, who plays MKG’s position in 2013.

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