January 26, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Bobcats guard Kemba Walker (15) drives to the basket and looks to pass as he is defended by Minnesota Timberwolves forward Dante Cunningham (33) during the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Bobcats win 102-101. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

How Close Are The Charlotte Bobcats to Competing?

Edward Shuler Jr. recently asked the question “should the Charlotte Bobcats Switch to win-now mode?

Now I’m asking the question, how close are the Bobcats to reaching that win-now level?

It’s pretty clear that even if Charlotte became the Hornets again tomorrow, the number one thing that would put more butts in the seats at the Cable Box is a winning team.

If you think that’s bad news in regards to a possible reswarmification, think again. The groundswell of support for a name-change is there, and if (when) Michael Jordan and his brain trust pony up the $3-or-so million to re-brand, he’s going to want to make that move worth it.

Which brings us back to the prospects of a winning team take the court in Charlotte.

If you’re reading this from the perspective of a non-Bobcats fan, you might not know this, but Kemba Walker is a very good, potentially All Star caliber point guard. His PER has hovered around 20 all season (just two points off what stat guru John Hollinger says is the PER of a bonafide All Star), he’s a steal machine and he’s drastically improved his field goal and three point percentages this season.

The ‘Cats also have Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, an already solid defender. He’s also the youngest player in the league this season, and, despite his gruesome jumper, he’s averaging 10 points per game (oh yeah, and six rebounds per contest, too).

While the rest of Charlotte’s roster isn’t too impressive, the Bobcats have a ton of cap space to work with over the next two off seasons.

Rich Cho, Charlotte’s GM, has already made a few quiet, but very good moves by bringing in Ben Gordon AND a future first round draft pick from the Pistons, as well as signing Ramon Sessions, who’s having arguably the best season of his career as the Bobcat’s sixth man this season.

So let’s recap for a moment.

Charlotte has one of the best young point guards in the league, a very young wing who can defend almost every team’s best player and two solid scorers off the bench.

The ‘Cats also have at least one first round draft pick this summer. If everything works out for them, they’ll probably take a center (Cody Zeller, please). They could also have another draft pick in the teens depending on how the Trailblazers season pans out.

And then there’s Charlotte’s cap space. Gana Diop’s $7 million contract is coming off the books, Tyrus Thomas’s $8+ million will be, because Charlotte will almost certainly amnesty him, and if the ‘Cats do not retain Hakim Warrick, Gerald Henderson or Byron Mullens, $11 million more will be lifted off Charlotte’s shoulders.

That’s $26+ million of new money the Bobcats could possibly have to work with this off season.

I don’t want to speculate on who Charlotte could add, but there are plenty of players this off season who, if added to the mix of Walker, MKG, Gordon and Sessions, could realistically turn the Bobcats into a playoff team.


Tags: Charlotte Bobcats

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewHATEFREE Andrew

    Cody Zeller sounds good to me.

    • Rahshon Gamble

      No Draft Shabazz Or Ben Mclemore or trade down or just let the Bulls take Neol Nerlene

  • http://www.facebook.com/ozzie.soderstrom Ozzie Soderstrom

    I think the Bobcats are so close too being a playoff team. Can’t wait till the end of the season. The Cats do need to get rid of some of the cobwebs. Use the cobweb money on a needed, good free agent. and there are some good ones out there to be had. With the Cats high draft pick, picks, or a good trade, I can see them making the playoff next year. The time is NOW !!!! Do it NOW !!! We’ll have a good young team that can be contenders for years to come. Could be fun once again in Charlotte.

  • Rahshon Gamble

    I think they should Trade Gerald Henderson,Byron Mullens and Tyrus Thomas Detriots pick for Al Jefferson