The last time Roberto Gato put out a big board was right after the NBA All Star game. Has anything changed for the Charlotte Bobcats and their draft needs since then?
Well, the order has certainly changed, but almost every name is the same.
Here’s where I think the Charlotte Bobcats should be looking, in order, based on talent, team needs, and potential.
1. Ben McLemore
I’ll be upfront and honest; I don’t think McLemore will be the best player taken this year. I do, however, think he’s a future All Star, so if the ‘Cats do use their first (or only) round one draft pick on him, there’s little chance they’ll regret it.
He’s a big, talented, and potential filled shooting guard who can already play lock-down defense. He needs to get better at staying in games mentally, and making the split second decisions all great offensive players have no problems making.
The ‘Cats should go hard after Gerald Henderson in free-agency, but even if they get Hendo to re-sign, they’ll be able to figure out how to get McLemore the minutes he needs (unless Mike Dunlap is still the coach next year).
2. Anthony Bennett
The reason I don’t think McLemore will be the best player drafted this year, is Anthony Bennett. The Runnin’ Rebel will go down as the best player taken in his draft class.
He’s not great (ok, he’s pretty bad) at defense, but he’s got an advanced skill-set in the post, and the Bobcats desperately need to find themselves in the paint.
He can take the ball coast-to-coast, he can shake his man off the dribble one-on-one, he’s got decent range out to the three-point line, and, of course, he can finish at the rim.
If he were a better defender he’d be number one on this list, but something tells me (Charlotte’s awful defensive numbers, and the fact they seem to lean towards drafting defense first players like MKG and Jeff Taylor) that Bobcats management wants to draft a guy who can anchor the team offensively and defensively.
3. Cody Zeller
Yes, I still think Zeller is good enough to be a top three pick.
Indiana’s offense, for (better or for) worse, was not centered around their big man this year. They took a ton of threes, and relied on their guards too much.
Zeller has what it takes to be a good, even a great, center in the NBA. He’s smart, he’s already got a solid array of post moves, and he’s a good rebounder.
His biggest problem is that he tends to shy away from contact when he thinks its possible. If he gets drafted by a team with a decent forward/center coach, he could be the rookie of the year.
4. Marcus Smart
Yes, he was Oklahoma State’s point guard this season. Yes, the Bobcats already have their point guard of the present and future.
But Smart can play shooting guard. He’s 6-4, 225 lbs. He can hold his own against bigger wing players.
He’s also a solid scorer, and it wouldn’t hurt to have a second distributor in the backcourt with Kemba Walker. In fact, Charlotte already plays plenty of two point guard lineups, so what would it hurt to draft a guy who could fit into that rotation?
5. Victor Oladipo
I have no idea why this guy doesn’t get the hype and praise he deserves.
He was second on Indiana in scoring at over 13 points per game, second on the team in rebounds at over six per game, and he’s an incredible wing defender.
Would it be so bad to have him and Kidd-Gilchrist on the same team, locking down opposing two’s and three’s for the foreseable future?
And the knocks on his game are coming from, well, I have no idea where they’re coming from; He shot the three at 44 percent clip this year. His overall field goal percentage was one-hundredth under 60 percent. He’s athletic enough to throw down full 360, two-hand slams in the middle of a live game, and if it wasn’t for him, Indiana would’ve been ousted in the Big Dance a lot earlier than it was.