To the average NBA fan, the Charlotte Bobcats have had a respectable offseason. They drafted Cody Zeller, signed “Big” Al Jefferson, resigned Josh McRoberts, and even avoided taking two steps back by not resigning Byron Mullens. The news of the team changing the name back to the Hornets was also just released making this summer one of the best in recent Bobcats memory.
The only thing that Bobcats fans strive for now before the season begins is for the organization to resign Gerald Henderson to help fill out the starting lineup and roster.
Many are concerned that without Henderson, the team won’t be able to make up for his scoring, defense, and leadership should he leave. But Henderson’s replacement may already be on the roster: Jeffery Taylor
While some may say he’s still too young and raw, Taylor looks as though he’s up to the challenge. The Vanderbilt alum had an exceptional Summer League in Vegas, averaging 20.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.0 apg, and an astounding 1.8 spg. Entering his second season with the team, Taylor’s first year per-36 numbers were extremely similar to that of Gerald Henderson’s after his rookie campaign (11.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, and 1.1 spg for Taylor; 11.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.3 apg, and 1.0 spg for Henderson).
The only major differences between the two were their shooting percentages, where Taylor faired better: Taylor shot .431% from the field and .344% from three-point land, and Henderson shot .356% from the field and .211% from three-point land.
Henderson’s and Taylor’s careers could take similar paths based off of their rookie years, yet the added intensity that Taylor has shown in Vegas these past 10 days could be the difference between himself and Hendo. Taylor’s on-ball defense is also incredible for a player only entering their second season, and will continue to improve with more familiarity of his opponents.
If the Bobcats can resign Henderson at a respectable price, having Taylor continue to come off the bench and develop at his own pace may help him (and the team) out in the long run. If Henderson continues to ask the Cats for too much, it looks as though Taylor may already have what it takes to step into the starting lineup.
The Cats have already had a solid summer. Penciling Taylor in as the shooting guard alongside Kemba & Co. could make it that much better.