Should The Charlotte Bobcats Switch To Win Now Mode?


December 21, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Charlotte Bobcats head coach Mike Dunlap instructs during the first quarter against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena. The Warriors defeated the Bobcats 115-100. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There’s been five head coaches of the Charlotte Bobcats in the team’s nine season existence.

The Bobcats have one season with a winning record. Sean May, D.J. Augustin, Alexis Ajinca and two-time NBA Champion Adam Morrison make up a third of the Bobcats first round draft picks. For eight straight seasons the Bobcats were in the bottom ten of attendance.

There are always multiple teams in the league fighting for another season, and the Bobcats have consistently been apart of that crowd.

It’s easy to say a team is rebuilding. Lost in the shuffle of hyping young talent with mystique and draft picks is that rebuilding is an art. Everybody is not good at art, but the Oklahoma City Thunder for example, were Leonardo Da Vinci.

Every struggling team looked at the Thunder’s rebuilding model, or painting if you will and tried to take different techniques from it to help them with their art. The Bobcats hired Rich Cho, former assistant general manager of the Thunder and one of the key figures in Oklahoma City’s rebuild. To Bobcats fans, Cho has one thing


It’s a word Bobcats fans are all too familiar with over the past nine years. Cho’s action’s so far have given fans decent reason to be patient. But is the progress being made off the court the same as on the court?

Kemba Walker’s given Bobcats fans a young player they can get behind. His acrobatic drives and scoring barrages give life to an otherwise dull Time Warner Cable Arena. Walker, on a half-way decent team, could have made a legitimate case for an all-star appearance. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looks like a promising glue guy in similar ways Gerald Wallace was in the Queen City for multiple years.

After Walker and Kidd-Gilchrist, the rest of the team is a questionmark.

Gerald Henderson is among a lot of trade speculation and could be in his last season in Charlotte. Bismack Biyombo hasn’t taken a step forward in his game. Jeffrey Taylor could be a second round steal, but needs a more consistent role among a crowded perimeter. Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood are good veterans, but expendable going forward.

The Bobcats need to compete now.

This doesn’t mean winning an NBA Championship, but putting together a team that’s expected to be a perennial playoff team. The current team wasn’t expected to make the playoffs. In fact, only one team in the Bobcats history was really expected to, and they did. With one of the lowest payrolls in the league, at least one high draft pick from this year, a few promising young players, and competent veterans, the Bobcats have a better structure than most for not just a rebuilding project, but quickly turning around their fortune.

Relevant NBA talents have been linked to the Bobcats in trade rumors this year. Seeing Rudy Gay or DeMarcus Cousins in a Charlotte uniform would be nice, though those dreams have bursted for now. There’s always a chance of those names being revisited in the offseason, and if they are I hope the Bobcats are aggressive in their talks.

Aggressive. That’s the type of offseason I want to see from the Bobcats in the summer. How many times has this team gone all out to upgrade the roster? The Bobcats could have over $20 million to spend in free agency as well as another top rookie. Theoretically, this summer could see a lot of talent upgrades and the seeds being planted for a sincere growth of this team.

Past the players, Mike Dunlap’s coaching job might be something that should be reconsidered. Aside from a few bright spots like perimeter play and getting to the free throw line, the Bobcats haven’t progressed much in terms of execution and consistency. With veteran head coaches like Avery Johnson, Nate McMillian, Stan Van Gundy, Mike Brown and others available, Charlotte could get a much more basketball savvy coach to grasp immediate improvement.

Patience is nice. I’m sure there are plenty of fans who are content watching a slow rebuilding project, being reminded of the future and the mistakes that inexperienced players and coaches will make. Mistakes have ultimately become an identity of this Bobcats organization.

The biggest mistake could be not trying to take advantage of your assets and resources to pushing the Bobcats into becoming a playoff contender in 2013-14.