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Season Preview: Charlotte Bobcats


Record:  33-49, 4th in Southeast Division, 11th (tie) in Eastern Conference

Statistical Comparisons:


26th in ppg differential (-3.7 ppg)
5th in steals (7.8 spg)
5th in opponent turnovers (15.2 per game)


18th in the league in scoring (96.9 ppg)
21st in opponent scoring (100.6 ppg)
25th in field goal %  
22nd in opponent field goal %
12th in three-point %  
8th in assists
19th in blocks
13th (tie) in turnovers
Average offensive rebounding team
Poor defensive rebounding team

Significant Additions:
Jason Richardson, Jermareo Davidson (R), Coach Sam Vincent

Significant Subtractions:
Brevin Knight, Jake Voskuhl

Key Players

PG:  Raymond Felton, Jeff McInnis
SG:  Jason Richardson, Matt Carroll
SF:  Gerald Wallace, Adam Morrison, Jared Dudley
PF:  Emeka Okafor, Walter Herrmann, Sean May
C:  Primoz Brezec, Ryan Hollins

Comments:  In principle I agree with the Bobcats' big off-season splash, trading their lottery pick for an established star.  They didn't need more younger players and even if you trusted their somewhat hurried preparation and Michael Jordan's draft savvy there wasn't anyone there at that spot who was going to make a major impact.  As this team's expansion-years youngsters mature it needs a shot in the arm to spur growth, lest they get caught in a cycle of losing.  However I am not convinced that Jason Richardson was the answer to their prayers.  In fact he's about the last star I would have picked for this team.  Richardson was reportedly available to the Blazers had they desired him but they passed on him because his knees had deteriorated to the point that it was affecting his game.  The J-Rich of old could drop 20 on you like lightning before you knew what was happening.  This J-Rich can still drop 20 but he takes a lot more shots to do it.  The athleticism just isn't there.  Plus they already have an athletic, versatile scorer in Gerald Wallace.  Even if Richardson were 100% repaired those two would seem to be competing for touches and shots.  Worst of all, Richardson is a poor defender.  One of the reasons I'm not enthralled with statistically-snazzy point guard Raymond Felton is that he's an indifferent defender.  Between them they're going to put an enormous amount of pressure on the rest of the team to cover.  Emeka Okafor is a fantastic defensive player when healthy, but who else is there?  Primoz Brezec?  Wallace?  Adam Morrison?  Also Felton is a poor shooter himself, so there are going to be a lot of ugly heaves coming out of that backcourt.  Let's hope the offensive rebounding is up to snuff.

Both Okafor and Wallace bring strength to the table.  Emeka's offensive game is starting to rise closer to the level of his defense, making him a dangerous player.  As long as he stays healthy his athleticism will make him a genuine star.  Wallace is a threat from anywhere within the three point line and doubly so on the break.  Between the two of them you are not going to want to see this team running against you.  Then again you can't run if you can't defend and rebound and I don't see anybody besides Okafor who's capable of making that kind of impact.  

The Bobcats' talent base suffers after the obvious four names.  You have to love Fabio Jr., uh, I mean Walter Hermann, but he's not going to carry the team or his position.  Primoz Brezec got overrated a couple years ago and is now approaching non-defense-playing stiff category.  Adam Morrison needs to improve every aspect of his game if he's going to make a contribution.  Even though they look laden with star power this team really is paper thin.  One injury or even a guy underperforming is going to hamstring them but good.

Between the chemistry issues, health issues, and talent issues new coach Sam Vincent may have a long year.  With the increased name power expectations have risen for the Bobcats but I'm not sure the team is up to the challenge of fulfilling them.  They lost most of their cap space in the off-season.  I wonder how much they'll have to show for it.

--Dave (