Friday, June 27, 2008

Bobcats Add a Few Pieces

While one could argue that a team that finished 32-50 last year has a whole lot of needs, my Charlotte Bobcats really had two big ones: a point guard to compete with Raymond Felton and a big presence down low to complement Emeka Okafor. Time will ultimately be the judge, but at least on paper the ‘Cats addressed both needs in last night’s NBA Draft.

With the ninth pick, team president Michael Jordan and new coach Larry Brown made the difficult decision to pass on Stanford 7-footer Brook Lopez (who unexpectedly was still available) and pulled the trigger on Texas PG D.J. Augustin. Augustin is small (6-foot even), but he’s a great passer and floor-leader who will provide stiff competition to Felton, who is more of a scorer at the point. Coach Brown is notoriously tough on his point guards, and he apparently couldn’t pass up the opportunity to take the guy widely considered to be the second-best PG in the draft behind #1 overall pick Derrick Rose. The Bobcats followed that pick by using next year’s first-rounder to trade back into the bottom of the first round (a bit of a trend among Charlotte pro teams this year) and select 7-foot French center Alexis Ajinca. Ajinca is lean and very raw, but Brown and Jordan were very impressed by his workout earlier this month and decided that he was worth the investment. Having not really seen Ajinca in action here in the U.S., I don’t really know what to think of the pick, but I trust that a championship-winning coach like Brown knows what he’s doing.

The ‘Cats added a tough defender in Washington State guard Kyle Weaver in the second round to round out an encouraging, but not blockbuster, night at the draft. At least Gerald Wallace is still on the roster. Jordan confirmed that a trade of Wallace for Toronto PG T.J. Ford was being considered at the start of the night, but eventually fell through and saw Ford instead dealt to Indiana. Ford’s a good player, but I’ll take Augustin and Wallace together over him any day. Perhaps this is the year the Bobcats finally crack the playoffs for the first time. Any other NBA fans out there? What do you think of your team’s draft last night?

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