So we moved last week, and in a touching ceremony that really made my wife and I feel like family, our historic and beautiful old neighborhood promptly welcomed us with an ancient ritual: burglarizing my car. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this traditional native custom, it involves showering the sidewalk with tiny, intricately-cut shards of your car’s passenger-side window, followed by the delicate removal of your radio, and finally the spreading of your glove compartment’s contents to complete the coronation. In certain cases for those with a prized vehicle, the natives will also open your trunk as if it were a flower in bloom and set free whatever is inside; unfortunately, our 2002 Corolla (with manual roll-down windows) didn’t qualify for this treatment, but it was a special event nonetheless.
Anyway, before I make you all jealous, let’s get to this draft. “With the #9 and #20 picks in the 2008 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats select…a bunch of really angry fans no matter who they pick.” I thought long and hard about this draft, and early yesterday morning I came to the following two conclusions: 1) every one of these picks after the first two (and maybe even the first one) has at least one serious flaw, either in general or with the Bobcats in particular; 2) it’s the 9th and 20th picks, so there’s no real point in fretting about it.
If you concede that our two most pressing needs are a point guard and a rebounding center (and everyone except possibly the team itself has conceded this, considering they were also the same two needs before last year’s draft), then you knew going into this thing that we weren’t going to get a very satisfying pick either way, especially with our higher pick. The options at center were discouraging, as the only lottery-worthy 5 was Brook Lopez, who has a questionable attitude about anything other than Disney characters and—oh yeah, can’t rebound. The other possible center draft candidate was Kevin Love, whose physical fitness seems to fluctuate like Oprah’s and who seems more suited for the 4-spot, where Emeka Okafor is calling home, at least for now.
As for the 1, after Derrick Rose, four of the top five guards (OJ Mayo, Russell Westbrook, Jerryd Bayless, and Eric Gordon) were not even true point guards. This was worrisome, because last year we didn’t even know what to do when we DID have a true point guard: Raymond Felton played virtually the whole year at the 2-spot. The last thing we need is more “trans-guard” ambiguity. Thus, the fifth of the bunch and our eventual pick, DJ Augustin, was a serviceable choice.
Augustin’s size and defense are a concern, but even more alarming were the reports that our incumbent guard, Raymond Felton, is suddenly fighting for his job. Chad Ford even calls Augustin an “upgrade” over Felton!? Really? Size-wise, Augustin is barely an upgrade over David Stern! DJ is one of the few draftees Stern didn’t have to squint up at like he’s reading a billboard advertisement for Gossip Girl and trying to figure out what “OMFG” means. Everyone is asking if the Augustin selection (and some guy named Kyle Weaver with the 38th pick) means we’re now shopping Felton, but what I’m really curious is Earl Boykins. We can’t possibly be retaining Earl with Augustin now, are we? How’s that team practice going to look? For the 5-on-5 scrimmages it’s going to be Arnold Drummond covering Webster.
A clear-cut strategy of “guard-first/big man-second” was illuminated earlier in the day when the Cats obtained the rights to the #20 pick from the Nuggets, meaning they could use it to take from the pool of late-round 7-footers who are generally undeveloped and largely indistinguishable. Except…we STILL managed to throw a curveball-zinger in there by selecting France’s Alexis Ajinca over the more logical choice of Ohio State’s Kosta Koufos. Coach Larry Brown (sort of) explained the rationale behind the pick to the ESPN crew later by saying he “fell in love” with Alexis in a private workout. Besides being unintentionally funny and vaguely homoerotic, I’m not sure if this explanation did much for me. Exactly how bad was Koufos at Ohio State that he warranted a snub from a 5-point scoring Frenchman? Unless points in French convert to American points like Euros to dollars, this move seems a little batty.
And say what you will about Koufos, at least he was guaranteed to show up at training camp. Going that low in the draft puts Ajinca at risk to stay in Europe—let’s hope LB’s love for AA is similar to Andie MacDowell’s love for Gerard Depardieu in Green Card and convinces the Frenchman to come to the States permanently. But even if he does, are we now going to have a bench squad of Ryan Hollins, Jermareo Davidson, and Ajinca? That’s three 7-footers who can’t rebound, and who all shoot/peg the ball exactly like Kevin Garnett’s and-one just before half-time of Game 6, except our guys do it even if they’re wide open (and they miss). Finally, someone better make sure those three, Boykins, and Augustin are distributed evenly along the pine, otherwise we’re going to have a see-saw going.
But for everyone who’s agonizing about what we did last night, just remember, all of this muck and angst is mollifiable if you go back to my Conclusion #2, which is, hey, it’s the ninth and twentieth picks. Forget about the 20th for a second, do you know who the last five ninth-overall picks have been? Joakim Noah, Patrick O’Bryant, Ike Diogu, Andre Iguodala, and Mike Sweetney. With the exception of Andre, none of these guys is destined to make much of an impact, so fretting over these picks is like fretting over which Combo Meal to get at McDonald’s: it’s cheap and it’s probably going to be mediocre no matter what you take, so just pick something and let’s go. And who knows, if either Augustin or Ajinca can do anything other than blow out an ACL, think of it as that rare Happy Meal with the cool toy.
DJ Augustin to the Bobcats at #9
17:19 eaton_branden1 We better take Bayless I swear
17:19 ohara831 Dont know. All that talk of wanting a Center so Okafor can play PF
17:19 Mustachio if its lopez they better announce the trade quick…cause im not sure how long we can keep beagle alive
17:19 Icky Thump lol
17:19 Ammofan Bayless….Bayless….Bayless!
17:20 Tupacalypse k lets make a deal, if we take lopez we all kill ourselves
17:20 swetooth9 cmonnn
17:20 ALong13 Kind of like last years Wright pick…everyone was pissed and ready to cut their wrist, then the trade was announced
17:20 Mustachio ewww suicide pact not my style
17:20 dnbman Beagle… it could mean that that golf chick shows up at games sometimes. Small comfort?
17:20 Beagle BAYYYYLESSS
17:20 eaton_branden1 Is Bayless there? I haven’t seen him
17:20 Ammofan idk
17:20 Dunk stephen a’s english…ha!
17:20 Beagle lol
17:20 ohara831 They dont need Joe to speak mandarin with Yi, he’s one!
17:20 Beagle not quite, dnb
17:20 ALong13 Damn gotta piss….no i’m going to wait
17:20 Hormel If we take Lopez I will cry along with everyone else, I don’t know if I’ll kill myself though
17:20 ohara831 Yi is gone. Why JoeAlexander?
17:21 eaton_branden1 weird
17:21 eaton_branden1 I don’t see him playing pf
17:21 letsgocats! intense
17:21 dnbman who as crazy dunks.
17:21 Ammofan Anyone hear any new Cats trade rumors?
17:21 dnbman here’s the commercial!!!!
17:21 Beagle being an astros fan, i’m going to go shawn chacon on MJ if we go lopez or augstin here
17:21 Ziggy he’ll get KILT at PF
17:21 Icky Thump lol commercial
17:21 letsgocats! it means COMMERCIAL
17:21 Mustachio hahah told you!!!
17:21 Dunk seriously
17:21 jasonits420 lol
17:21 letsgocats! and they’ll pick before they get back
17:21 eaton_branden1 They always do that **** with the Panthers too
17:21 Hormel I like how everyone in the Lottery has gotten draft coverage, but they hardly mention the Bobcats on ESPN
17:22 Beagle yes
17:22 Mustachio who are the bobcats
17:22 Beagle the red headed stepchild
17:22 Ammofan I agre Hormel
17:22 swetooth9 it’s cuz we’re small market
17:22 ALong13 yeah, bet our pick doesn’t get an interview
17:22 ohara831 My buthole is puckering – too damn nervous
17:22 Tupacalypse rofllll
17:22 letsgocats! the redheads take offense
Let me start off by saying I fully endorse Ziggy’s reasons for NOT drafting Brook Lopez. Brook Lopez? Umm, no please. I think the NBA has enough Chris Mihms as it is, thank you very much. Does anyone else’s face light up when they check one of Chad Ford’s 11,000 mock draft models that feature the Timberwolves selecting Brook with the third pick? I could totally see McHale pulling the trigger on this one, if only because OJ Mayo might be the biggest bargaining chip on the board. Heck, if that’s the way their going to go, maybe we can entice him into trading the third pick to us for numbers nine and twenty, and a pile of gently used Cosby sweaters? It’s not that crazy. The man loves Cosby sweaters.
So here it is Bob-Folks, draft day. The NBA draft is one of my favorite sporting events of the year. I love nearly every aspect of it. I love knowing that regardless of who the Knicks pick; the crowd will undoubtedly boo mercilessly (with the exception of Ronaldo Balkman, who everybody erroneously mistook for Savion Glover). I love the fact that Spike is always there, even when the Knicks don’t have a first round pick. I love watching David Stern announce that someone like, I don’t know… Shawn Bradley, is the second overall pick, then watch as Stern and said pick awkwardly try to make small talk between 3 feet of vertical space during that uncomfortable 10 second period that they have to shake hands and pose for pictures. But most of all, I love knowing that for at least one day, Michael Jordan will HAVE to do something that will somehow make the Bobcat’s better. It’s like the exact opposite of Mayday, the annual observation of Sean May getting knocked out for a season.
One of the best aspects of the NBA draft is the draft day trade. This year, the Bob’s have a suddenly not-so-crappy -hand with the addition of the 20th pick. I am definitely in the “trade the picks” camp. I don’t care what happens; whether we move up or trade for a veteran, but we have to make some moves. I like the acquisition of the 20th pick, but only if it helps us move up. The thought of trading a future first round pick with the sole intent of acquiring Roy Hibbert gives me vertigo. Roy Hibbert reminds me of a modern day Robert Parish, and I mean that as literally as possible. I’m not saying the Chief could beat Hibbert in a footrace today, but… wait, could he?
But really, this is one of the few years and drafts where I have very little opinion on what our team does. I like Kevin Love, but I also don’t see how he could go anywhere as high as the third pick. He seems like a ninth pick doesn’t he? This draft has so many question marks. Yesterday I heard Michael Wilbon talking about the Heat considering Jared Bayless with the second pick. Today I saw a mock draft that had Bayless going 14th. That’s a 12 spot swing! I’m really starting to like the unknown element of this draft.
I never thought I would say this, but I am really excited about our second round pick this year. Let me explain: I checked one of Chad Ford’s ever-vacillating mock drafts today, and it included the second round. Who did he have the Bobcat’s selecting at 38? Kansas State’s Bill Walker. In my opinion, Walker would be an incredible steal that late in the draft, even with the knee injury. He’s a late lottery talent with huge potential. Sure, we’re already log jammed at the swing position, but Walker looks like a Josh Howard clone with better D lower THC levels, that’s worth a second round pick right?
… and to put it mildly the Charlotte Bobcats diehard fans go wild!
The rumored target at #20 is Georgetown big man Roy Hibbert