Celebration? or Buyers’ remorse?
I’d like to take a moment to get some readers up to speed if they missed the draft. Charlotte made a huge three team trade sending the team’s best offensive weapon, Stephen Jackson, along with Shaun Livingston and our #19 pick, to the Bucks. The ‘Cats received the #7 pick from the Kings, and Cory Maggette from the Bucks. The Kings received the Bucks #10 pick and John Salmons while sending Beno Udrih to the Bucks.
Charlotte also had a change of General Managers shortly before the draft (June 11) and promoted Rod Higgins to President of Basketball Operations. I’d like to point out that this is the first draft that Rich Cho has ever run as an NBA GM. Cho was an Assistant GM with Seattle/OKC franchise but was not the General Manager running those drafts. Cho was also the GM at Portland for eleven months but did not conduct a draft for the Trailblazers. I’d like to be fair to Mr. Cho and say no one, outside of the Seattle/OKC and Portland franchises, really knows what input he had on their drafts. My hope is that the 2011 draft, the first for Mr. Cho as our GM in charge, is remembered as a success.
I’m going to start my assessment of our first, the #7, pick in the 2011 draft with an excerpt from Bill Simmons diary: 8:13 — Fraschilla on Biyombo: “The problem … he cannot score. You cannot run any plays for him.” Big laugh from the room on that one. Don’t pass him the ball! Don’t even think about it! NO! NO PASS TO BIYOMBO! Later, Fraschilla adds, “High risk, high reward … but he is an unbelievable athlete for a guy who’s allegedly 18 years old.” Even Fran can’t resist bringing up the age rumor. I think Fran just made history: In the span of a minute, he raved about a prospect and destroyed him at the same time.”
Yes, leave it to the Bobcats to draft the guy with rumors concerning his age, a medical red-flag for a possible herniated disc, “squishy” contract issues, and with only four years of basketball experience under his belt. The last time we tried “raw” talent like this, Alexis Ajinca in the 2008 draft with the #20 pick, it was a pretty miserable failure. The problem with “raw talent” at the professional level is that any sport takes time to learn the nuances. If playing sports were easy, we’d all be good at it. But like all things learned, it takes repetition and developing an understanding of the “small things” that are a part of the subject. I think it is totally unfair to ask a guy with what is the equivalent of a grade school understanding of this game to come in and play with the PhDs. In basketball, the NBA is the highest level, so let’s be realistic – Biyombo can have all the athletic talent in the world but that alone will never make him a successful player in the NBA.
The other caveat I have with this choice is this: The Houston Rockets made it clear they wanted into the top 10 picks offering their #14 and #23 picks to achieve that goal. The ‘Cats could have made that trade and drafted a number of combination of players that the selection of Biyombo will always be judged against. With the #14 pick the Bobcats could have selected Kawhi Leonard, Nikola Vucevic, Chris Singleton, or Tobias Harris. The ‘Cats, with the #23 pick, could have selected Marshon Brooks, Jordan Hamilton, JaJuan Johnson, and Norris Cole. There are a few players I passed over, and only picked the ones that our forum members had mentioned as players they’d like to have on our team.
This is another opinion that I find disturbing, in light of what a Houston trade “might” have brought: “Charlotte Bobcats: The Bobcats managed to select both the biggest mystery of the draft in Bismack Biyombo and the most reliable leader in Kemba Walker. Biyombo was a great risk pick because if things work out, he could be a total star, and if they don’t, everyone knows it was a risk to begin with ( HoopsWorld ). ” I guess what we can say is taking a risk bringing in a potential (and let me stress potential) bust is better than drafting two guys, pick your two from the above Houston trade scenario, that in a worse case are “trade chip assets”. The other problem is every site I’ve read has Biyombo playing power forward…the only position where the Bobcats have any depth.
What, besides Biyombo having to have a better career than two potential picks, would have been the point of the Houston trade one might ask? Teams that are rebuilding, as the ‘Cats front office admits, need assets for down-the-road in the hope of mega deals like the Knicks and Nets pulled off this year. Players like Vucevic, Singleton, and Brooks in particular are always likely to be brought up with any potential future trade partners. These three players have a skill that almost always translates from the NCAA to the NBA. Biyombo, on the other hand, is the proverbial one-shot-deal. Biyombo had limited success in Spain with a middle-of the road team in the top division. When you think of the top league in Spain think “triple A baseball” teams to Major League baseball and over the years I’ve watched “can’t miss” triple A prospects wash out of the Majors. He either becomes good enough to justify being picked at #7 and play in the NBA or he’s a bust. Biyombo as a bust has no trade value.
My next article, on the #9 and #39, will have my grade for the Bobcats 2011 draft. Thank you for reading and I’ll see you in the next “My Take”.