It was an interesting and entertaining night. Amongst the multiple trade downs by the Timberwolves (I probably screamed KAAAHHNN a dozen times), the seemingly infinite amount of factory produced European players, and the number of times Jay Bilas and company praised and tore down a prospect in the same sentence, the Bobcats came out winners; something the franchise has rarely been able to say in seven years.
It started with a three-team trade that sent Steven Jackson and Shaun Livingston to the Bucks in return for the 7th pick and Corey Maggette. With that 7th pick, the Bobcats took Bismack Biyombo. It wasn’t the pick many were suspecting with Brandon Knight, Kemba Walker, and Kawhli Leonard still on the board. For one, Biyombo was the rawest player in the draft having played only four years of basketball and comes with virtually no offense game. It is a risk to take a player like Biyombo, but Rich Cho, only a few weeks into the job, coveted the Congo native back in Portland. Biyombo wasn’t a last minute decision but rather one researched and evaluated over a long period of time, and this pick goes along exactly with how the new Bobcats GM conducts business. Biyombo could be a defense force one day, his 7’7 wingspan and incredible athleticism make up for his 6’9 frame, and if he is indeed only eighteen, his potential is exponential. To add, Biyombo displays all the indications of a player willing and wanting to improve, and from his comments since the draft he appears ecstatic to be playing for Charlotte. While doubts may linger, fans will no doubt be rooting for him to succeed for reasons beyond what he could bring to the team.
Two picks later came Kemba Walker, the ultra confident leader of the National Championship Connecticut Huskies. Walker is undersized like current point guard DJ Augustin, but what has Bobcats fans excited is potential to score and lead the team. No question UCONN doesn’t win the title without Walker (they weren’t even projected to be that good with him). Walker put the team on his back, and very well may have to do the same this coming year. He’s going to push Augustin, possibly to the point of taking the starting job, and while in the end he could turn out to be only Jason Terry 2.0, with all indications pointing to a hard push for Chris Paul, Jason Terry 2.0 sounds very good.
Bismack and Kemba aren’t the best players in this draft. Neither has future All-Star written by their name, and at least one could be the second coming of Desagana Diop. Right now though, they are bringing hope to the franchise. They are Thunder and Lightening, and while this year will be a struggle, fans will be watching their development closely.