If—when—the lockout does end and the season begins the Charlotte Bobcats could end up being one of the more exciting teams to watch. Considering that the team has been under .500 more than it has been over during its short NBA life, that may seem hard to believe, but it is.
Last season the team did something that is very hard for any team to do. It had tucked its tail between its proverbial legs and dealt away the team’s top talent.
Sound crazy? On the surface, maybe it is. In reality, the moves that were made could not have been better for the future of the team.
These guys are young. D.J. Augustin will be 24 by time there is basketball being played again. Former Duke stand out Gerald Henderson is just 23. Tyrus Thomas, who was traded to the team last season, is 25. Bismark Biyombo is a relative babe in the woods having only recently turned 19. The team’s other first round pick from 2011, Kemba Walker is 21.
What makes their age important is that young players are still malleable. None of them have played so long that they are set in their ways. If they have some bad habits, there is plenty of time to get rid of them; not to mention they’re easier to get rid of now then in five, six, seven years (should they still be in the league at that time).
Their ages, or lack thereof, is not the only thing that NBA predictions say will make the future for the Charlotte Bobcats promising. Augustin was a first round pick (9th overall) in 2008. Henderson was taken with the 12th overall pick in the 2009 draft. Chicago picked up Tyrus Thomas in 2006 with the 4th overall pick. The most recent additions, Biyumbo and Walker, were the 7th and 9th picks of the 2011 draft.
In other words—these guys are talented and give new head coach Paul Silas something to work with and mold into a nice, cohesive unit.
As bad as the negotiations appear to be going between the owners and players right now, I’m confident that these guys will get their collective heads out of their collective behinds sooner rather than later. Most importantly, they will do it in time for a truncated season, much like the 1998-99 season. I think that could play right into the hands of a team like the Bobcats.
With most of these guys being so young I believe that it will be easier for them to develop chemistry with each other than a veteran laden team. Last season the Miami Heat proved that talent does not equate to wins until a team learns to play with each other, In spite of the NBA betting heavily on the Heat, they could not play with the continuity that they needed in order to bring home a championship. Some veteran teams will probably get up to speed pretty quick, but there will be even more (especially the ones that make changes to their roster) that will not.
The guys in Charlotte are young enough not to have the hang ups that those teams will have. They will have a chance to hit the ground running better than most. The trick, however, will be whether they can sustain it.