NBA: Bobcats move on after draft
By Steve Reed
CHARLOTTE — In one heart wrenching moment the Charlotte Bobcats went from having one of the easiest draft-day decisions to one of the toughest.
Had the Bobcats won the NBA lottery Wednesday night they would have taken Kentucky’s Anthony Davis with the first pick in the draft.
Who they should take with the No. 2 pick is more uncertain.
Unlike Davis at No. 1, there’s no obvious choice with the number two spot. That means extra homework ahead for Charlotte’s decision-makers.
President of basketball operations Rod Higgins said the plan is to bring in “at least six players” for workouts leading up to the June 28 draft. Higgins wouldn’t say who, but obvious candidates include Kentucky’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kansas’ Thomas Robinson, Florida’s Bradley Beal, Connecticut’s Andre Drummond and North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes.
“Obviously getting that first pick would have been a big help for them,” said Ryan Blake, the senior director of NBA scouting operations.
“Davis is such a rare talent. You don’t always get a chance to land a player with what he’s got. My father used to say a center doesn’t come around but every 25 years. He’s a guy that may not play center per say, but he can change the game with the way he plays and will have an impact almost immediately.”
That said, Blake cautioned there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
In 2007, not many would have guessed that Kevin Durant, the second pick in the draft, would have a far superior NBA career than top pick Greg Oden.
In 2003, Detroit bypassed Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade to take Darko Milicic with the second overall pick.
“I think you still have a lot of good players and it will be one of those crazy drafts,” Blake said.
If there’s some good news for the Bobcats ii’s considered a deep class at power forward and they’re in dire need of big men.
Robinson, who has an NBA-ready body, would be an intriguing option.
Of course the Bobcats, who finished last in the league in scoring last season, also need guys who can create off the dribble and put the ball in the basket which makes Kidd-Gilchrist an intriguing option as the heir apparent to Corey Maggette at the small forward.
Or they could go after a shooting guard like Beal, who can light it up from outside.
In the end, the position may be irrelevant. After posting the worst winning percentage in league history the Bobcats need help at just about every position.
In a conference call earlier this week former NBA coach and current ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy said of the Bobcats: “You could make the case that they don’t have, at any position, a top-15 player at their position.”
Higgins said the Bobcats were very disappointed about not getting the No. 1 pick, but added the team now needs to shift its focus to finding the next best player with Davis almost certainly headed to New Orleans to play for the Hornets.
Higgins said the Bobcats have had some preliminary discussions about what to do if they didn’t get the first overall pick but said the team will take its time in the evaluation process.
“What can you do but move on?” Higgins said. “The work starts for us. I think number two is a valuable asset for a franchise and I think we know as a team we can get a very valuable player at No. 2 that will help this young nucleus of players we have.”
He also said they anticipate trade interest in the pick from other teams.
“Some other teams are going to call us about No.?2,” Higgins said. “We’re going to get some interest there until the pick is called” on draft night.
The first order of business, Higgins said, will be to decide on a new coach. He said that will come in “the next couple of weeks.”
The Associated Press
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