The Charlotte Bobcats ended their second berth in the NBA playoffs since their inception in 2004 with no victories, an injured star in Al Jefferson, and plenty of youthful errors that led to their exit from this year’s postseason. Despite the list of things mentioned, the Bobcats still will be able to go into next season as one of the league’s best young teams. Steve Clifford did an excellent job by gaining a defensive identity for his team (sixth in the NBA in defensive rating). With All-Star snub Al Jefferson leading the way, the Bobcats also proved to be a formidable opponent on the offensive end, as well.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is one of the league’s youngest players at age 20. Kidd-Gilchrist offers a plethora of defensive tools on the perimeter, and the ability to use his athletic gifts on offense to get easy baskets. In the era of “3& D” wingman, an improved jump shot could propel Kidd-Gilchrist into the conversation of being one of the NBA’s best in this category. Facing the Miami Heat in the first round provided Kidd-Gilchrist with a chance to sharpen his tools, and play against one of the league’s best in LeBron James.
Kemba Walker is also a fairly young prospect at the age of 24. Fans are definitely familiar with the dramatics and clutch performances that he has been able to garner, since his days at the University of Connecticut. His unique ball-handling ability and fearlessness are one of a kind for a player entering his fourth NBA season.
Of course the Bobcats core is rounded out by the aforementioned Al Jefferson. Not too many players in the league offer his presence in the paint. Turnaround hook shots, face-ups, and power moves are just a few things in his repertoire that he uses to expose the opposition. Prior to his untimely injury against the Heat, and even while hampered, Jefferson showed national audiences that he is the real deal.
Armed with $19 million in cap space this summer, the Bobcats could definitely add a few more guys to a talented and well-coached team. Veterans like Chris Bosh, Luol Deng, and Trevor Ariza can come in and contribute to the team immediately, and provide the team with more leadership. It will be an interesting summer for the team, and high expectations are in order for the Bobcats fan-base. Next season, the Bobcats will become the Hornets and hopefully continue to flourish under their new moniker.