A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

NBA franchise power rankings: #30 – Charlotte Bobcats

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To fill some of the time during this long lockout, I’m going to rank the 30 NBA franchises’ positions in the league over the next few months. What I mean by position is this: I personally feel the NBA and essentially all professional sports, works like a ladder. You have your bottom 10 teams who are far away from their goals, you have your middle 10 in a better spot than the bottom ones but in a worse one than the top teams, and you have your top 5 and 10 teams, the teams everyone wants to be. The goal is to move up the ladder. Good decisions, good drafts and development, good signings move you up the ladder past the teams who make bad decisions or just get old. I believe every team has a relative position on the ladder.

Last February I introduced the “Trade Value Power Rankings”, hypothesizing that the simplest way to quick glance a team’s position in the league is to look at the added up trade value of their assets – total trade value covers age of players, salary, injury history, how they interact with teammates, future draft picks, and so on. Superstars and all-stars have the most value, high draft picks have a lot, legitimate starters have good value, borderline starters have a little value, bench players have negligible value and bad contracts have negative value. Young players have more value than old players, but only to an extent – A superstar old player likely still have more value than merely good young player. Good teammates have more value than bad teammates, but likewise to an extent – star headcases usually have more value than squeaky clean bench players.

In this, I list total trade value, but I also take into account managerial history, financial situation, their estimated draft pick next year and my personal feelings on how teams cores are set to fit together. Here’s the first entry:

#30 – Charlotte Bobcats

Total Trade Value Ranking: #30 (Feb. 2011 Ranking: #30)

Best assets: 2012 Cha 1st, 2013 Cha 1st, PG Kemba Walker (rookie, projects as legitimate to borderline starter), C Bismack Biyombo (rookie, projects as legitimate to borderline starter), SG Gerald Henderson (borderline starter), PG DJ Augustin (borderline starter)

Noted draft picks owed: Port 2013 1st (top 12 protected through 2015, unprotected in 2016). Indebted: Chic owns Cha 2012 1st (top 14 protected in 2012, top 12 protected in 2013, top 10 protected in 2014, top 8 protected in 2015, unprotected in 2016)

Bad contracts: SF Corey Maggette, PF Tyrus Thomas, C Desagana Diop, SG Matt Carroll

Other chips: Boris Diaw (expiring contract)

Management ranking: B-

Financial position: D

Estimated Record next year: Bottom 7

Overall synopsis: The Bobcats began a much needed draft rebuild by dealing Gerald Wallace for what ended up being the #19 pick in the 2011 draft and a Portland 2013 1st. They then moved from #19 to #7 by taking Corey Maggette’s contract for Stephen Jackson. I’m not crazy about the Walker and Biyombo picks, but the Bobcats are in a better place than they were before the trade deadline. Unfortunately they are still in the most disheartening position in the league by my standards and are still in last place on my total trade value rankings. No prospects on their list are in contention for a top 50 spot in overall player trade value and in fact, they have no young players who can be called surefire long term starters. Frankly, the Bobcats starting lineup looks like it should be a good team’s bench. Still, with Walker, Biyombo, Henderson, Augustin, they at least have 4 intriguing young pieces and their 1st round pick next year projects to be high in a good draft, so the cupboard is not bare. Noteably, they are likely to get Portland’s 1st in 2013, but also due to give up a 1st to Chicago likely in 2014-2016. They also have a whopping 4 of the league’s worst contracts on their books in Corey Maggette, Tyrus Thomas, Desagana Diop and Matt Carroll which does not help.

Management/Finances: I liked the hiring of Rich Cho as general manager, though Michael Jordan’s shoddy history making decisions for the team lowers their managerial grade. Financially the Bobcats are in one of the worst positions in the league, clearly having one of the league’s least interesting products in a market that’s never really responded to them. Paul Silas is a respectable choice as coach, but nothing you can give or take away credit for.

Next season: I don’t believe the Bobcats will be one of the worst teams in the league, because they still have a team who’s used to playing defense and rebounding to win which is more than many bottomfeeders can say. Offensively they should be league worst. Defenses will be able to clog the lanes without much 3pt shooting on the team and won’t have to worry about post scorers. I expect a lot of isolation plays for Kemba Walker and Corey Maggette and a lot of midrange jumpshots. An X factor is Boris Diaw. On one hand, it’s a contract year for him and he’s shown up in shape for those before. On the other hand, he’s on the top of the list for players everyone expects to balloon in weight during the lockout. Projected rankings – ORTG: 30th, DRTG: 17th. Record: 25-57

The Trading Block: DJ Augustin looks like the most obvious trade bait with Walker’s drafting. Augustin is a solid player but will likely garner value less than a lottery pick, due to the prevalance of young starting PGs in the league lately.

Projection: Marginally upwards. Another high draft pick next year should help the Bobcats, how much they move forward depends on which pick they get and taking the right guy with it. Unfortunately the teams ahead of them project upwards as well. They could move out of #30 if their rookies play well this year, but I don’t expect anything higher than bottom 3 for a few years. Their best chance to make a big leap forward is likely half a season after the 2012 draft, if they hit on a star rookie and he has a rookie of the year type campaign.

Written by jr.

July 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm

4 Responses

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  1. Good idea, I look forward to reading the rest of the ladder.


    July 13, 2011 at 4:14 am

  2. […] #30 – Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction) […]

  3. […] #30 – Charlotte Bobcats (+ introduction) […]

  4. I am sorry, but that was ridiculous.

    You said you don’t expect the bobcats to be one of the worst teams in the league.

    You said that our coach was a respectable choice.

    You said that you like th hiring of Cho for our GM.

    I happen to know that the Cats are in the middle of the pack salary cap wise with more than twenty million coming off the books the next two years.

    The Cats operate a brand new state of the art arena.

    You rank Kemba and Bismack as borderline starters. That is interesting as Kemba’ s scouting report says that he is elite level quick with fantastic ability to finish in traffic. Bismack’ s says that he is also especially fast, and should be an excellent defender day one.

    How then can we be dead last in the nba in your eyes? I guess you rank the Rapters and Timberwolves ahead of the Lakers and Mavs.

    Randy Wright

    July 24, 2011 at 4:12 pm

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