Added: Ben Gordon (Trade), Ramon Sessions (FA), Brendan Haywood (FA)
Lost: DJ Augustin, Corey Maggette, Jamario Moon, DJ White
Draft: Michael Kidd Gilchrist (1st Round 2nd Overall), Jeff Taylor (2nd Round 31st Overall)
Free Agency Analysis: Coming off the worst season in NBA history the Bobcats had to improve, but they seem to be building through the draft and did not spend big on free agency. The biggest move they made was trading Maggette for Gordon and although Gordon has an extra year on his contract, it was a solid pickup, because he could provide much need scoring for this team, who have been historically awful scoring the ball. Sessions could start, but will most likely backup Kemba Walker and play around 25 minutes per game. He is a good player, but not a game changer and it was surprising that they would pick up a player who could take time away from Walker, who the team has very high hopes for. It seems odd that they would get rid of Augustin and go for another borderline starting point guard which hinders Walker and loses him playing time, but Sessions is a very solid player and will bring something to the table. Haywood does not seem to have too much left in the tank, but he could start for them and bring his usual solid defense and rebounding,. Him and Bismack Biyombo could make a very good starting frontcourt. However the playing time he will be given would be best served going to the younger big men. Overall there were no game changers, but the team did improve, which is something to be proud of.
Draft Analysis: As previously stated, the team seems to be building through the draft and with the second overall pick, they seemed primed to add a franchise cornerstone. Surprisingly they selected Michael Kidd Gilchrist, who although is a fantastic young player and was arguably the second best prospect in the draft, he does not bring the offense the team needed. However, he is another great defensive player for the team and has the motor, energy and character to take a leadership role and help whip the team into shape. If every player followed his example, they would be a much more competitive team. His offense is not yet where it should be and he has a pretty bad jump shot, but based on intangibles he was a great selection. Taylor was a first round prospect, however, he plays the same position as MKG and does a lot of the same things that he does. He is a great defender and a solid offensive player, with a great athleticism, sound familiar? The selection may be a little odd, but they added another productive and hard working player, and should be solid off the bench. However there were other players who could have made a bigger difference, but it is hard to fault a team for drafting a top 25 prospect in the second round. A very solid draft from GM Rich Cho.
Best Move: Drafting Michael Kidd Gilchrist
Worst Move: Bringing in Brendan Haywood
2012-13 Forecast: Despite a semi-productive summer from the Bobcats, they will almost certainly be near the bottom of the standings again next season. They will not be as bad as their pathetic season a year ago, but there simply is not enough talent to be competitive. Kemba Walker and Ben Gordon should score their fair share of points from the backcourt and Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd Gilchrist should form a very good defensive tandem on the perimeter, but up front they will struggle. Biyombo cant play offense, Byron Mullins cannot play defense and Brendan Haywood is a shell of his former self, so production will be inconsistent. They are adding solid pieces to the team, but it would be a surprising if they were able to top 25 wins.
Overall: They drafted a borderline star in MKG and added extra pieces that will help, but they are simply years away. The good news is that they should be much better than last year, the bad, is that they are still awful. For them to hope to make the playoffs anytime soon Rich Cho and Michael Jordan have got to keep adding pieces, but Walker, MKG and Biymobo is a solid start.