The Bobcats were a defensive stalwart. Top 5 league ranking, opposing coaches praising, fun to watch.
Then one of their defensive cogs, second-year player Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke a bone in his hand, and it immediately went down the toilet. MKG left the game, Charlotte lost its lead over the Dallas Mavericks, and the Bobcats lost.
Prognosis is that MKG will miss the next 4-6 weeks, or the next quarter of the season while he recuperates.
That’s led to many questioning the bigger picture: is this good for the Bobcats in the long run?
One camp says yes, that the Bobcats will be innately worse, thus hurling themselves closer to a top 5 pick in the talent-rich 2014 NBA Draft.
The other says no, that the Bobcats aren’t bad enough to contend with the dregs of the NBA for lottery picks, and that they’ll finish either just out of the playoffs or just good enough to nab that 8th and final playoff seed, undoubtedly getting steamrolled by the Heat or Pacers, and giving up their first round pick to the Bulls — which they owe to fulfill the Tyrus Thomas trade.
Which eventually leads to optimizing the roster to suit the direction.
The Bobcats have assets, but they could use more. They’d love to be able to turn Ben Gordon’s expiring contract into draft picks or a young prospect. They’ve got two additional first round picks owed to them that could potentially be sent as part of a package for an upper-echelon player whose team is eager to shed itself of his salary.
Losing MKG makes the Bobcats worse. His defensive presence and rebounding were underrated by many, and while his jumpshot was ugly, his ballhandling and ability to drive to the basket made him an asset.
Which direction do the Bobcats go?
Bradford Doolittle of ESPN wrote a piece that suggests the Bobcats could trade PF/C Jeff Adrien to either the Clippers or Rockets.
Doolittle writes that the Bobcats could send Adrien and a second round pick to the Rockets in exchange for PG Isaiah Canaan.
Why it doesn’t make sense: Bobcats already have Walker, Pargo and Sessions … and why would the Bobcats just throw away a second round pick again?
Why it does make sense: Bobcats could then choose to trade Ramon Sessions and get some decent return.
The other scenario is sending Adrien to the Clippers for Reggie Bullock
Why it doesn’t make sense: Bobcats already have Gerald Henderson, Ben Gordon, MKG and Jeff Taylor
Why it does make sense: Bobcats could then choose to trade Henderson, Ben Gordon, MKG or Jeff Taylor and get something even more in return after acquiring Bullock — a much needed young scorer and outside shooting threat — on the roster.
Ideally, the Bobcats would be able to trade Gordon to a contender for something of value (and that should have been the plan, anyway) before the trade deadline in a few months. This MKG injury, and potential Jeff Adrien trade scenario, could expedite the process as the Bobcats look to either fortify their team via trade or gut their roster in hopes of obtaining a better draft position.