The Charlotte Bobcats opened their last season under the moniker “Bobcats” with a new coach and a positive outlook on the 2013 season. Among those invited to tryout for the team includes some interesting options for the Bobcats should they make the team. Before going into detail about the roster and the roles that the players will ultimately take, I wanted to examine the long shots in camp and try to figure out how likely it is that they will make the Charlotte roster come opening night. Knowing that there are only 12 players that are able to suit up on a given night, I wanted to take players that will make the roster and throw them out for this conversation. So we will look at players like Kemba Walker, MKG, Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon, Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson, Jeff Taylor, Bismack Biyombo, Brendan Haywood, and Josh McRoberts individually at another point. For those keeping track, that is 11 players. That leaves 1 roster spot open for the team, and they have several interesting options on how to fill the spot. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the 3 most interesting players.
Option #1: Jannero Pargo
The Positives: Pargo played for the Bobcats for 18 games last year and was relatively effective in his role, posting the 2nd highest PER of his career with a 14.1. The veteran out of Arkansas would give the Bobcats a 3rd option at point guard behind Walker and Sessions, and has been a serviceable backup in the league. With Pargo, you really kind of know what you are getting, and that can be a luxury for teams, especially at the PG position.
The Negatives: When you know what you are getting, it can also be a detriment to the chances to make a roster, as potential is huge in the NBA. Pargo also posts a higher shots per minute than Kemba Walker, and unless you have the dynamic playmaking ability of Walker, you really want your point guard to be able to distribute at a higher rate than what Pargo showed last year.
Chance He is the 12th Man: 40%. Pargo has stuck around the NBA during his career for a reason. He is a veteran who could add an established voice to a relatively young roster and help with the development of Walker. When you add those factors to the fact that he will be able to add depth to the point guard position, he is the most likely of these 3 players to play a role for the team this season.
Option #2: Patrick O’Bryant
The Positives: O’Bryant was selected in the lottery in 2006, and there is a reason why teams were so high on him. It’s hard to find legit 7-footers and his size would be an asset to the Bobcats if he is able to hang on the roster. He averaged double digits in minutes played per game just once, and that resulted in his most efficient season. If he gets the chance to play, the hope would be that the statistic would continue to show improvement. Coach Clifford also has a lot of experience with big men and could help the development of O’Bryant.
The Negatives: For a 7-footer, O’Bryant does not rebound very well, posting the lowest total rebounding percent among himself, Biyombo, Haywood, Jefferson, and McRoberts. He is not a particularly strong free throw shooter at a lifetime 58.3%, and that is a liability late in games. He has been coached by Don Nelson and Doc Rivers, and both let him go, which is telling.
Chance He is the 12th Man: 35%. Size is always needed in the NBA, and O’Bryant has that in spades. While he has yet to show the potential that made him a top-10 pick in the draft, Clifford’s experience developing players like Dwight Howard might just make this a somewhat logical choice for the Bobcats. However, O’Bryant will have to impress early and often during camp as he has already showed that he might not have the ability to stick on an NBA roster so far in his career.
Option #3: James Southerland
The Positives: Southerland was a deadly shooter during his time at Syracuse, and could give the Bobcats the ability to spread the floor and give Jefferson and Zeller more space in the post. He has true NBA athleticism. Played for Jim Boeheim while in college and Syracuse players generally translate well into the NBA. The main positive about Southerland is the fact that he has the ability to get hot from 3-point range and score in bunches when called upon.
The Negatives: The defensive acumen of Syracuse players has been questioned in the past, as they come from a strict zone scheme and that makes it hard to truly know how well the players will be able to guard when outside of the system. Southerland also doesn’t rebound well for someone his size, which is not a desirable trait for a team like Charlotte that occasionally struggles on the glass. Also, while Southerland is an excellent shooter, he does not really have the ability to create his own shot, preferring to be a catch-and-shoot option.
-by James Boger-
Chance He is the 12th Man: 25%. The Bobcats have an option similar to Southerland on the roster in Jeff Taylor. If Southerland doesn’t show a true defensive ability, it will be hard to imagine him being a 12th man on this roster when you consider the emphasis that Clifford has put on that end of the floor. However, his shooting ability has the potential to carry him into the roster.