Fizer's Take: Charlotte Bobcats
So close but not enough... That's what I would say on this team when they came close to having its playoff debut as a franchise only to fall short right through Detroit and Chicago. A lot has made this Bobcats season a bit interesting than before. Their coach is a veteran old man who probably hypnotizes Michael Jordan in every major decision for the franchise. The Bobcats are riding the tide and they are aiming for its first ever playoff appearance. It could be good for the fans, the team and the city of Charlotte, pride-wise or business wise... Pride-wise since it allows the other teams to take them a little bit seriously and business-wise because playoff tickets can sell like hotcakes and earn extra income for the franchise that has Bob Johnson losing a lot of money. The Bobcats are still trying to find its identity and it's not yet sure what it really wants. I was surprised about the Jason Richardson trade they pulled last 2007 Draft but I was surprise in a positive way since it could allow a scorer on the young Charlotte team. Then, since LB came, they have made some huge choices and one was a shocking trade on J-Rich to Phoenix for Boris Diaw and Raja Bell. It was shocking for most fans since they thought J-Rich would retire as a Bobcat but its understandable for most part that they want to get better in the interior and Diaw was a good choice. As a result, the Bobcats did get better and with Gerald Wallace and Raymond Felton running the rest of the show for them, it was clear that the team was different from before. They almost made the playoffs but almost is not enough to make them in, they have to get better next time and make some changes. Changes in the off-season did happen when they traded the franchise's first pick Emeka Okafor to the NOH for Tyson Chandler. A trade that puzzled even the experts. Why would they trade a guy who has played in 82 games for the last 2 seasons and could average a double-double for a guy who relied mostly on Chris Paul's lob in which he gets most points and rebounds? Ray Felton is no Chris Paul and he could not make Chandler any better plus the guy is injury-proned. It is going to be another long season for a team who was looking to be on the rise next year but without a guy who can consistently play defense and consistently provide solid play at the 4 or 5 in Okafor, things look a little cloudy now for the Bobcats. On the other side, it will allow the team more cap space in the near future due to Chandler's contract being shorter than Okafor's. In terms of drafting their players, Michael Jordan is trying to make up for those ugly picks (Kwame Brown in Washington and Adam Morrison last 2006). He is making a lot of tough choices but definitely, adding Gerald Henderson is not one of them. It was a good pick for the Bobcats who needed a guard that can play smart and has an athletic ability. The Duke product is definitely being bullied by the Carolina Tar Heels in the team but he can gel with them easily. Add another steal in the second-round in Derrick Brown out of Xavier, they can definitely compete in the East. With the roster shaken up for the upcoming season, it is unpredictable on how this team will fair. Can they keep their momentum up like the one they did late last season? Only answer to that is IF Gerald Wallace is healthy and Raymond Felton can be a better playmaker and DJ Augustin coming through, it would be a fair season for them. But as far as making the playoffs is concerned, that will probably be a different story.
NBA Draft Grade: A-
NBA Offseason Grade: C
Predicted W-L: 31-51