|Photo: AP Images|
This is part two of a twelve-part installment of a Beard and Stache special where we'll be breaking down the top things that each lottery team needs to accomplish this offseason in order to improve heading into the 2012-13 campaign.
We'll update the series daily with a new team in advance of our soon-to-be released Beard and Stache NBA Mock Draft.
We covered the New Orleans Hornets in yesterday's edition, which can be found here.
Now we move on to the team with the worst record at the end of the season (7-59); the team that many people believe (after finishing this season with the worst winning percentage in NBA history) was bamboozled out of the top overall pick by NBA commissioner David Stern and his basketball minions -- the Charlotte Bobcats.
1. Rejoice Charlotte! ... And then draft Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Okay, clearly this isn't what the team envisioned coming into June, and now, as you can tell from the photo above, the team is trying any desperate ploy they can think of to salvage any fanbase it still might have, including by over-exaggerating its excitement over coming second in the draft lottery to the Hornets and earning the second overall pick.
Come on, Charlotte. We're not falling for this facade. You got burned by the draft lottery gods. It happens. Now get over it, throw out the half-drank bottle of spirits you were attempting to drown your sorrows in, and take the proven winner and leader in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Hey, look at it this way, at least you can say you drafted Anthony Davis' right-hand man, his partner in crime, his No. 2.
Okay, maybe that's not the best analogy at this exact moment, but you get my point.
MKG is a tireless worker on both ends of the floor and is all about winning and a team-first attitude. Now, if he can just improve that jump shot of his beyond Rondo-esque levels, then Charlotte will have a nice player to pair with Kemba Walker as the foundation for years to come.
2. Test Trade Market Value for D.J. Augustin and Tyrus Thomas
Augustin is a nice player, no doubt. The problem is, with the addition of Walker, the Bobcats now have a logjam at the position and I'm of the opinion that like quarterbacks in the NFL, only one point guard can lead a team at time. Translation -- Adios, Augustin! The Lakers, Mavericks, Nets (depending on what transpires in the Deron Williams saga) could all be in the market for a point guard and Augustin could be that guy.
As for Thomas, let me start off by saying that the former LSU product is arguably one of the cheesiest players in the latest installment of the NBA 2K video game franchise. Then, allow me to continue by saying that, unfortunately for Charlotte, his prowess on the digital hardwood doesn't quite translate to real life. Not to mention that he has one of the worst contracts in the league right now, especially for a guy whose averaging just over five points, four rebounds and one block per game.
3. Make Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens the Focal Points of the Team's Offense
Don't get me wrong, these guys are no where close to being the next Manu Ginobili or Tim Duncan. Nor will they ever be. But still, Mullens is a seven-foot banger in the paint who averaged just over nine points and five boards a game last season at age 23.
Then you have Gerald Henderson. After the former Duke Blue Devil averaged 15.5 points, 4.1 boards, 2.3 assists and just under a steal a game last season, he quickly become the Bobcat's top offensive threat. In fact, Henderson's teammate Corey Maggette has said that Henderson will be an All-Star at some point in his career. That's high praise -- it's time to make it a reality. Charlotte just needs to continue feeding this man the rock so he has the opportunity to live up to it.
4. Use the Amnesty Clause on DeSagana Diop
How is this guy still in the NBA? What's even worse, is that he somehow finagled his way into a multi-year contract worth almost $7 million per season. Who is this guy's agent? The test tube baby of Drew Rosenhaus and Scott Boras? I'll have what he's having. Hell, I think I could manage one point and three rebounds per game while raking in close to $7 million a year. Sign me up.
Get rid of this ridiculous waste of space, Charlotte.
5. Don't Hold Your Breath, Miracles Take Time -- Hire Jerry Sloan as Head Coach
After missing out on Anthony Davis, the Bobcats are going nowhere fast. Pair Kidd-Gilchrist with Kemba and hang on tight, Charlotte fans. You don't yet see the light at the end of the tunnel (barring yet another MJ comeback of course, just kidding) but if nothing else, you can have confidence that it does indeed exist. Expect, at the very least, another trip to the lottery in 2013 (and maybe a few more years after that) and then we'll re-evaluate. In the mean time, your young team will grow and mature while being mentored by one of the game's all-time greats.