SE division roundup: Bobcats adding bigs

SE division roundup: Bobcats adding bigs
July 4, 2013, 3:15 pm
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The Wizards have certainly been busy this off-season, but how do they stack up with the other teams in the Southeast Division? We start our tour in Charlotte, where a couple of notable big men now call home... 

Last season: 21-61, fourth place; Kemba Walker led in scoring (17.7) and assists (5.7), Bismack Biyombo grabbed a team-high 7.3 rebounds.

What's new: The Bobcats made a splashy Independence Day move by coming to terms on a lucrative four-year contract with Jazz free agent PF Al Jefferson. Charlotte previously updated its big man rotation by drafting Indiana's Cody Zeller with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. It's not surprising the Bobcats addressed its frontcourt this offseason seeing as it was arguably the NBA's worst last season. In conjunction with the Jefferson addition, the Bobcats will amnesty the underachieving Tyrus Thomas after previously not extending a qualifying offer to forward Byron Mullens. On the coaching side, Charlotte dumped Mike Dunlap and replaced him with Steve Clifford, who subsequently added Patrick Ewing to his staff.

Projected 2013-14 lineup: PF Al Jefferson; SF Michael Kidd-Gilchrist; C Bismack Biyombo; SG Gerald Henderson; PG Kemba Walker; Key reserves G Ben Gordon, G Ramon Sessions, C Cody Zeller

Outlook: Jefferson decided not to wait for the Dwight Howard drama to end and ran for the money - and about as far away from a postseason berth as possible (well, outside of Philadelphia that is). With the 28-year-old banger, the Bobcats now have a 6-foot-10 interior presence that can get them 16 points and 9 rebounds a game, but it's still an interesting contract to hand out for a team not on the playoff cusp. Perhaps Charlotte went down a path the Wizards did when adding Nene: get the experienced veteran to show the kids what it takes. Will the combination of the wide-bodied Jefferson playing with the speedy Walker suddenly vault the Bobcats up the Eastern Conference standings? Magic 8-ball says no, largely because the rest of the roster remains largely unproven and uninspiring. Kidd-Gilchrist provides defensive energy, which is key because Jefferson does not. The 7-foot Zeller can knock down shots and is more athletic than most think, but there were better options for the Bobcats in the first round. The two-guard combination of Henderson and Gordon can be decent when all goes well, but the Bobcats can certainly use more help there. With the Wizards improving and the Magic putting together a more interesting young core, Charlotte is unlikely to make a standings rise.

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