Playoff Result: N/A
Key Additions: Al Jefferson (free Agent), Cody Zeller (draft),
Key Losses: Byron Mullens (free agent), Desagna Diop (free agent), Tyrus Thomas (amnesty), which were all good things for Charlotte
Projected 2013-14 Record: 28-54 (12th in East)*
What to expect: The Bobcats are a weird team this season because you aren’t exactly sure what to expect from them. Most out there will say you can expect a lot of losses and bottom 3 in the NBA again and that could very well be the case once again. However, what if Cody Zeller is a great rookie? What if Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all make the gigantic jumps that some are expecting them to make? They could very well jump all the way up to 30-34 wins. Is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? Not so much.
I feel the 28 win prediction mark is the perfect over-under for this team because it can go either way and it solely depends on the team’s young guys. If their young players they’ve been building around make that jump we’ll see over 28 wins. If none of them make a jump, or worse, some of the young players regress, then the kitties could find themselves plummeting all the way down (up?) to the most ping pong balls.
The Bobcat signed Al Jefferson in the offseason and he immediately has become their best offensive player. With a team that desperately needed front court help last season to take some strain off of the backcourt, this signing was great for them. He should help provide a more fluid offense to the one that at times could go very stagnant last season. The bench is a mess and the team doesn’t have a lot of high quality players to help keep them in games. The recent #4 overall pick in Cody Zeller has some question marks as well with his defense and shooting ability coming into question. He’s very athletic and fast but nobody is sure how that’s going to pan over at the NBA level.
Matchup with the Hawks: The Hawks are going to dominate this team. The Bobcats might pull out one lucky win if they catch the Hawks on a back to back or go bananas from the field but there just isn’t any case I can make that the Bobcats can beat the Hawks until we see how their team plays this season. I cringe when I think of what Millsap is going to do to Zeller. It’s not going to be pretty.
The frontcourt matchup goes to the Hawks by far. Millsap and Horford is a superior, faster, stronger, and more skilled combo than Jefferson/Biyombo/Zeller/McRoberts or any of the Bobcats big men. However, if for any reason Horford and Millsap were to get into foul trouble or be injured this could be a problem for the Hawks bench big men. Zeller is an athletic forward and Jefferson is one of the best post players in the NBA. This could cause major problems for a Hawks frontcourt bench that, while serviceable, isn’t a defensive monster.
The backcourt is a mess. Kemba Walker was good last season and could be even better this season. Jeff Teague is on a new contract and will be looking to prove to the Hawks that he’s their PG of the future. Gerald Henderson got better with every month that passed by last season but Lou Williams and Kyle Korver are going to have him running all over the place on defense. I give the advantage to the Hawks because besides Walker, the Bobcats backcourt has way too many maybes and could happens.
Maybe the Charlotte Hornets will have better luck in the 2014-15 season.
*predicted record based on Bo’s ESPN Forecast projections for every team