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June 25, 2013

Good chance Charlotte Bobcats draft an injured guy Thursday. How that does or doesn't matter.

    There’s a good chance the Charlotte Bobcats will draft a player with the fourth pick who won’t be ready to play until late summer, if that soon.

            Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel (knee injury), Maryland’s Alex Len (stress fracture in his left ankle) and UNLV’s Anthony Bennett (rotator cuff) all had surgeries that precluded them from working out for teams leading up to the draft.

            That’s no big deal, said new Bobcats coach Steve Clifford, but missing summer league and individual work with the coaches this summer might slow these guys’ initial development.

    “To me the workout is a very small part of the whole process,’’ said Clifford, an NBA head coach for the first time.

     “The scouting department has been watching these guys for years. I think the worst thing a coaching staff can do is come in, watch a guy for an hour and say, ‘No, I like him better.’ This is not my area.’’

    Player development is Clifford’s area. He acknowledged last week that losing summer league and other lead-ups to October training camp could slow progress for the fourth pick.

     “It slows down what their role could end up being’’ as rookies, Clifford said. “Guys are going to make their biggest jump the first, second, third year. Especially the guys who are going to be really good.

    “Summer league is a great start to that – not just the games, the practices. I don’t care where they played in college, it’s a different game: You have to be more precise, more detailed, and the rules are different.

    “Guys are bigger, older, stronger. (Rookies are) not going to be able to just overpower people. Summer league can be great for (learning) that.’’

    Certainly that was the lesson in the lockout two years ago. The Bobcats went into the lottery to select Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker. The lockout cancelled summer league, precluded off-season contact between players and coaches and eventually shortened the season and preseason. Games were crammed into such a small window of time that there was little opportunity to practice.

    No question the development of Biyombo and Walker as rookies suffered.

    Len and Bennett should each be recovered in time to fully participate in training camp. Noel said at the draft combine in Chicago he’d probably not be ready to play before December or January.

    That’s not a reason not to draft one of these guys, but it is reason to prepare for patience.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 25, 2013 at 07:49 AM | Permalink


Len. Nuff said!

Go Bobnets!

Posted by: Sec107CatsFan | Jun 25, 2013 9:24:21 AM

Len is a mobile 7-footer who is already very skilled in the pick-and-roll game. The NBA is all about the pick-and-roll these days.

Posted by: Matt | Jun 25, 2013 9:35:42 AM

Go with Bennett. Big, strong, athletic, can shoot and rebound. Just wonder how tall he is but he's got a good motor. Don't know about Len, I don't want Zydrunas at all and especially with those foot problems so early in his career, a 7 footer with foot problems already?

Posted by: EP | Jun 25, 2013 9:47:10 AM

hopefully len is off the board at 4 so we don't have to make that mistake.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 25, 2013 9:51:21 AM

zeller is interesting....never thought I would say that but we need scorers....

Posted by: Scott | Jun 25, 2013 9:58:22 AM

Years ago, if a team had a lottery pick, it likely drafted a starter. In recent lotteries, it seems like teams are more likely to draft a project. What happened to deep drafts and legit first round picks? Is it "one and done" or something more?

Posted by: clthometownboy | Jun 25, 2013 10:05:29 AM

I would stay away from Alex Len. Big men and stress fracture spell disaster. Noel is going to be a bust. He is skinny and has no offensive game. The Bobcats have to get guys that can score. Bennett and Zeller can do that.

Posted by: Jon | Jun 25, 2013 10:21:22 AM

i would like to point out that the pistons and bulls won quite a few championships in the 90's with guys like biyombo and noel paired together.

miami just won without post offense.

interior defense and rebounding is FAR more important. you put noel and biyombo together and that's like putting mutombo and theo ratliff on the same team. it would be damn near impossible to drive against us. you mix that with transition scorers like walker/mkg/henderson and there's a certain recipe for success in play.

more importantly, let's make sure seth curry is wearing #30 for charlotte for the next 15 years.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 25, 2013 11:14:12 AM

clthometownboy - years ago kids use to spend 3-4 years in college before turning Pro's, so it was easier to draft a clear starter (all-star) player with a Top-Pick. That is not the case anymore.

I would be OK with either Len, Bennett or even Zeller. I think Len will end up being a lot better than Ilgauskas and Kaman ever were. I think he can be as good as Bynum in 2-3 years with the help of Patrick Ewing.

My only issue with Bennet is that he is like 6-7 and can't play SF, although some players have survived the PF in the NBA at that height.

Zeller, looks great and mature, but not sure if worthy of a 4th pick, although this draft is the perfect one to reach for a player with motor, size and good offense (like Cleveland did with Tristan Thompson and it paid off really well).

Posted by: RobC | Jun 25, 2013 11:40:09 AM

Why not take Beasley, the number 9 pick (grab Steven Adams) and the 26? The Wolves want Oladipo and that's what they're offering. If I was Cho, I'd make that deal in a heartbeat.

Posted by: Mike | Jun 25, 2013 12:04:49 PM

None of these injured, bust players I want on this team.

Len has foot problems already and he's a seven footer. Red flag

Bennett has gained 20 pounds and doesn't show any focus or work ethic. Red flag

Noel is on his second ACL injury in the same knee. Red flag

Take the safe pick and draft Oladipo. A HEALTHY, hard working player on BOTH ends of the court.

Posted by: D.W.G. | Jun 25, 2013 12:31:25 PM

@Mike: Beasley? Where do you get your "inside information?"

Posted by: Jeff Otah | Jun 25, 2013 1:05:09 PM

Duh! Take Cody Zeller. An efficient post player with a good jump shot. Very athletic. Can play either 4 or 5.

I like him at C paired with McRoberts, or, at PF paired with Biyombo.

Posted by: Airbrush87 | Jun 25, 2013 1:12:44 PM

Oladipo. MKG and him locking down defenders, with a decent interior defense means you always have a chance to win. Almost every playoff series this year came down to defense, after a regular season of up and down. Charlotte isn't in the position to 'build at every level', find your strongest asset and go.

Posted by: Ven712 | Jun 25, 2013 2:20:33 PM

Zeller is looking better and better. Very athletic player with with a good all around game. Oladipo imroved when team started focusing on Zeller.

Posted by: Bobnet | Jun 25, 2013 3:37:37 PM

I would do some serious dealing....

1) Move Ramon Sessions to Dallas for #13
2) Move MKG to Washington for #3 pick - if Porter is taken before Washington picks. Otherwise move him for a top ten pick.
3) Move #4 to Minn for Derreck Williams, #9 and #26
4) Move #9 to OKC for #12 and #32.

So if all goes according to plan we end up adding a small forward in Derreck Williams and we can pick Bennett at #3, Plumlee at #13, Bullock at #26 and Wolters at #32.

1) Walker / Pargo / Wolters
2) Henderson / Wolters / Bullock
3) Williams / Bennett / Bullock
4) McRoberts / Mullens
5) Biyombo / Plumlee

On top of that you add a couple cheap FAs and you have an interesting team. We will likely pick in the top three again next season grabbing our start SF - Wiggins or Parker - or we upgrade PF with Randle. This is why we must move MKG. We will draft Wiggins if we get the #1 next year and MKG will be moved then... So let's move him now.

Posted by: Dom | Jun 25, 2013 3:46:54 PM

I might would take Zeller over Bennett - just depends on how the other deals go down. I think Zeller is going to be a solid pro

Posted by: Dom | Jun 25, 2013 3:49:14 PM

It makes so much sense to pick Cody Zeller at #4, that I'm pretty sure they won't do this.

It makes so much sense to avoid blatant red flags - Len and Noel - that I'm worried they'll stumble upon one of them. It's not so much about what they are losing short term (the focus of Rick's article), it's a lot more about the long term risk to their careers.

If I read Rick correctly - reporting as an insider - it looks like they're interested in Len (ouch!) or Bennett. I'd take Cody over Bennett any time (a healthy big man who can play both PF and C, versus an injured combo forward). Still, I think Bennett will develop into a very good PF; his strength, wing span and skills will compensate for his being rather short, and his injuries don't appear to be career threatening.

Oladipo would certainly be a good pick too, but I think we need to go for a big.

Posted by: Sandy | Jun 25, 2013 5:01:59 PM

i would love it if we got either zeller or noel. I think it's far more likely we end up with oladipo or len.

hopefully the top 3 go len-mclemore-porter and we're in a sort of can't miss area.

zeller is absolutely worth top 4. he has superrstar potential. he would have gone top 5 last year. every year there's a guy like zeller that's sitting there and every scout and gm over analyze the eff out of him and he falls several places and makes everyone look dumb.

i'm blown away at how anti-noel the bobcats fans are. if it's entirely injury related, that's one thing. but if the doctor's cleared him as much as anyone else, he was NO DOUBT the premier talent of this group when he was healthy. it was a no-brainer.

dom, seriously go away with the plumlee talk and the "we need to trade mkg to make room for next year's draft". i know you're only 8 years old, but it's not a valid excuse for that poor of thinking.

oladipo will be a solid pick, but if they take him, they'll get rid of henderson when they should keep him regardless of whether they draft oladipo or mclemore or not. we need talent and we need trade chips. so while I like oladipo the player, I hate what he will surely mean for the progress of the franchise by letting ANOTHER draft pick walk away without compensation of any kind.

indiana is offering their pick to take gerald green. seems like a no brainer. we could buy him out and let him be a free agent or re package in a trade and have a draft pick without having to give up much cash. there will be a lot of nba caliber players available at that point.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 25, 2013 5:33:00 PM

This pick is a difficult one for the Cats because they can least afford to make a mistake with a lottery selection. That being said, I find myself going back and forth with the big men in this draft. I liked Noel the most before his injury. I then liked Zeller the most before the Syracuse game. I had never heard of Len and barely heard of Bennett before the draft began to approach. After more analysis of the four choices of big men(my opinion is the Cats need a big not another guard in this draft), I came to the conclusion that if Len is available at the 4th pick they should draft him. A true center with skill on both ends of the court and especially one who can quickly change from end to end is rare and worth the risk. The Cats would no longer be under-sized for many years to come.

Posted by: will | Jun 25, 2013 11:24:37 PM

If Dom is really only 8 years old he has a very bright future!

I like Len but DWG's "red flag" observation is spot on.

Dollars to donuts the BOBcats draft Len and he ends up missing basically his entire rookie season with that bad ankle.

Posted by: NASTAR99 | Jun 26, 2013 12:11:02 AM

Charlottean...your love for Noel is confusing. So do you not realize this kid is 206lbs, has absolutely no offensive game except for put backs/alleyoops and has had two knee injuries to the same knee? Len's injury was said to be an injury he played on all year til he had it operated on by doctors to str8ten it out for the future and avoid injury problems. Len can do it on both ends and he has Professional pedigree in his father which makes the transition to the pros that much more easier. He is clearly #4 pick for the Cats so much so another team, Caves in particular, might draft him at #1.

Posted by: fakethis | Jun 26, 2013 12:39:32 AM

nastar, no he doesn't have a bright future. he should know by now that you don't trade today's snack pack for the hypothetical double snackpack tomorrow that could actually be a banana. in billy madison terms.

fake this,

he did what len did as a sophomore, as a freshmen. he weighed in at 206 at the combine. he weighed in at (i think it was orlando's) an interview last week at 218. anthony davis weighed what? 222 at last year's combine. while he may be light, i wouldn't call him weak. i would put my money on noel vs. len in the bench.

noel has 2 brothers in football, one has a camp invite with the seahawks as a defensive back and the other plays linebacker for nc state. so his family has a pedigree in athletics as well.

his offensive weakness is very parallel to that of an amare stoudemire. he can score off the drive, he can score in transition, he can score in the pick and roll. what he can't do is shoot with any range, or have a full arsenal of post moves. show me the 19 year old that does. we said the exact same things about dwight howard when he was 19. we still do. he's still effective. and the ankle injury is easily as serious no matter how you put it. you can't predict injury's. you just can't. as much as people try to, for every greg oden, there's a dejuan blair. you have to go with best talent. len is far more of a "sure thing" in that, he appears to be (barring injury) an nba starting caliber center. what he doesn't look like, is a potential superstar. you don't use top 5 draft picks on starters, you want stars. unless you already have 2 of them and are looking for solid pieces around them. that's why cleveland is likely to go len or porter over noel. they already have irving as their 1, waiters/thompson as co stars. they don't want to risk this asset. we should. we should roll the dice. we can always sign a len caliber guy AFTER we find an irving caliber guy. but we have to roll the dice maybe even a few times. if not, we will be mediocre. that shouldn't be the goal. we shouldn't be idolizing the hawks and their lack of championship contending(len is probably horford level talent).

noel is this year's drummond. teams will regret passing on him because of the concerns.

your talking about a guy that was the #1 recruit going to kentucky who has produced consistent nba caliber talent since calipari took over. while they had a mediocre season, nobody attributed that to noel, but to his lack of counterparts of the same caliber. and also to his injury that surely cost them a few wins down the stretch.

your talking about the ability to have the most vicious paint defense in the league. like i said above, imagine mutombo and ratliff on the same team at the same time. coupled with a few guys that thrive on transition scoring. it's such an obvious recipe for success.

and even if you wanted to go the len route instead, zeller is better. way better. there's no argument for len over zeller. EVERYTHING len does well, zeller does better. runs the floor better, jumps higher, scores better, shoots better, turns the ball over less, has more range, etc.

and for all the analytics talk we hear these days.....zeller posted a 30 PER at indiana. and he did what he did with a FAR bigger target on his back than len did.

the only argument for len over noel is that he has a higher floor and more skilled offensively. there is no argument for len over zeller and there are a million more arguments for noel over both of them.

len is the flavor of the week. he wasn't when the games were actually happening but you put the guy on crutches and he looks like a superstar.

Posted by: charlottean | Jun 26, 2013 12:23:46 PM

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