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June 28, 2013

Video: Rick Bonnell analyzes the Charlotte Bobcats' pick of Cody Zeller

The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell and CineSport's Justin Shackil break down the Charlotte Bobcats' selection of Indiana power forward Cody Zeller with the 4th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft.

Posted by Charlotte Observer on June 28, 2013 at 06:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (16)

Charlotte Bobcats not making a qualifying offer to free agent Byron Mullens

    The first tumble-down effect of the Charlotte Bobcats drafting forward Cody Zeller came to light Friday, when president of basketball operations Rod Higgins told the Observer the team will not extend a qualifying offer to Byron Mullens, restricting his free-agency.

            According to Higgins, the Bobcats would have had to block out about $4 million for Mullens next season to reserve the right to match other teams’ offers for him. With Zeller having similar “stretch 4’’ qualities at power forward – i.e. shooting range out to the 3-point line -- the team decided not to make that investment in Mullens, who averaged 10.6 points and 6.4 rebounds last season.

            The Bobcats will make a qualifying offer to shooting guard Gerald Henderson, Higgins said.

            Mullens, acquired in a 2011 trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder, had a strong early season last year before suffering a severe ankle sprain in late December. He missed about a month, then never quite regained his form.

            The Bobcats made a February trade for power forward Josh McRoberts, who beat out Mullens for the starting job late in the season. McRoberts is an unrestricted freeagent, and said money – wherever that leads him – would be his priority in choosing a team.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 28, 2013 at 02:05 PM | Permalink | Comments (26)

June 27, 2013

Video: Cody Zeller excited to play for young Charlotte Bobcats

Cody Zeller addressed the media after being selected by the Charlotte Bobcats with the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Zeller discussed playing with Charlotte's other young players and for Michael Jordan.

Posted by Charlotte Observer on June 27, 2013 at 10:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

NBA draft video: Charlotte Bobcats grab Cody Zeller at No. 4

The Charlotte Bobcats took Indiana's Cody Zeller with the fourth overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft. The sophomore averaged 16.5 points and 8.1 rebounds last season with the Hoosiers.

Posted by Charlotte Observer on June 27, 2013 at 09:22 PM | Permalink | Comments (6)

Breaking down the first round selections

1. Cleveland: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

A surprise pick at No. 1 overall, Bennett is a big forward who reminds many of Larry Johnson

2. Orlando: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

National Defensive Co-Player of the Year, Oladipo made a huge stride between his sophomore and junior seasons with IU.

3. Washington: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

There was little chance of this Hoya dropping past his hometown team after basically carrying them this past season.

4. Charlotte: Cody Zeller, PF, Indiana

Zeller was one vote shy of being a unanimous preseason All-American, but by the end of the year he was the second-brightest star on his team.

5. Phoenix: Alex Len, C, Maryland

Despite his stress fracture, Len is still the best pure center in this draft class.

6. New Orleans: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky (Traded to Philadelphia)

The biggest draft-night slide, Noel is the best around-the-rim defender but his torn ACL must have scared teams away.

7. Sacramento: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

Disappeared in the NCAA tournament but McLemore was the best shooting guard in college throughout the year.

8. Detroit: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

The obvious SEC Player of the Year selection after Noel missed most of the conference slate.

9. Minnesota: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan (Traded to Utah)

The most exciting player of the NCAA tournament, Burke may be the best floor captain in this year's draft class.

10. Portland: C.J. McCollum, PG, Lehigh

McCollum is still remembered in these parts as a Blue Devil slayer, but he was also one of the nation's best scorers before his season-ending injury.

11. Philadelphia: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse

A deft passer who led the Orange to the Final Four.

12. Oklahoma City: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

The New Zealand native grabbed just 6.3 rebounds per game despite his 7-foot frame.

13. Boston (from Dallas): Kelly Olynyk, PF/C, Gonzaga

Averaged 17.8 points per game and shot 62.9 percent from the field last year.

14. Utah (Traded to Minnesota): Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

A year ago he was considered to be a lock for a top-three pick this week.

15. Milwaukee: Giannis Adektokunbo, SF, Greece

The first foriegn player without NCAA experience, Adektokunbo takes his 7-foot-3 wingspan to the Bucks.

16. Boston (traded to Atlanta): Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil

Desperately needs to add weight to his 6-foot-11, 215-pound body before hitting the NBA paint.

17. Atlanta: Dennis Schroeder, G, Germany

The 19-year-old played well for the German national team in 2012.

18. Atlanta (traded to Dallas): Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

The Miami guard burst onto the scene this ACC season.

19. Cleveland: Sergey Karasev, G/F, Russia

Averaged 16 points in 32 minutes in Russia at age 19.

20. Chicago: Tony Snell, SG, New Mexico

Reminds many of Luol Deng, and could replace him in Chicago.

21. Utah (traded to Minnesota): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

A dominant paint presence for the national champs but did little on offense.

22. Brooklyn: Mason Plumlee, PF/C, Duke

The first Triangle player off the board, Plumlee should learn plenty with loaded Nets frontcourt.

23. Indiana: Solomon Hill, SF, Arizona

Got better each year as a Wildcat.

24. New York: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

Posted 14.6 ppg and 4.6 rpg for the national runner-up Wolverines.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Reggie Bullock, SG, North Carolina

A fringe first-rounder when he departed early, Bullock made the most of his pre-draft workouts

26. Minnesota: Andre Roberson, PF, Colorado

Averaged a double-double in back-to-back seasons for the Buffs.

27. Denver (traded to Utah): Rudy Gobert, C, France

His 7-foot-8-inch wingspan may bring a block party to Utah.

28. San Antonio: Livio Jean-Charles, PF, France

Frenchman's performance at the 2013 Nike Hoop Summit made his draft stock soar.

29. Phoenix (via Oklahoma City via Golden State): Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky

A natural scorer on a promising, then dysfunctional, Wildcats team for a season.

30. Golden State (via Phoenix): Nemanja Nedovic, PG, Serbia

The Warriors can take on this project with such a good, deep backcourt.

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on June 27, 2013 at 07:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Observer internet survey supports Len, Bennett as Bobcats' pick

            This is unscientific, of course, but still interesting: We did a survey on charlotteobserver.com of who you’d select tonight among seven potential candidates to be the Charlotte Bobcats’ No. 4 overall pick.

            So far you chose Maryland center Alex Len, narrowly over Nevada-Las Vegas forward Anthony Bennett.

            As of just after 4:30, Len had 27 percent of your votes (177 of 659), while Bennett had 20 percent (134 votes). Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore was third with 15 percent (102 votes).

            Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel, Indiana’s Victor Oladipo and Indiana’s Cody Zeller each came in around 11 percent. Georgetown’s Otto Porter got just 21 votes, perhaps because of the sense he’ll be gone by the fourth pick and also that he’d duplicate positions with the Bobcats’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

            For what it’s worth, the support for Len and Bennett indicates to me how much fans recognize this team has to find some low-post scoring. You can’t build your future around Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo unless the third member of that frontcourt is a scorer.

            I found the relative lack of support for Noel interesting; perhaps its concern over his recovery from knee surgery.

            And, yes, for all we know the same handful of people kept voting again and again. But with 2 ½ hours left until the first pick, it’s still a conversation-starter.

If you want to vote or see updated results, here's the link:


Posted by Observer Sports on June 27, 2013 at 05:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

June 26, 2013

Charlotte Bobcats GM Rich Cho" "We're very, very happy with MKG.''

    Busy as Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rich Cho is regarding the 2013 draft, he took a minute at Wednesday’s media briefing to address the player chosen second in 2012.

            “We’re not shopping MKG,’’ Cho said in response to a report concerning small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. “I wouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet. We’re very, very happy with MKG.’’

            The website sheridanhoops.com posted a story Wednesday that the Bobcats were shopping Kidd-Gilchrist in trade this week, allegedly in anticipation of another small forward, Georgetown’s Otto Porter, Jr., being available with Charlotte’s No. 4 pick. However, there’s a strong indication the Washington Wizards are leaning toward drafting Porter No. 3.

            When asked if the Bobcats are in any active trade discussions – Kidd-Gilchrist or otherwise – Cho said, “We make calls all the time.’’

            Kidd-Gilchrist popped up elsewhere in the news Wednesday when Cho indicated he might be included in the Team USA mini-camp for aspiring Olympians next month in Las Vegas.

            A source indicated Team USA reached out to Kidd-Gilchrist through his agent, Leon Rose, for possible inclusion after the Bobcats play in Las Vegas summer league. Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker was previously invited by Team USA.

Posted by Observer Sports on June 26, 2013 at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (17)

Charlotte Bobcats GM Rich Cho refutes "shopping MKG'' story during WFNZ interview

    Charlotte Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said in a local radio interview this morning that the team is not shopping second-year small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, as was reported on an NBA website Tuesday.

            “No! We’re not shopping him,’’ Cho said on WFNZ-AM 610. “We get calls about all our players. It’s my job to take calls. We’re not shopping MKG.’’

            The website sheridanhoops.com posted a story Tuesday saying the Bobcats “are shopping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist around the league, confident they will be able to replace him with Otto Porter of Georgetown with the No. 4 pick in Thursday’s draft.’’

            The Observer quoted an NBA source saying adamantly that the Bobcats aren’t shopping Kidd-Gilchrist. Another league source said it’s highly likely the Washington Wizards will draft Porter with the third pick Thursday.

            The sheridanhoops.com story went on to name four potential suitors for Kidd-Gilchrist: The Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks.

            Cho said, “all the teams he listed are 100 percent false,’’ adding “We still like (Kidd-Gilchrist). We think he had a good year.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on June 26, 2013 at 10:07 AM | Permalink | Comments (13)

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 | Comments (23)

June 21, 2013

Video: LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Tim Duncan on Game 7 of 2013 NBA Finals

LeBron James scored 37 points and racked up his second straight NBA Finals MVP as Miami beat San Antonio for their second consecutive NBA championship. LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Tim Duncan spoke after Thursday night's game.

Posted by Charlotte Observer on June 21, 2013 at 02:05 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)