- “Fix It” is a series that shows how each NBA team has the potential to improve, focusing on how team success can be built over the long-term instead of simply year over year. The ultimate goal is to create a team capable of winning consistently for a decade.
The soon to be Charlotte Hornets entered their tenth season in the NBA with a historical record of 250 wins and 472 losses. They have finished no better than fourth in their division in any of those seasons and their only playoff appearance resulted in a sweep by the Orlando Magic. This is the season that it pays off to be as bad as the Bobcats, yet they invested over $60 million this offseason in multi-year contracts to Al Jefferson, Gerald Henderson and Josh McRoberts. This team has been as bad as you can be (literally set the record for lowest winning percentage in a season in 11-12), but continues to invest in the wrong players and wrong coaches (three in three years). Let’s hope that their luck changes when they become the Hornets.
The Good: While most of this team’s transactions have been shortsighted (trading Tyson Chandler for Erick Dampier); they could potentially have three lottery picks in the most loaded NBA Draft in a decade. They’re owed the first round pick of the Portland Trail Blazers if it falls outside of the top-12 selections, and the Detroit Pistons' if it’s outside of the top-eight. With three lottery picks or even three in top-20, they could make huge strides towards respectability and maybe even the playoffs in 2015. These picks, while not guaranteed, give the Bobcats’ fans some hope. This draft represents the team’s best shot at grabbing a star player that they have so desperately wanted (and needed) since their inception in 2004.
The Bad: They could potentially have zero lottery selections in the most loaded NBA Draft in a decade. Both Portland and Detroit’s selections are protected so not guaranteed to go to Charlotte, but more importantly, their own selection will go to Chicago if it lands outside of the top 10 picks (this due to another shortsighted trade for Tyrus Thomas, yes, the one that they amnestied). With a roster that contains very little talent, no history of winning, and their third coach in three years, there is little to be excited about.
The Fix: The Bobcats need to do what they do best, lose games. They have every reason to want to increase their odds at landing a top selection in the 2014 NBA Draft. While they do this, it would be in their favor to sell some players not in their long-term plans. While trading Jefferson and his $41 million contract would be tough, Henderson just signed a reasonably affordable contract (three years, $18 million) and could be a viable sixth man for a playoff team looking for a spark off the bench. Trading productive players is typically not a smart move, but when your goal is to lose and build for the future, it’s a good decision to lose anyone being too helpful. McRoberts, Ramon Sessions, Jeff Taylor, and Bismack Biyombo are all candidates to get moved on this team.