Believe it or not, the NBA's regular season is this week. To get you ready, Crossover Chronicles will be profiling a team each day for the next few weeks. This week is the Southeast Division. Today is the Charlotte Bobcats.
2011-12 Record: 7-59
Key Losses: Corey Maggette (traded to Detroit), D.J. Augustin (signed with Indiana), D.J. White (free agent)
Key Acquisitions: Ben Gordon (traded from Detroit), Ramon Sessions (signed from L.A. Lakers), Brendan Haywood (signed from Dallas),
|Kemba Walker||Gerald Henderson||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist||Tyrus Thomas||Bismack Biyombo|
|Ben Gordon||Ramon Sessions||Reggie Williams||Byron Mullens||Brendan Haywood|
|Matt Carroll||Jeff Taylor||DeSagan Diop|
It can't get worse, right?
The Bobcats set all types of records for futility last year during the lockout-shortened 66-game season. Even if it were a full schedule, the Bobcats were on pace for the worst single season in NBA history. That asterisk from the lockout might save the Bobcats from infamy.
Unfortunately Charlotte is tied to that record now and there is not a whole lot the franchise can do about it. So the Bobcats changed their logo and color scheme and rebranded a bit. Michael Jordan used his connections to get the Bobcats featured in a Nike commercial that aired during the Olympics where the Bobcats, gasp, won the championship.
Things could not get worse for the Bobcats.
Charlotte will not be a good team. Not quite yet. But the Bobcats are still building and developing the core that they will build on. Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo went through the trials of last season and have to rediscover confidence in their teammates and keep working hard for the winning that may come later (think Calvin Johnson for the 0-16 Lions in the NFL).
Adding in a great potential talent in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist creates a — dare I say — Oklahoma City like core. OK, Walker is not Russell Westbrook and Kidd-Gilchrist is not Kevin Durant, but the comparison seems somewhat apt. Certainly based on potential alone.
That is all it is though, for the moment.
Potential can be both a very good thing and a very bad thing. The Bobcats are not going to be winning this year. They probably will not be winning next year. Not unless something drastic changes or one of these young players becomes a tremendous superstar. It does not appear that will be the case.
This will be a young team making a ton of mistakes and losing a lot of games. That might be a good thing… or it might not be.
The losing was bad last year. Like affect the culture bad. And the last thing you want from a young team is to learn to accept losing. That is how bad habits are formed and how real problems within the team arise. It led to Paul Silas and Tyrus Thomas nearly coming to blows reportedly in the locker room late in the season. It was obviously not a pretty situation.
The difficult task for Mike Dunlap is to keep the team in a positive, hard-working frame of mind even through what should be another tough season. And that task is made more difficult without solid veterans to show the way.
Ben Gordon will be a professional, but he is not quite the example-setting leader a young team like this needs in the locker room. Thomas certainly is not that. And nobody is quite sure what Brendan Haywood will give to this team. There are still a lot of questions about this team's future.
The awfulness happened once, it certainly can happen again.
While adding Ben Gordon, Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood should add stability to a young lineup, this is still a team relying on a lot of young players and a lot of hope in the potential of those young players. Charlotte needs Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo to make big strides and show a lot of hope for the future.
But that is the problem with relying on young players. Young players are still learning the game and still developing. That leads to inconsistency and that is not what the Bobcats need to get out of the basement.
There will be a steep learning curve for al ot of these players — and even coach Mike Dunlap. That leaves the distinct possibility that another disastrous season could be on the horizon for Charlotte. And that should be somewhat unsettling for Michael Jordan and the Bobcats organization.
Have thoughts or predictions on the Bobcats? Leave them in the comments below or drop us a line @CrossoverNBA on Twitter or join the discussion by using the hashtag #BobcatsDay. We will be back with a closer look at the Bobcats throughout the day.