Basketball News Services
Today's Charlotte draft preview looks at a one-two-three punch of a lottery point guard in Jameer Nelson, a late first round small forward in Kris Humphries, and a second round shooting guard in Tony Allen. If Charlotte were to trade down in the draft, it could potentially get three such selections. One team that owns the #13, #23, and #47 picks, all of which have excellent chances of drafting the appropriate player, is Portland. If the Bobcats give the Blazers their fourth pick, they could land themselves a young, athletic, yet mature one-two-three punch, all in one day.
Jameer Nelson is no Earl Boykins but he is a relatively short point guard. Nevertheless, he may be the best point guard in the draft, regardless of the fact that most mocks place Ben Gordon and even Shaun Livingston above him. Nelson looked to come out of college early last year and even participated in the Chicago pre-draft camps, leading that camp in assists, but when it looked like he would slip out of the lottery and possibly the first round, he decided to stay in school another year. And what a decision that was. He led his St. Joseph's team to an amazing season and was named the Basketball Player of the Year. Nelson is almost guaranteed to get picked in the lottery though it is not clear which particular team will pick him up. Most mock draft have him going slightly higher than the last lottery pick, which is what Portland owns, but anything can happen.
Kris Humphries has been linked to Boston and Minnesota, his college and home town. Early rumors had Boston drafting him at #15 and trading him to Minnesota, who are still without a draft pick due to their Joe Smith fiasco. Humphries is a nice tweener who could play both the small and the power forward position. Such tweeners are rare and it takes a visionary GM to take a gamble on such a player. For the Bobcats, he would be a perfect complement to any veterans that they pick up in the expansion draft, as he could learn from both the post-up and the swing play of his more experienced teammates. He is also a good up-tempo player and would be a great finisher on such plays.
Tony Allen is a 6-4 combo guard who led his Oklahoma State team to the Final Four this year. His ballhandling is apparently questionable, and his shot could stand some improvement, but he is quick and determined and his drive-and-dishes are hard to stop. He could be in good company with former second-round draft picks named Tony, if he becomes the kind of lightning-quick point guard that namesake Parker has become for the Spurs. If Allen can learn to play some quality point guard minutes in the NBA, he will be a true gem in this draft. Even if he plays mostly in the shooting guard spot, however, he will not be embarrassed against any competition.
So will the Bobcats look to trade down with Portland in an attempt to make this threesome Bobcats next season? It's not unthinkable, especially if the Blazers could be convinced to acquire an unprotected contract in exchange for a quality veteran. In other words, if Portland has interest in either of Miami's big contracts of Eddie Jones or Brian Grant, and are willing to part with someone like Darius Miles or Shareef Abdur-Rahim, the Bobcats would not be doing their due diligence if they didn't at least consider the trade.
The Bobcats schedule will be announced in late July.
139 days until opening night.
From a Bobcats press release: The Charlotte Bobcats will begin forming their first-ever roster during a Draft Week that includes the Charlotte Expansion Selection on Tuesday, June 22, at Founders Hall and the NBA Draft Party on Thursday, June 24, at the Charlotte Coliseum. Both events are free and open to the public. The Expansion Selection Special will originate live from Founders Hall at 7 p.m. EDT and be broadcast locally on WJZY UPN46 and live nationally on NBATV. Live coverage will also be provided on the Bobcats team website, www.BobcatsBasketball.com.
Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer writes: In other words, Duke freshman Deng fared well enough that he's still a candidate for the Bobcats' No. 4 draft pick, along with Josh Childress, Andre Iguodala, Ben Gordon and Shaun Livingston. Of course that assumes the Bobcats stay in the four spot in the June 24 rookie draft, and that's no given. Several NBA sources confirm that Bickerstaff is aggressively pursuing the No. 2 pick owned by the Los Angeles Clippers. The Bobcats' primary competition in those trade discussions is the Atlanta Hawks.If the Bobcats move up, they'd likely draft Atlanta prep star Dwight Howard, assuming that Connecticut center Emeka Okafor goes No. 1 to Orlando.
Rick Bonnell ofThe Charlotte Observer also writes: Bickerstaff emphasized that he only wants young players with short contracts for his own roster. "We're not interested in guys who have three or four years left on their contracts," Bickerstaff said. "The guys we're looking at all have one year remaining ... But they're all very talented kids who need an opportunity." Bickerstaff is calling all around the league, looking for side deals with teams looking to acquire players off the unprotected list, or inducements for the Bobcats not to take certain players. One potential deal, sources say, could involve the Utah Jazz, which chose not to protect Aleksandar Pavlovic, their first-round pick in 2003. The Jazz has multiple first-round picks in the 2004 draft, so it has the resources to send some compensation Charlotte's way.
Patrick Kinahan ofThe Salt Lake Tribuewrites: [Britton] Johnsen's status is not as clear as [Travis] Hansen's. Various reports indicate the Magic made the 6-foot-10 forward available for next week's expansion draft. The Charlotte Bobcats have the option of taking selected NBA players. As of Tuesday, the former University of Utah star had not heard from the Magic.