LEXINGTON, KY - JANUARY 03: Anthony Davis #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots a free throw during the game against the Arkansas-Little Rock Trojans at Freedom Hall on January 3, 2012 in Louisville , Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
The dream is over--if there ever was one. The Charlotte Bobcats are not going to be in this year's playoffs, nor will they even sniff them. That isn't a particularly shocking statement seeing as low expectations were placed on the team entering the season, but for those that were hoping that this team could make it interesting, well, that dream died, too.
As the season progresses and the Bobcats' record continues to worsen, fans will start--if they already haven't--looking towards the draft. While there is still plenty of time till the draft, fans need to be aware of the stakes in the upcoming draft. This draft is deep. And I mean deep.
Despite this class having an abundance of talented players that are eligible to enter, it is a must for the Bobcats to land a top-3 pick. Let's face it: this roster is a diaster. There isn't a franchise player or even a go-to-guy on the team. Michael Jordan has committed to rebuilding and that process could be greatly sped up if Charlotte has a little luck in the lottery. Bottoming out is the Bobcats' only choice if they want to develop into a top team in the Eastern Conference.
The Bobcats got two nice pieces in Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo this past draft, yet I feel comfortable saying neither is going to develop into a superstar. There are a few players in this upcoming draft that have the potential to be the face of a franchise.
For those fans that aren't as well-versed in the college game, here are a few prospects you need to know about heading forward. All three have a possibility of being drafted near the top, which is where the Bobcats are likely to be selecting.
More after the jump.
Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas
If you haven't heard of this kid by now you will by March. Robinson is having a tremendous season at Kansas pulling down a little over 12 boards a game and is averaging 17.8 points per game. After backing up the Morris twins a year ago, Robinson has been thrust into the starting lineup this year and has exceeded expectations. At 6'9" and 237 pounds he is too much to handle for most college players.
His game reminds me a bit of Amar'e Stoudemire's in the sense that he is quick and can take you off the dribble in a split second. As of now, Robinson has to be the Naismith favorite, and there's a possibility that he could wind up going No.1 overall in the draft.
Anthony Davis, PF, Kentucky
The best NBA prospect in college right now is Davis. There's so much untapped potential that he has and yet he is still a force already. Davis is a shot-blocking machine for the Wildcats and is extremely athletic. His wingspan is 7'4" and despite being 6'10", he can handle the ball pretty well for his size. In the NBA there will be a bit of a learning curve for the 18-year-old, but give him a couple years of experience and allow his body to fill out and you have a future star.
Some have compared his game to a young Kevin Garnett's. While I see the resemblances in some areas, Davis has yet to show much of anything in terms of post moves. Outside of using his quickness to get around defenders to dunk, he is still raw on the block.
Kentucky doesn't play through Davis on the offensive end like you may think. Rarely do his teammates dump the ball down low to him and let him go to work. Most of his points come off fast breaks, put-backs and alley-oops. Put him in an NBA uniform next season and he will be a defensive force right away. Offensively, it won't be there right away but it's only a matter of time before Davis puts it all together.
Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut
Some scouts believe that Drummond is a better prospect than Davis, although I don't quite see it. That doesn't mean he isn't capable of being a stud in the NBA. Drummond already has an NBA body, terrific length and is an excellent rebounder and shot-blocker. While he has shown flashes of dominance in college, there are still times when he disappears in games.
Consistency is an issue along with a lack of assertiveness at times for the 6'11" center. But at 18 years old, that is to be expected. What is so intriguing about Drummond, though, is the lack of quality centers in the NBA. A team like the Bobcats would greatly benefit from landing a top flight center prospect--sorry, Byron Mullens--to build around.
For those that want to check out Drummond, UConn plays tonight on ESPN2 against the Cincinnati Bearcats. It's a good chance to get to see a player that could very well be a potential Bobcat one day.
These are just three prospects out of a deep class and as we move closer to the draft, and see how the Bobcats continue to fare, I will look at other prospects. For now keep an eye on these three, because Charlotte would have to be happy with any of the above.