This season has been woeful. It's been hard to stomach, even. Injuries, a lock-out shortened season, lack of training camp and simply having subpar talent have sent us careening to the worst record in the NBA and staring down what may be one of the all time worst seasons in NBA history. It's bad, folks. But there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
We all know the Bobcats are in rebuilding mode and most of us knew we were looking at a high lottery pick coming into the 2012 draft. We didn't know that we'd be getting blown out by twenty plus points on a regular basis. In all honesty, were it not for injuries, we probably wouldn't be.
Which brings us to our first reason to be optimistic about the Bobcats:
with a healthy roster, our lineup doesn't look so terrible on paper.
DJ Augustin/Kemba Walker/Corey Higgins
Boris Diaw/DJ White/Tyrus again
That's a lineup that should never get blown out and could compete on a nightly basis. That's more like a 10 win team at this point, not a 3 win team. I don't know when we'll have all our players healthy again, but it certaintly can't happen soon enough. Maybe the last two months of the season will be watchable basketball.
The second reason to be optimistic is the reason most everyone is looking past this season and it's the 2012 NBA draft. We're assured a top 4 pick with the worst record, which is good, because the top 4 picks look like they might be franchise players. Really, the top 8 picks all look like future all-stars, so we're in a pretty good position. I want us to draft Anthony Davis if we pick first, but there are plenty of players we can have if we're not picking at the top of the lottery.
Why else should we be optimistic? Well, after this season, 17.5 million come off the books. Even more if we're able to amnesty someone (Tyrus!) With the new CBA rules, 17.5 million is a whole heckuva lot. 2012 and 2013 both bring a cornucopia of quality free agents and the Bobcats have a shot at several of them. After looking around at other teams cap situations, it looks like the Celtics, Nets, Pacers and Raptors will be working with 15 million under the cap. The Mavs and Spurs will probably have no problem venturing into luxury tax land and Orlando will need to go over the cap to sign a marquee player if they can't retain Howard and/or rid themselves of Hedo.
Dwight Howard, Deron Williams, Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez, Nic Batum, Danilo Gallinari, JaVale McGhee, Roy Hibbert, OJ Mayo and a few others are all players we should be looking at. Or, if Dwight and Deron both decide to excersize their options, then we can simply sign one free agent and then work on clearing even more space for the even more lucrative 2013 draft. This is actually the best situation for us because there will be so many more elite free agents, Howard and Williams included, that we'll benefit simply by the trickle down effect. Either way, outside of Dwight and Deron, none of the 2012 free agents I listed can make more than 9 million dollars unless their teams excersize their Bird rights in a sign and trade.
The biggest reason to be optimistic, though? In two years, Boris Diaw, DeSagana Diop, Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera will no longer be Charlotte Bobcats. If that isn't reason to be hopeful about the future, I don't know what is.