Feb 25, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts in the game against the Vanderbilt Commodores during the second half at Rupp Arena. Kentucky defeated Vanderbilt 83-74. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE
The lottery is over. The pain has begun. The dream of landing the best player in the draft and a piece to build around for the next decade is over. A season that saw just seven wins will not result in the top overall pick for the Bobcats. It's a damn shame, but there was a better chance of Charlotte not getting the pick than landing it. Still, this hurts. Missing out on Anthony Davis, a player that is regarded as a franchise changer, leaves the Bobcats right where they started the season: without a face of the franchise.
With management's decision to blow up the roster last season and commit to fully rebuilding, the Bobcats had a lot riding on this draft. We knew that the Bobcats were going to be bad this past season, but I don't think anyone thought that they would be as bad as they were. If it weren't for a slew of injuries they probably wouldn't have been. But none of that matters anymore because the Bobcats will be selecting after the franchise that previously left Charlotte, the New Orleans Hornets.
I'll continue to break down this mess after the jump.
The lottery didn't have any shakeups until the Hornets jumped the Cleveland Cavaliers and left a final three of the Washington Wizards, Hornets and Bobcats. As if it wasn't already nerve-racking enough ESPN found it a fitting time for a commercial break, which caused me to sweat like I was Kevin Garnett in the fourth quarter of a close game. When the lottery returned from commercial the Bobcats were fortunate not to be announced next and make the final two. That's when things got real.
A season full of misery, blowouts, talk of tanking and going down as one of the worst teams in the history of sports would have all been worth it if the Bobcats didn't hear their name called next. But they did. Charlotte didn't get lucky and now the team will have to choose from a variety of prospects and land on one that they feel can help turn the franchise around. We don't know who that is but we do know it won't be Davis.
Davis is the consensus No. 1 overall pick and will go to the Hornets without any criticism of the pick. Michael Jordan, Rod Higgins and Rich Cho will have a slew of quality prospects to choose from, but there is far from a consensus on who should go second overall, and there will be varying opinions from now up until the draft on who the Bobcats will take. As bad as Charlotte needs a star, the franchise also can't afford to take a high risk on a prospect who may be considered a project to start (looking at you Andre Drummond).
The one plus of missing out on the top pick is that it makes the time up until the draft much more exciting. There will actually be a debate as to who the Bobcats will take as opposed to had they won the lottery. That debate will be an interesting one for a team that has so many areas to address and improve. A number of players will make sense and it will be fascinating to see who Jordan and company take.
With past draft mistakes that Jordan has been apart of there will be plenty of pressure on him and his staff to snag the right player. Maybe the most interesting thing that will come out of the draft is the philosophy of the team. Last year the Bobcats had two lottery picks and took a project in Bismack Biyombo, which was said to have come from Cho's lobbying and Kemba Walker, who Jordan fell in love with. Now with only one pick in the lottery it will be interesting to see what player is agreed upon.
Will the Bobcats take a high risk player that will need a few years of seasoning before the pick pays off? Or will they go with a player that is safer and has a better chance of making an impact from day one? Poor drafting has ultimately led the Bobcats to a place where they had to blow it up and start over. The Bobcats strategy in the past has been to take proven players that enjoyed great success at the collegiate level (Raymond Felton, Sean May, Adam Morrison, Emeka Okafor, Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin and Kemba Walker) as opposed to high upside guys that didn't produce as well in college or international ball.
Not all of the players were busts listed above; in fact the only two I would classify as major busts would be May and Morrison. Augustin didn't live up to expectations but he certainly isn't on the level of Morrison and May. Felton and Okafor had their moments with the Bobcats and were productive players, but both were top five picks and never developed into what the team had hoped. And it's still too early to comment on where Henderson and Walker will land.
The one thing that Charlotte hasn't been able to find through its draft strategy thus far is a true star or a player that can reach an All-Star game, which is downright depressing. With Biyombo and Walker on board after last year's draft and the second overall pick in this year's there is hope that that could change. But the Bobcats cannot afford to whiff on this pick with a roster so depleted of talent already.
Let the countdown to the draft begin.