What if the Bobcats could bring back one player to join the current team? In this mind game, the player can be any player the team has had at any time during their stint with the team.
The Bobcats' short history makes for a very short list of possibilities. And then there's their roster, which has strengths at positions the Bobcats currently already have strengths at. However, I think we can narrow it down to a handful.
First and foremost is Gerald Wallace, of course. Wallace is now a shell of the player we saw for six and a half years, but until he left at the ripe age of 28, he was a whirling dervish of a player. His potential was maximized in the team's sole playoff season -- his sole All Star season -- with the help of Stephen Jackson as a main offensive threat and a solid wing defender that helped Wallace take gambles defensively and eased reliance on Wallace as a scorer for the Bobcats.
It's not a great fit to add Wallace to this team because his skills and weaknesses tend to overlap with Michael Kidd-Gilchrist's. Assuming the Crash to bring back in this scenario would be a young version so you can have value of another five-to-seven seasons at his highest level, it makes little sense if you intend to go forward with Kidd-Gilchrist. I think Kidd-Gilchrist will enjoy a longer period of effectiveness in the NBA because of his rather terrific understanding of how to use his body without having spectacular athletic advantages. Wallace's current unfortunate rock bottom was sudden but not too surprising (see Hollinger's blurb, also mine about injury worries). All that said, Wallace's more reliable shooting is a big plus that I'm not sure we'll ever see from Kidd-Gilchrist with that jump shot of his.
Jason Richardson only spent a little over a full season in Charlotte, but he was a dynamic scorer that the Bobcats could use at the wing. This option is great if you want to just throw any concern about defense into the wind and ride the offense while doing little more than praying the opponents won't score. Richardson's ability to create his own shot combined with his shooting prowess would be an interesting fit on this team, and probably an uncomfortable one too, because with Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller all starting, I'm not sure how much shot-creation you'll need in that lineup. As mentioned before, the risk is an even weaker defense due to Richardson's lack of awareness and ball-watching.
However, if you do want to help the team's defense, a young Emeka Okafor may be more of your thing. Okafor, 2004-05's Rookie of the Year, hasn't developed into a super-stud like his contemporary Dwight Howard, but he's been solid for years. He had an unfortunate sophomore season after ankle problems. Even despite a middling proficiency on offense, Okafor has been a great rebounder and defender year after year, though his value has dropped in recent years because of his hefty contract.
Okafor's fit on the current Bobcats is curious and not perfect either. He plays much more at center and doesn't have the quickness to play power forward. There were two seasons in which Okafor plays significant minutes: 2005-06 and 2006-07. Okafor spent the former missing 56 games, so I'm not sold we can use that season as a good indicator of performance with that sample size of 26 games. However, it can certainly be noted that he played more minutes at power forward than center in those games, according to 82games.com. The Bobcats went 11-14 with him at power forward and 5-16 with him at center. The following season Okafor played 67 games, and went back to playing a majority of his time at center. The impact was a resounding success in that the Bobcats won 43 percent of their games with him at center compared to a win percentage of 30 at power forward. Unfortunately, the site does not have records going back to his rookie season, so that may just be lost to time.
Those are the main three I'd considering if I could bring one back. I think Stephen Jackson wouldn't be a good fit due to his age and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already being there and the rest of the rosters from the annals of time aren't exactly enticing. Having Brevin Knight as a backup point guard would be a cool idea and I've always wondered 'What if?' about Walter Herrmann.
What do y'all think?