In my mind, there are four possible paths for Charlotte's last year as the Bobcats.
1. Keep at our current talent level and fight for the 8th seed
2. Upgrade our team slightly, lock up a playoff spot and fight for a 6th seed
3. Upgrade significantly and compete for the 3rd seed
4. Tinker, tailor, spy our way to the most possible lotto balls possible
I'm deadly afraid of Path 1. If we miss out and end up with a record in the 11 - 14 range, we most likely give our pick to Chicago. We also run the risk of Detroit improving and therefore having two picks in the 20+ range.
Therefore, I don't consider Path 1 an option, it's too risky. Whatever we do, we have to increase our ability to control our own destiny. That's the most important part.
-We have a 25% chance of making the Playoffs according to Hollinger (with a projected record of 31 - 51)
-Basketball Reference's SRS has us as the 7th worst team in the NBA
-In the last 10 games we've faced a strength of schedule of .496 and have a -10 Average Margin.
-We've dropped to 8th in deffensive efficiency and have been league worst in January.
To me this is very discouraging. At this pace we are just too close to that dreaded 11-14 range. Again, we must do something to improve our ability to control our own destiny.
The "Plans"I've included a few options in the poll below. Personally my first choice is to upgrade slightly and would be willing to give up the Portland pick for the right deal. If that isn't possible, then I would probably settle for tanking. Take in a bad contract (say Wallace), grab some future assets, and let Kemba, Zeller, Biz, and MKG play minutes. I'd be ok with a big deal but it would have to be perfect. And unfortunately I think the Jefferson signing has really muddled our future "window." I just don't see a team contending with him on the roster.
A few other things I'd like to get on record.
-I think Afflalo is worth a sizeable haul. Just don't think it fits our team right now. Again, our "window" for competing is so muddled. We'd be wasting him if the best we could roll out was Kemba, Afflalo, MKG, Zeller, Jefferson.
-I really like the ideas of Lance and Hayward, but don't think either will be really available. Granger, if he plays out the whole year, is a more realistic target.
-A Monroe/Jefferson front court would not work. Explanation? Defense is 1/2 of every NBA game.
-Biz and Jefferson front court will have a ton of problems. What if the team plays a stretch 4? Who guards the perimeter? Offensive spacing (obvioulsy). I think the better option is to start Zeller. He gives you the energy/rebounding and fast break defense the starting unit currently lacks. Then McBob comes in to the second unit and keeps Sessions in check (lets him play off ball more) and helps Biyombo get easy looks. Basically what I said to start the season.
-I was on record for pursuing Milsap and Robin Lobez. Could you imagine if we had picked up those two? Team would look a lot like the current Blazers (minus shooting at the 3). Would likely have a top 5 defense and a league average offense, and be the clear 3 seed in the East. Just can't build around a center who can't guard the PnR or protect the rim. Not today. Three best teams last year: MIA, SAN, IND... Bosh, Duncan (Splitter), Hibbert. And you can't have any one dimensional players. Which is why Robin Lopez is such a steal. He's a true 7 footer who does a little of everything and is a good rim protector. Think Portland got him for a 2nd round pick.