But first, an explanation.
Recently, I had this idea. Seeing as how I think the NBA’s new super duper, nut-crushing luxury tax (which kicks in for the 2013-2014 season) is going to change the complexion of the league drastically, I thought it would be a good idea to take a long look at every franchise and what shape they are in heading into this brave, new basketball world. Yeah, it’s an absolutely massive undertaking, but it’s going be fun and probably more than a little enlightening.
Here’s how I decided to do it. Break every team own by five categories, scoring each on the 0-10 scale. Then, add the total up and rank the teams from top to bottom. Here are the categories.
Current Roster: How does a team stack up as far as talent, tradeable assets and potential, moving forward?
Cap Flexibility: How prepared are they for 2014? Do they have room to wiggle or are they going to need a massive fire sale to avoid paying through the nose in luxury tax penalties?
The Nucleus factor: If it is common NBA practice to assemble a three man nucleus and try and build around that, how close is your team to accomplishing this goal?
Front office direction: How smart are the people running your team? How good is your coach? Will your owner spend money? All this will be covered here.
The Jeff Spicoli (I can fix it) Index: How manageable is this roster headed into 2014 and beyond. Can the cap be salvaged? Is this a team built to win, long-term?
So, there it is. By the time I’m done with this, we’ll have a good idea of who will be where in 2014, for better or for worse.
Let’s get started, then.
SOSB’S COUNTDOWN TO 2014: GRADING THE BOBCATS
Current roster: 0.5
Looking for a diversion? Something to occupy your idle moments, perhaps? Well then, I got one for you. Try to go through the last twenty years of the NBA and find one worse than the Bobs. We’re talking about a team with no stars, no future stars, and nobody with the potential to be anything more than a decent player in the NBA.
Just how bad are they? If you gave my the choice of anyone on that roster, I’d take kemba walker and try and plug him into my hypothetical team as the 6th man, instant offense type.
And he is the best player on this fucking team.
Yeah, they’ve got a chance to move past zero if they win the lottery and draft Anthony Davis, but it’s hardly a lock.
Sweet tapdancing christ, is it bad. Really, I don’t think it’s fair to say the even have one. As of right now, it’s Walker, Bismack Biyombo and their 2012 lottery pick
I’ll say this for much Michael Jordan as an owner: Plenty of mediocre teams have been broken up ovver the years so that they could bottom out and start over, but has anyone done a more thorough job than this? just last year they won 34 games. then, they sold Gerald Wallace off for a DVD player (they couldn’t even hold out for a BLU RAY!) and a couple of late, late first round picks, one they already used on a guy (Tobias Harris) who they already sent out in the deal that landed them Corey Maggette. Oh yeah, they had to give up there only other useful player, Steven Jackson, to get Maggette and Biyombo.
This isn’t just bottoming out. This is some Wile E. Coyote, Acme dynamite shit.
Cap flexibility: 7.0 (graphic from hoopshype.com)
If you are looking for good news as it relates to this tea, well, this is the best I can do for you. Their cap figure for dawning of the super-hard cap era of 2014 is at 8 million dollars, which means, barring any stupid signings between now and then, they’ll be able to spend 50 million to put some live bodies around the top 5 picks they get this year and next year. If they end up with Anthony Davis and say, Shabazz Muhammad, they’ll be in good shape.
Of course, they could end up with Harrison Barnes and one of the Zeller brothers.
Them’s the breaks when your entire strategy revolves around getting lucky.
Back to the shit show.
Here’s the problem in Charlotte, in a nutshell. Yeah, they have a smart guy in their front office in former Portland GM Rich Cho, and a coach who I consider very good in paul Silas. Thing is, the mandate right now is to save money and essentially avoid winning for the next few years. In light of those facts, there’s very little Cho or anyone can do to improve the teams fortunes in any substantial way.
Compounding the problem is the fact that Michael Jordan still has the final say on everything, and he hasn’t exactly shown himself to be any good at this running a team stuff.
The Jeff Spicoli “I can fix it” Index: 2.5
Honestly, there are probably a few teams that feel less fixable than this one. OK, maybe Toronto is the only one, but that can still change is the Bobcats win the Anthony Davis sweepstakes. Essentially, they are in the exact same place Cleveland was last year before they won the lottery and selected Kyrie Irving. Just that quickly, their fortunes improved in a major way. Same could be true for Charlotte here.
Still, even if they get Davis, this is gonna be a long process. They’d basically be starting from scratch, and that kind of thing takes time. Even the Thunder, the league’s current model for rebuilding through the draft, got their ass handed to them for two years (20 and 23 wins in before they started to turn it around, and that’s with kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. The odds of getting two guys of that caliber in consecutive drafts are miniscule at best.
Total score: 13.5
This franchise is living on a prayer. If they don’t hit the lottery, their gonna be pretty much shit out of luck for at least three years, likely more.