Best Case Scenario: 30-52
How it could happen:
The final chapter of the epic Charlotte Bobcats saga could provide a glimmer of hope for the future Charlotte Hornets. Kemba Walker is coming off of a stellar second season and is entering what should be his breakout third year. He needs to improve his shooting (especially from deep) and continue to backup his penetration with good decision making, but either way electric moments of razzle-dazzle are guaranteed. The truthfully hard counter to all of the Kemba optimism is his blatant lack of support on the roster. Basketball is a team sport and no matter how well Kemba plays, this team will struggle with their lack of depth. Unless of course, Jordan laces them up, drops an “I’m back, Part 3” and provides the fifteen a game we all know he could still splash at fifty-plus.
Picking up Al Jefferson was a positive move, but only a difference maker of a few wins. Kemba and Jefferson will likely put up big numbers (by their standards), but in every category other than wins. Bobcats fans should see improvement though, especially behind those two guys. Gerald Henderson, Jannero Pargo, Ramon Sessions, and Ben Gordon will have moments, but all of them are terribly inconsistent.
The biggest wildcard will be Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and what type of player he is ready to become in his second season. He has shown flashes of potential, but will this kid become a star? My gut tells me he isn’t ready for stardom quite yet (if ever).
If this team can find an identity, play together, and enable Walker to breakout, thirty-plus wins is a possibility. If Kidd-Gilchrist takes a big leap forward, maybe this team can surpass my underwhelming expectations.
Or Jordan comes back, again, and they make a run at the playoffs, get the eighth seed on the last day of the regular season, face the Heatles in the first round of the playoffs…and the King of basketball is confronted by the God of basketball.
Hey, I am allowed to imagine.
Worst Case Scenario: 12-70
How it could happen:
When you have a thin roster, the smallest bad break can induce catastrophe. If the Bobcats front office makes a bad trade (insert joke here) or the injury bug stings this team like a hornet, you can expect continued consummate futility.
It will be challenging to keep this group motivated and together if they get off to a bad start. As mentioned in other previews, a hopeless season can turn into a statistically-driven free for all, and with high-volume shooter Ben Gordon as the veteran on the team, it seems entirely possible.
Hopefully, Jordan comes down to the occasional practice and humiliates enough guys to guilt them into improving. This Jordan reference is in no way a joke.
Why it should happen:
In their last season as Bobcats, it will be more of the same for Charlotte. The roster has improved and they have a few young bright sports, which couldn’t be said in the past, but ultimately, they will still stink. The NBA is improving across the board and a team like the Bobcats will struggle to compete with any lower-echelon playoff teams (from either conference) and will need a perfect-storm type of night to even challenge any championship contenders.
There is room for optimism with this franchise. Their young guys will have another year of experience (and hopefully improvement) under their belt heading into 2014-2015. Compound that with a high draft pick in a loaded draft and the inspiring return of the Charlotte Hornets brand, and hey, maybe the playoffs are in the near future.
The other lingering question remains: how long can Michael Jordan’s team suck before he laces them up? We all dare you, MJ. You know you want to. Come on…