23
Oct
07

Charlotte Bobcats Preview

Charlotte has a new coach, a legit scorer in Jason Richardson and they have hopes of their first playoff appearance. In the fantasy world, there are plenty of things to like about this team. Gerald Wallace is fantastic, but will the presence of JR hurt his fantasy value? Let’s look at it:

Projected starting lineup with last year’s stats:
Stats follow this format – Points, Rebounds, Assists, Steals, Blocks, FG percentage & Minutes

PG – Raymond Felton
14 – 3.4 – 7 – 1.51 – 0.13 – 38% & 36 min

SG – Jason Richardson
16 – 5.1 – 3.4 – 1.06 – 0.63 – 42% & 33 min

SF – Gerald Wallace
18.1 – 7.2 – 2.6 – 2 – 0.96 – 50% & 37 min

PF – Emeka Okafor
14.4 – 11.3 – 1.2 – 0.85 – 2.57 – 53% & 35 min

C – Ryan Hollins
2.4 – 1.1 – 0 – 0.15 – 0.26 – 56% & 7 min

Key Bench Players

Walter Hermann
Matt Carroll
Jeff McInnis
Primoz Brezec

The Bobcats have gotten much thinner this preseason with the loss of Sean May and Adam Morrison. That will give more value to certain starting players and give some good opportunities for some great sleepers.

PG
Felton was tagged as a breakout candidate last season, but failed to meet expectations. That was because he was asked to share duties with Brevin Knight. Yes, he played 36 minutes per game last year, but he played a lot of those minutes at the SG position, which he is undersized at and his percentages are not good enough to be effective at that spot. Knight is gone, so the PG is all his, which is good. I expect good things from him this year. He scoring will likely stay the same, maybe even dip a little, with JR on the team and Emeka and Gerald blossoming into their offensive game, but his assists will definitely be up, as will his percentages. Jeff McInns is only on the list, because someone has to back up Raymond and he’s all they really have.

SG
They traded for Richardson and I think it was a very good trade. The Bobcats cannot afford to wait and develop young talent anymore (although they need to learn to draft better, Morrison was and will always remain to be a horrible pick). JR will average in the 20’s again. In fact, I expect the same type of year he had two seasons ago, 23, 5 & 3. He is very good and a special scorer, just what Charlotte needed. Matt Carroll will back him up, but don’t expect the same numbers he had last year. Carroll was good, he won’t do much more than a hired sniper from the three this year.

SF
I love Gerald Wallace, although he tends to be overrated in fantasy drafts. Last year, he had a slow start, but it was because of the presence of Okafor and May. Once May went down, Wallace’s stats started to pickup. Once Okafor went down, he exploded!! He is great from the PF spot, where he is much quicker and explosive than the other forwards guarding him, but he struggled to score when May and Okafor were manning the middle. This year, May is hurt, which is good for Gerald, but they have Richardson and we’ll have to see what offensive game Okafor brings. Plus they have JR, who will be the primary go to guy in Charlotte. So I do not expect the same offensive numbers as this year, unless someone gets hurt, then he’ll explode again. Don’t get me wrong, he will be good regardless, but I just think he’s overrated. PLUS, he goes by Crash for a reason. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, I would draft him. Okafor has never played a full season and Richardson is also very injury prone. If either of those guys goes down, he’s the man. Take him and don’t look back.

gerald-wallace.png

PF
Emeka has never been healthy, he has never been a dominant force on the offensive end, but he’s a blocking machine and will get you a ton of boards. He showed great promise in his offense the first month of last year, but he fell of as the year went on. Let’s hope he worked just as hard on it this off-season and comes out blazing again. Walter Hermann is the backup here, and I actually think he should be the starting PF and put Emeka at center, but that’s just me. Hermann is your typical Argentinean. He’s a hustler, gritty and has not fear. He is very effective at scoring the basketball, though not one of his strengths and he is a very good rebounder. Charlotte is starting Ryan Hollins at center right now, but I don’t think it will be long before they realize they need Hermann on the court as much as possible. Draft him late and you’ll be very happy.

emeka-okafor.png

C
Ryan Hollins is slated as the starter. He’s very raw offensively but he is pretty athletic for his size, at least when compared to Primoz, and he is a good hustler, thus the coach likes him, but he’s not the answer, at least not this season. See my comments above about Hermann. Primoz is his backup and he’s obviously not the answer either. Stay away from both.

I’ll be watching the Bobcats all year, and hopefully will have one of them on my team, because they’ll be pretty good this year. They will likely make the playoffs, IF everyone can stay healthy, which is proving to be a very BIG IF so far in the preseason.

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