NBA Roundtable

Draft Reports: Charlotte Bobcats

In Draft on June 28, 2008 at 8:53 pm

First Round Pick No.9 – DJ Augustin

First Round Pick No.20 – Alexis Ajinca

Second Round Pick No.38 – Kyle Weaver

It was a very interesting draft from the Bobcats but it’s left me disappointed overall. I thought they should have taken Brook Lopez at #9 to give Emeka Okafor the help he sorely needs in the paint. I thought that one move would balance out their roster and give them a nice bump in the stands by allowing all their best players to do what they do best and give them two legit post presences with two wings who have post games. That would have been nice.

Instead they took Augustin who I’m very uncertain about. Then they did a big man in Ajinca who again I’m uncertain about. Then they added Weaver who looks an interesting second round pick.

Let’s start with DJ Augustin. He has a point guard mindset, he knows how to run a team and he’s a winner. He has a lot of skills which are very good. A lot has been made of his lack of size so we’ll start there because everything is affected by it. DJ measured in at 5-11.5 but he does have a good wingspan giving him a standing reach of 7-10 which is just a tad longer than Chris Paul, Jameer Nelson, TJ Ford, Aaron Brooks, Speedy Claxton and identical to Jordan Farmar and Mike Conley. So that should be fine. On the other hand he weighed in at 172lbs and could only bench press 185lbs twice compared to Conley who could go 13 times on the bench press despite his small stature coming into the draft last year. The reason I bring it up is because lots of opposing point guards will want to post up DJ in the pros and he needs to beef up to handle that. Jameer Nelson gets away with being a small point defensively because he’s built like a linebacker, nobody can back him down. It’s not a killer, he just needs to hit the weight room. The real issue is the quickness, he doesn’t have great acceleration to blow past his man which is normally a must for a small point guard. That troubles me greatly. I look at his game and there’s so much to like but that flaw could be picked apart in the next level and it worries me.

Let’s move on to the positives with Augustin. He’s a good scorer with a varied arsenal of moves. He’s a very good shooter either on a set shot or off the bounce making him very difficult to defend on screen and rolls and allowing him more room to go where he wants to get to. Once he gets into the paint he’s a good finisher and it’s because he has a plethora of floaters and pull up J’s to avoid a crowded paint. Augustin is a good passer with good court vision averaging more assists than Mike Conley did when both were freshman. Despite not having great quickness he did beat his man easily enough off the dribble. It’s because he has excellent handle and some great hesitation and change of pace moves. The most important part of being an NBA guard is not having incredible pace but being able to have different gears and being able to change them easily and quickly which Augustin does very well. Clearly there’s a lot to like with DJ but I’m still uncertain about him, I’m looking forward to seeing him play for Charlotte next season and finding out what he has to offer.

I would have made a big deal about how Raymond Felton is already on the roster but I didn’t for two reasons

  1. I’m not convinced he start at the point in this league
  2. Lots of rumours of Charlotte shopping him which are very likely to be true

Charlotte had the worst rotation of big men in the league last year. Watching Jarameo Davidson and Ryan Hollins try to play basketball was horrific. There was no doubt in my mind that Charlotte had to spend both picks on big man and stop this from ever happening again. They could have won an extre 6-10 games on just having good backup big men instead of these chumps. It was disasterous. Well anyway they used their lottery pick on 5-11 point guard instead of a 7 foot low post scorer so as you can imagine I was quite upset. But at least they stopped me from pulling out my hair in a fit of insanity when they drafted a big at #20. They acquired this pick in a trade with the Denver Nuggets giving up a future protected first rounder.

Alexis Ajinca was this year’s workout wonder and it’s no surprise. This guy plays in a grown man’s league and battles grown men on a daily basis. Did you really think he wasn’t going to push around JaVale McGee? Come on. This was always going to happen and the question is – is it just because he’s more used to playing against quality opposition or does he have serious upside? Nobody really knows but there’s an awful lot of doubters out there. After all this guy put up poor production all season long. Any list of his qualities starts with 7-1 and has a 7-8 wingspan and doesn’t get much further. He’s an exceptional athlete who is still too thin (225lbs) and gets pushed around under the basket by grown men. He looks a smart player but an unskilled player. Who know’s what he really has to offer? Explains why I’m uncertain. If he were a second round pick I’d love the low risk high reward situation but this is fairly high risk high reward so I’m not jumping up and down. Hopefully he works out because I’d like to see Emeka get some help down low sometime soon.

Their final draft pick was Kyle Weaver. He’s 6-6, can play all three positions. He was a good defensive player and has good athleticism. He has a solid handle and passing skills. He has an acceptable jump shot. He helped turn around the program over at Washington State. I can’t help but think of Mardy Collins when I watch this guy play which causes me some more uncertainty. Larry Brown should like him, his sort of player. Weaver will be a decent end of bench utility player who can plug holes on the perimeter next season. Let’s start there and see what happens later on.

Conclusion: I didn’t like the pick because it wasn’t the best pick on the table. To boot, Augustin is a player I’m uncertain of in the pros but not against but he has some very interesting skills which could trump everything else. The next first round pick was risky and I’m not sold. The third pick was mediocre (especially with CDR on the board). Jury is very much out and the watchdogs will be watching Charlotte closely next season.

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