Yeah, I know...another talking head making predictions. Just figured with all the doom and gloom going around Bobcat Land it'd be a little refreshing to see an optimistic POV:
By Warren Blatt, Sports Network
The Sports Network
Forward Gerald Wallace, who re-signed with the club during the offseason, led the Bobcats in scoring (18.1 ppg) in 2006-07, while Emeka Okafor grabbed a team-best 11.3 rebounds and Raymond Felton dished out a club-high 7.0 assists per game. Okafor, who was second on the team in scoring (14.4 ppg), and Adam Morrison, who averaged 11.8 points during his rookie campaign, give Charlotte two more young forwards with bright futures.
However, Morrison suffered a partial to complete tear of the ACL in his left knee during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Morrison could be lost for the season.
Felton netted 14.0 in 78 games in 2006-07 and is on his way to becoming a top point guard in the NBA, while shooting guard Matt Carroll, who also re-signed with the team in the offseason, collected 12.1 points per game and power forward Sean May posted 11.9 points and 6.7 rebounds in just 35 contests.
Unfortunately for the Bobcats, May is expected to miss the entire season with a serious right knee injury, which required microfracture surgery.
Draft night proved to be an interesting evening for the Bobcats. North Carolina's Brandan Wright slipped to No. 8 and the Bobcats selected him with the pick. However, Wright was not in their plans. as they traded the promising forward to Golden State for high-flying Jason Richardson.
The 26-year-old Richardson is a scorer, but the fact is that his production decreased last season for the Warriors. He averaged 16.0 points, down from his 23.2 points per game in 2005-06. Richardson was hampered by a knee injury and missed 31 contests.
Charlotte did waive veteran point guard Brevin Knight, who inked a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Knight was insurance to Felton and helped the North Carolina product ease into life in the NBA. By waiving Knight, the Bobcats have showed that they have total confidence in Felton, who will be entering his third season in the league.
Managing member of basketball operations Michael Jordan went out and acquired a proven player to fit in with his nucleus of young talent. Richardson, who experienced the playoffs for the first time in his career last season, adds a scorer who has accomplished some things during his career.
Jordan hopes Richardson's athleticism and explosiveness on offense will help open the court for Wallace and Felton. If Richardson is healthy, the Bobcats may have the right combination to get them into the postseason.
Felton and Richardson give the Bobcats a solid starting backcourt, while Carroll and veteran Jeff McInnis are decent options off the bench for Vincent. The 23-year-old Felton keeps improving at the point. He has good size, can score and has the ability to create good looks at the hoop for his teammates.
While Charlotte hopes that Felton will continue to grow and develop into one of the best lead guards in the league, Richardson, who will also log minutes at small forward, is the key to the backcourt. He was acquired to score and make life easier on the younger players. Jordan expects the former Warrior to be a leader on and off the court.
Carroll has excellent range from long distance, as he made 41.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc last season. Vincent will look for Carroll, who will also play next to Richardson, to give him an offensive spark off the bench, while McInnis will backup Felton.
The Bobcats frontcourt consists of plenty of young talent. Okafor and Wallace have to contribute in a big way this season, while Jared Dudley, who was selected out of Boston College with the 22nd overall pick in the draft, has a big upside and could surprise during his rookie campaign.
Okafor earns his keep on the boards and the defensive end of the court. He has had back problems during his career, but when healthy is very effective and makes the Bobcats a formidable squad. Wallace and Richardson have similar games and will make the Bobcats very dangerous in transition.
Charlotte's frontcourt has potential. If Okafor and company stay healthy and put together productive seasons, the Bobcats will be in the thick of the playoff race.
The Bobcats will be playing meaningful basketball in April. The Eastern Conference is improved and the playoff race should be packed with teams fighting for the seventh and eighth spot. The injury to May hurts, but Charlotte can overcome it.
Richardson and Okafor have to stay healthy, and if that happens the Bobcats could reach the 40-win plateau which may earn them the final berth in the East playoffs.
At the top of my opening post there's a line that says "Miami Herald" with an underline...click on that and another page will pop up with the original article. Below the title (and on the top of the explorer bar if you're using that) it says "Posted on Tue, Oct. 23rd, 2007".
I assume it was actually written right before that time...esp. since it references Ammo's injury.