I’d like to sit here and tell you that this year’s version of the Charlotte Bobcats will pick up where they left off and catapult themselves into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. I’d like to tell you that the team that last year added Stephen Jackson and won 16 of its final 23 regular season games to claim the seventh seed will be a more cohesive unit with that experience under its belt. I’d like to tell you that there are no glaring holes on this roster. I’d also like to tell you that Basil Marceaux will claim the Governor’s seat in Tennessee, but ain’t none of this gonna happen.
Over the years, the reviews on Jackson are as mixed as a Whitman’s Sampler. He seems like an absolute nightmare to play with, and after a few months of blending in, I’m sure he’ll be ready to anoint himself team leader as he did in Golden State and Indiana. From a fantasy perspective, Captain Jack is often terrific across the board, particularly if your league doesn’t count field goal percentage and anti-social behavior. His running mate and clearly the best player on this squad, Gerald Wallace, is poised for another big season barring injury. Crash averaged 18.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks last year and that makes absolutely no sense since I can’t remember the last time he accumulated less than 17 rebounds in a game. Grab Wallace long before your mind wanders in Jackson’s direction.
With Ray Felton now studying Talmud with Amar’e Stoudemire in The Big Apple, the ‘cats have an intriguing situation brewing at point guard, where D.J. Augustin is the incumbent. Newly acquired Shaun Livingston finally appears semi-healthy after enjoying a solid final month in ’09-10 with Washington, and will battle Augustin for the starting spot in camp. Should Augustin not live up to Larry Brown’s lofty point guard standards, Livingston could parlay that good health into serious daylight. Despite Mussolini’s penchant for destroying the wills of his lead guards, it should be Augustin’s job to lose in the preseason and he could prove to be a nice source of assists, threes and steals. His field goal percentage last year (.386) might scare off fellow owners, but I like him as a high upside pick in the 8th or 9th round.
You can thank the Charlotte frontcourt for that odor coming from your computer screen as Boris Diaw (11.3, 5.2, 4.0) is set at power forward and a combination of Nazr Mohammed, DeSagana Diop and Kwame Brown (yes, that Kwame Brown!) will man the middle. I know we’ve said this before, but fifth-year tease Tyrus Thomas has a chance to put up some stupid numbers. I know, I know: for every 12-point, 14-rebound, 6-block, 4-steal game, there are 15 clunkers. But the Bobcats will struggle mightily unless Brown decides to go small and use their athleticism by inserting Thomas at center. I’m hopping on Thomas in the middle rounds, though I’m sure I’ll be regretting it by Election Day.
PG – D.J. Augustin, Shaun Livingston
SG – Stephen Jackson, Gerald Henderson
SF – Gerald Wallace, Dominic McGuire
PF – Boris Diaw, Tyrus Thomas
C – Nazr Mohammed, DeSagana Diop
Up Next: New Orleans Hornets