The last time the Charlotte Bobcats were on the floor we were witnessing the lowest point in the franchise’s history. A 7-59 record and the worst win percentage in NBA History left a sour taste heading into the offseason but now a lot of things have changed. The Bobcats open up summer league play tonight in Las Vegas and there are a lot of new things to keep an eye on. So let’s take a look at some key things to watch throughout these summer league games.
- First, there is a new guy at the helm. Normally in summer league games an assistant will coach the young roster but new head coach Mike Dunlap has changed that and will coach all five games out in Las Vegas. Dunlap was a surprise hire but early on he has already shown that his work ethic is unquestioned and he is ready to get down to business. Dunlap wants to use this time to bring his team closer together and to start introducing the style of basketball he would like to play.
- Next let’s take a look at the roster of this summer league team. Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullens and the rookie’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor will all be in action. This essentially means that this will be an important summer league as all of those players will be a part of the rotation in the upcoming season.
- So how about those rookies? The number two overall pick, MKG, will make his debut on Friday night and it will be exciting to see him in action. He is known for his aggressive play on offense and defense to go along with his leadership and will to win. It will also be interesting to see how his offensive game looks as a whole. We already know that he is great at getting to the rim but can he knock down shots when he needs too. As for the other rookie, Taylor to me was a steal in the second round of the draft. A small forward who is a great defender and is also a “lights out” shooter from three point range. With MKG and Taylor the Bobcats should have two small forwards that will make an impact right away.
- Finally what about the second year players and what kind of step will they take in their development? Walker, Biyombo and Mullens are all going into their second year with the Bobcats and are three big parts of the “youth movement” of this team. All players showed flashes last season but need to be more consistent for this team to improve. Walker has bulked up and added muscle in the offseason as well as worked on his shot non-stop. With his shooting percentage being a concern last season look to see how his shot has improved. Walker is slated to be the starting point guard so this is the first step in being the floor leader for this team. Biyombo and Mullens as of now will be the two main big men on this team so their development is crucial for the Bobcats to have any success.
So with all that being said the Bobcats will play their first game tonight at 10 p.m. eastern when they take on the Sacramento Kings. This game along with all five games will be broadcast on NBATV and we will get our first look at some of the key players for the Bobcats in this upcoming season.
Written by: Dustin Phifer