By Scott Lauer
Scott Lauer is the radio play-by-play voice of the Charlotte Bobcats. His column will appear on bobcats.com on Thursdays throughout the season. The opinions expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Bobcats organization.
Asheville, NC October 2, 2013 – Today is the second day of Bobcats Training Camp in Asheville, NC. Yesterday we blogged about Al Jefferson, the most impactful acquisition in our history. What should also shape the team’s identity is the quality depth of this roster. In my estimation, this is clearly the deepest team that we’ve featured.
If we project a starting group of Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Josh McRoberts, and Al Jefferson, then the second unit could display Ramon Sessions, Ben Gordon, Jeff Taylor, Cody Zeller, and Bismack Biyombo. The third unit could conceivably showcase Jannero Pargo, Anthony Tolliver, Jeff Adrien and Brendan Haywood.
Sessions is a rock off the bench. He gets to the free-throw line more than any Bobcat (per minute played), accounting for a healthy chunk of his points.
Gordon remains the premier 3-point shooter on the team, and as Head Coach Steve Clifford mentioned last week, “if he can turn back the clock to what he did five years ago, when he was the best reserve in the league (it’ll be a boon for this team).”
Taylor had a tremendous summer league and Eurobasket tournament (where he was the leading scorer). Coach Clifford appreciates the fact that “he’s a two-way player who can defend, shoot the 3, and his mid-range game is developing.”
Zeller was the fourth overall pick out of Indiana, and has the luxury of entering the league without pressure. On this deep team, he won’t be burdened like some of his rookie counterparts. He has an off the charts IQ, and Coach will ease him into a role, at Zeller’s pace.
Biyombo was a regular starter in his first couple of years, and can now energize the team off the bench with his energy and athleticism, particularly with defense and rebounding.
When you dig deeper on the roster, you’ll discover more valuable assets. If there’s a better third point guard in the league than Pargo, please reveal him. He is a quick scorer off the bench and did so well enough last year to earn a returning spot.
Tolliver will prove to be an excellent off-the-radar signing. He’s always been one of my favorite underrated players. Coach noted that “he can shoot!” He can space the floor, and can guard many 3’s and 4’s.
Adrien is a bull, who rebounds well for an under-sized big. I was also impressed by his high post passing skills last year. He’s making a bid to stay on the team in camp.
Haywood is a knowledgeable veteran who is an adept offensive rebounder. He really understands the game; a junkie following the sport.
Coach Clifford said that players need time on the court to get in their groove, and so there will be times when players soak up many minutes, which keeps reserves off the floor. They just need to be ready when their time arrives.
On a side note, Coach mentioned how tomorrow’s day at camp (being the third straight day of two-a-days), may be tougher than the first two. He reminded us that it’s been several months since these big bodies banged around with other players. It’s all part of the Training Camp process, of getting their bodies and minds set for games.