Over the next few weeks, The Charlotte Sports Blog will compare every Eastern Conference team to the Charlotte Bobcats in preparation for the NBA 2013-2014 season.
Point Guard: Kemba Walker Vs. Brandon Jennings
Statistically, Brandon Jennings and Kemba Walker appeared as equals during the 2012-2013 season. Jennings, as member of the playoff Milwaukee Bucks, registered over seventeen points, six and-a-half assists, and a steal and-a-half per game. Walker averaged a similar 17.7 points, five and-a-half assists, and two steals per contest. This season, with Jennings’s move to Detroit and the improved talent around Walker in Charlotte, we could see a change in their respective games. With Al Jefferson’s move to the Queen City, Walker will have a legitimate pick-and-roll target to pass to for one of the first times in his career, thus leading to more unselfish play and high assist totals. Jennings’s game will likely have a similar change in his move to Detroit with the likes of Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, and Andre Drummond beside him. It will be interesting to see if one of the two point guards can separate themselves from the other this season. Hopefully, Walker does just that.
Shooting Guard: Gerald Henderson Vs. Rodney Stuckey
Rodney Stuckey, to put it nicely, had a miserable 2012-2013 season. Unlike in years past, Stuckey didn’t sniff the starting line-up for the second-half of the season, and struggled to put up the high scoring totals Detroit fans had become accustomed to seeing. Gerald Henderson, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise for the Bobcats this past year. Henderson improved his scoring totals to just over fourteen points per contest, and finished as the team’s second leading scorer behind Kemba Walker. Hopefully for the Bobcats, Henderson can grow on last season’s success and develop into one of the Bobcat’s top scoring options for years to come.
Small Forward: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist Vs. Josh Smith
The Detroit Pistons definitely scored a talent upgrade with the addition of former Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith. Smith has been a borderline all-star for most of his career, and has seemingly been one of the best players left off the roster every year in the Eastern Conference. Clearly, the veteran Piston is currently the better player, but being only twenty years of age, MKG still has
the youth and potential to grow into one of the best defensive small forwards in the NBA within the next five years.
Power Forward: Greg Monroe Vs. Cody Zeller- Advantage: Monroe
Cody Zeller appeared to be a questionable pick at the four slot for the Charlotte Bobcats at the 2013 NBA draft, especially because of Alex Len and Nerleans Noel's availability. Zeller’s performance during the NBA Summer League made Michael Jordan, Rick Cho, and the rest of the Bobcat’s front office look like geniuses. During his time in Las Vegas, Zeller averaged close to 16 points and 10 rebounds per contest and was named to the All Summer League team. Greg Monroe is also no stranger to double-doubles posting over 35 of them last season. Monroe has been the Piston’s number one scoring option for a couple of years now, but it will be interesting how the chemistry between him, Josh Smith, Brandon Jennings, and Andre Drummond will play-out this year. If the combination doesn’t mesh as planned, Monroe could struggle this season, despite his abundance of talent.
Center: Andre Drummond Vs. Al Jefferson- Advantage: Jefferson
Andre Drummond might just be THE most promising young center in the NBA. In just limited action, Drummond excelled while on the floor averaging 13.8 points, 13.2 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per 36 minutes over the course of his rookie season. Despite the 20 year-old’s potential, currently, he hasn’t proven himself quite like the Bobcat’s Al Jefferson has. Jefferson has been a border-line all-star almost his entire career, and a master of consistency averaging at least 16 points and nine rebounds since the 2006-2007 season. In a few years, Drummond could be better than Jefferson, but today, “Big Al” clearly has the upper-hand.
Lead Hornets Writer: Jonathon Hoppe