What to Do with No. 2?

Our Sports staffers jump into the heated debate about what the Charlotte Bobcats’ brass should do with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft, which takes place on Thursday, June 28.

Kidd-Gilchrist would help this team in many ways

by Andrew Stark

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

With the second pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Bobcats should select Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from the University of Kentucky.

The Bobcats have so many deficiencies that obviously taking anyone is going to be an improvement over the product they put on the floor a season ago. But selecting Kidd-Gilchrist, an athletic, 6-foot-7, 233-pound forward, is the smartest move.

Why?

He can use his nearly 7-foot-wingspan to defend at least three positions on the court. Kidd-Gilchrist has the makings of becoming an elite NBA defender (he might already be one), and he actually likes to play defense. Plus, he gets to the basket with ease and is a tough, smart player. He is also a leader and a proven winner, and all of his attributes are qualities the Bobcats currently lack.

Like his college teammate Anthony Davis, who is the likely first pick in the draft, Kidd-Gilchrist doesn’t need the ball to be effective. It is not often when you see a 19-year-old kid who doesn’t need the ball in his hands and can still make a team better. But Kidd-Gilchrist can.

Historically, at least in the past five years, the second pick has produced a lot of mid-level talent. Kevin Durant was the second pick in 2007, but in subsequent years it has been Michael Beasley, Hasheem Thabeet, Evan Turner and Derrick Williams. None of them have been all-star-caliber players.

Kidd-Gilchrist can be that.

His skill set compares favorably to Gerald Wallace, who in 2010 became the last Bobcat voted to the all-star team. Wallace gave maximum effort each game. So does Kidd-Gilchrist.

Anyone who watched a Bobcats’ game last season knows energy, defense and maximum effort were not Charlotte’s strong points. Adding Kidd-Gilchrist immediately provides a much-needed team identity, and having a player as selfless and team-oriented as he is has to be contagious in the locker room.

Sure, Kidd-Gilchrist has flaws. Of course, the former Kentucky star isn’t always going to make the open jumper, at least not at this stage in his career. Scouts say he is a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. However, he has all of the intangibles the Bobcats so desperately need.

The Bobcats should draft Kidd-Gilchrist. He is the type of player every team in the NBA would love to have. Charlotte has the chance to select him and immediately change the makeup of a fledgling franchise, and should not hesitate to do so.

T-Rob is both the best and safest pick for Cats

by Aaron Garcia

Thomas Robinson

I’ll admit: I yelled at my television as if it had kicked my dog once it was announced that the Charlotte Bobcats received the No. 2 overall pick in this year’s draft, thus losing out on surefire top choice and perceived franchise-saver Anthony Davis. But time has given me perspective.

Life goes on, and yes, there are other fish in the sea. And I’ve come to realize that Kansas forward Thomas Robinson would look pretty good on the end of the Cats’ line with the second-overall selection. For a franchise with a history defined by risky draft picks, Robinson seems like a much-needed safe bet.

The difference between T-Rob and the other candidates is he’s ready to play fresh out of the box. Batteries included. Standing 6 foot 9 and weighing a Karl-Malone-like 240 pounds, Robinson not only looks as if he could be the foundation for the Cats’ frontcourt, he has the size and strength to literally hold up a corner of Time Warner Cable Arena. He averaged 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game while seemingly willing the Jayhawks (who lost six key players from the previous season) to a national championship game appearance, making him the first unanimous Associated Press All-American selection since Blake Griffin in 2009.

Oh, and he might be the most athletic selection in the lottery to boot. While I get the feeling former Kansas teammate Markief Morris might be a bit prone to embellishment, he was quoted last year in an ESPN article saying that Robinson “has the speed of Kobe, and a body like LeBron’s.” Impressive. Maybe too impressive. But if Morris is exaggerating, it’s not by much. Robinson posted the second-best three-quarter court sprint time at the NBA Combine and has shown a propensity for beating everyone else down the floor during games. All this while also having a 7-3 wingspan and standing reach of 8-10, giving him the ideal size to anchor the frontline with Bismack Biyombo and Byron Mullens.

It’s not just his measurables, though. The fact that both Robinson and new coach Mike Dunlap’s work ethics have each been described as “tireless” makes this a match made in hoops heaven. The new coach has been regarded as a stickler for details, and he’ll surely expect the most out of his top pick. Robinson seems like he’ll be willing to give it.

After a 7-59 season, is there anything better than a low risk/high reward proposition?

After 7-59 season, Charlotte should be bold with Harrison

by C. Jemal Horton

Harrison Barnes

Go ahead: Do it, Michael.

Do it, Rich Cho – or whoever’s calling the draft shots for the Charlotte Bobcats.

They should do what many people are telling them they shouldn’t: draft North Carolina’s Harrison Barnes with the No. 2 pick.

Other than presumed No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, next week’s NBA Draft features nothing but risky prospects. Every guy but Davis is someone who does a lot of things pretty well but nothing spectacularly.

And for as flighty as he seems, Barnes is spectacular at one major thing the Bobcats need: scoring the basketball.

So Bobcats owner Michael Jordan and general manager Cho should ignore all the talk of being an organization that lives to draft Tar Heels. Pick the temperamental 6-foot-8 small forward with the propensity to score points in bushels.

Don’t play it safe. Don’t get the solid guy (Thomas Robinson) or the versatile defender (Michael Kidd-­Gilchrist).

Be bold, sort of like, but to a lesser degree than, the Carolina Panthers were when they chose Cam Newton No. 1 in 2011 when it would’ve been safer to go with cornerback Patrick Peterson.

People love to say Barnes is nothing more than a jump shooter. And, yes, he scored many of his 17 points per game last winter with his silky-smooth 3-point shot.

But two things come to mind: 1) Barnes occasionally went to the hole and jammed on people, and 2) that notion takes me back to the Newton debate a year ago.

When it looked as if the Panthers might draft Newton, one of the main criticisms was that he couldn’t run an NFL offense because he hadn’t done it in college.

Several NFL rookie passing records later, Newton is Exhibit Q (not the first example, and not the last) that focused, determined athletes rarely stay the same.

What kind of jump shot did Patrick Ewing have when he played at Georgetown and never glanced at the basket outside the lane in the 1980s? What kind of 3-point shooting ability did Tar Heels Rasheed Wallace and Antawn Jamison – or swingman Vince Carter, for that matter – have in college?

If you want to be successful at the highest level, you work hard, you adapt. And all indications are that Barnes wants to be great.

Potential is one of the main reasons we usually see freshmen and sophomores drafted with the top picks instead of seniors.

And after Anthony Davis, no prospect in this draft has more potential than Barnes.

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