Next up, a Bobcats team slowly pulling itself up out of the NBA basement.
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The Bobcats have more or less been cellar dwellers since their inception. They have seemed content at the bottom of the Eastern Conference just stockpiling draft picks. This year, they signed Al Jefferson to a 3-year, $41 million contract, showing they are at least making an effort to put a quality product on the court. The rest of the roster is young but promising. Kemba Walker had a great sophomore campaign, and they are hoping Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will make the same type of jump this season. Cody Zeller, their first pick in this past year’s draft, is an intriguing prospect who will get big minutes right away.
When looking at the slate of games on any given night, the Bobcats rarely infuse much enthusiasm. That is until this year! While they will most likely stay in the lottery, the Bobcats have some exciting players to watch and some compelling story lines for this upcoming season that will make you at least think twice about passing over their games. Here are five reasons to tune into Bobcats games on League Pass for the 2013-14 season:
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The High-Flying Power Forward Duo
The Bobcats will have Cody Zeller starting at power forward this season with Josh McRoberts backing him up. Charlotte might be the new Lob City! All jokes aside, these guys can get up. Zeller, the fourth overall pick in this June’s draft, shocked and awed at the combine with a 37.5 inch max vertical. That’s not a typo. The Zeller brothers are known for their proficiency running the court, and that is one of Cody’s great strengths â€” he is not your typical lumbering 7-footer. He consistently beat other bigs, and even guards, down the court in his two years at Indiana and should be able to do the same in his first year in the Association. Even through just one preseason game, Zeller has already shown that he can finish with authority in transition, putting home an impromptu oop off the glass on a mishandled layup by Kemba Walker.
McRoberts is quite explosive around the basket as well and is known for his put-back dunks and alley-oops. He has never been a complete player, but he is a great passer and good energy guy in spurts. Like Zeller, he is effective getting out in transition and finishing. Just picture Kemba leading the break with McRoberts flanking him to the right and Zeller to the left. I love this game!
Al Jefferson Dominating On the Block
The ‘Cats made a huge splash this offseason in signing Jefferson. Big Al is a proven guy who can put the ball in the cup â€“ something the Bobcats drastically need. Post scoring is a lost art for most guys in the league, but not Jefferson. He seems like he has been around forever but is still only 28 years old and has some of the prettiest post moves in the game. He averaged 23 and 11 back when he was the only option in Minnesota, and this year he might have to do the same.
The Bobcats were last in the league last year in defensive rating and 3rd to last in offensive rating. Jefferson is no defensive stalwart [Eds note: this is an understatement], but he can’t hurt Charlotte in that department because there is nowhere to go but up. What he can do is improve their offense. He plants down on the left block (and only the left block as the following video shows) and can score against single coverage almost at will with a wide array of fakes, hooks, and drives to the hoop. He is quite efficient â€“ a career 50 percent shooter from the field â€“ and most teams need to double him on the block, which should open up things for his teammates. The Bobcats made a statement in signing Jefferson that they do not want to be a doormat this year. Big Al’s dominance down low should help improve their offensive efficiency and translates into Charlotte becoming a more competitive team.