Mike Dunlap took over this season and started surprisingly well, getting Charlotte off to a 7-5 start. But after a horrific 45-point drubbing in Oklahoma City the Bobcats went into an 18-game losing streak, and crawled to a 21-61 record.
They tripled their wins this season (from 7-59 to 21-61), but remained one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Charlotte Bobcats avoided finishing with the worst record in the league for a second straight year – the Orlando Magic took that dubious crown – Charlotte still is a long way from being a playoff contender.
Mike Dunlap was brought in to develop young players; I guess it wasn’t quick enough for the impatient and fierce competitor Michael Jordan, who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls and now an owner for the Bobcats. Dunlap was fired today as head coach of the Bobcats.
The Bobcats were outscored this season by 757 points, more than any team in the NBA.
Defensively, they allowed 102.6 points per game, the second-most in the league, and they were the worst shooting team in the league at 42.5 percent.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Dunlap stated the needs of the Bobcats and what they should acquire during the offseason. “We need some help in terms of our size, for sure,” Dunlap said. “Rebounding was an issue all year long. And we need shooters. We need to shoot the 3-ball better.”
For the second straight year the Bobcats struggled from 3-point range, knocking down just 33.5 percent.
The Bobcats have the means to upgrade get low-post players and a premier 3-point shooter this offseason.
Most likely they will have a high lottery pick and up to $21 million to work with in free agency if they use the amnesty clause on forward Tyrus Thomas, who is owed slightly more than $18 million over the next two seasons and is rarely used in games.
While the Bobcats would still have to pay Thomas, removing him from the roster immediately saves $8.7 million under this year’s salary cap as part of the league’s one-time bailout on bad contracts.
The Bobcats will still carry Ben Gordon’s $13.2 million contract into next season – a deal they agreed to as part of acquiring a future first-round pick from the Detroit Pistons – but should be in better shape cap-wise in 2014.
The Bobcats should keep and continue to develop the young backcourt of Kimba Walker and Gerald Henderson, both of whom showed progress in the final two months of the season and combined to average 33.2 points per game. Henderson is a restricted free agent the Bobcats want to re-sign.
Charlotte’s future plans should also include power forward Josh McRoberts, who’s an unrestricted free agent who started the final 19 games and was very productive. It should be in the best interest of the team that they keep him.
The rookie small forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor should continue to be part of the team’s future plans, they just need some time to develop.
As for free agency, Charlotte should get their money together and go after the likes of Paul Millsap and/or Al Jefferson. to solidify the front court.
The Bobcats will be hiring their sixth coach for their 10th season as a franchise.