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Bobcats’ Success Predicated On Top 5 Picks

Selecting in the top five of the draft is nothing new for the Bobcats as they find themselves in such a position for the fourth time in franchise history this year, writes Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer. Unfortunately for Charlotte, none of its previous three top-five selections remain with the team as Emeka Okafor, Raymond Felton and Adam Morrison are all either with another franchise or out of the league. With all of their former potential franchise players elsewhere,  the Bobcats finished the 2011/2012 season with a 7-59 record, which amounted to the worst winning percentage in league history.

Bonnell says of the players ranked in the top 100 in the league based on a study by the Observer, 36 were selected in the top five of their respective draft class. Breaking it down even further, 11 of the 15 considered to be franchise players were picked in the top five. While a top-10 pick can develop into a top-100 player, the success of a player selected outside of the top 10 is almost arbitrary as the Observer's study showed a player selected 11th has nearly the same odds as a player picked 30th to become a future star.

“If you’re looking for a franchise player, how you use those very top picks is crucial,’’ said Ryan Blake, the NBA’s senior director of scouting operations. “You can still find a guy like Landry Fields or Jeremy Lin late in the first or the second round – guys who can definitely fit in your rotation. There’s such a fine line between becoming a pro or not. So many other things go into it, like opportunity."

The Bobcats' task for the upcoming draft could have been much simpler if they had merely won the lottery and the right to select former Kentucky star Anthony Davis. Slotted to pick second, Charlotte is in the unenviable position of having to select from as many as six players and determine which one will become a franchise player and help reverse the team's losing ways. Sure, the Bobcats could trade their pick and up with a series of picks to help fill roster needs, but they would almost be guaranteeing that they wouldn't be adding a future top 100 player to their squad.


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