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Why The Bobcats Need To Win Tuesday Night’s NBA Draft Lottery (For BBN’s Sake)

When the ping pong balls get to bouncin’ at tomorrow night’s NBA draft lottery, I will be pulling for the Charlotte Bobcats to win the rights to the draft’s No. 1 overall pick.

Am I a Bobcats fan?

Absolutely not. But I will be if the balls bounce in Charlotte’s favor. And so will you.

With Nerlens Noel currently projected to hear his name called first and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist already on the payroll, Charlotte provides the best scenario for fans of Kentucky basketball. Nerlens and MKG are two of Big Blue Nation’s all-time favorites, therefore putting them together gives UK fans a professional team to love a little more than others, and the Bobcats franchise could use all the extra support it can get.

You followed New Orleans for the first time in your life this season, didn’t you? I bet you checked Sacramento’s box scores from time to time, too. If Charlotte wins the No. 1 pick and selects Nerlens, the Bobcats’ bandwagon will be mobbed by UK fans, t-shirt money in hand, looking to find a seat on board.

But that ACL injury is a concern, some people will tell you. It’s too much of a gamble with that first pick, they say.

It’s not. It’s the opposite, really. In my opinion, the injury is even more of a reason the Bobcats, and Kentucky fans, need Nerlens Noel in Charlotte. Some say it’s a concern; I see it as a bonus, on top of the incredible athleticism, upside, work ethic, personality and marketability he already offers.

Look at it this way: Noel will be out until Christmas at the very earliest, so whichever team he ends up with will have to play the first half of the season with the same incompetent roster that got them in the draft lottery in the first place. That means another underwhelming season, and in turn, potentially the best odds to win the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. If you’re Charlotte, what’s it hurt to wait another year to make a stab at the playoffs in 2014-15? The team has been near the bottom of the standings throughout all nine years of its existence, it might as well tank one more time to be the favorite in the Andrew Wiggins Sweepstakes. If it works out that way, Charlotte will be on its way to becoming a contender with a young trio of Wiggins, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Nerlens Noel to build around.

Of course, Wiggins to Charlotte isn’t guaranteed if the Bobcats take Noel and compile the league’s worst record next season, which will almost certainly happen. In fact, you and I would love to see another franchise go first and take the soon-to-be Jayhawk. That would bust the gates wide open for the Bobcats to draft one of the four, five, or six Wildcats that will be projected to go in the top 10 in the 2014 draft.

How does a Noel-MKG-Andrew Harrison NBA connection sound? Can you imagine the hustle a frontcourt of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nerlens Noel and Julius Randle would give? I’d drive to Charlotte once a month to see that lineup. The Bobcats would undoubtedly become the unofficial NBA team of the state of Kentucky during a time when Kentuckians have so many to choose from. Former Wildcats will soon be on half of the league’s rosters, but none will compare to a trio of UK stars headlining an NBA starting lineup only six hours away. Kentucky will finally have that professional NBA team it has so desperately wanted.

Not to mention, Charlotte needs help in the paint. Bismack Biyombo is running out of time to prove himself and Josh McRoberts’ deal with the devil to stay in the NBA this long has to be up soon. Nerlens, though too skinny right now, will one day be a defensive force at the next level. He will defend the rim, alter shots and stop drives, just as we saw him do in Lexington prior to the injury. He’ll need to bulk up to be able to bang with the big boys — that’s what the down time is for — but his shot blocking ability is too good to not make him one of the league’s better defenders after a couple of years. And, again, Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts. Don’t even make me mention Byron Mullens.

So when representatives from the NBA’s fourteen worst teams get together tomorrow night to determine the order for next month’s draft, I encourage you to join me and the small group of Charlottonians who aren’t doing something NASCAR-related in cheering on the Charlotte Bobcats. The franchise has the second best odds in the lottery (19.9%) and Nerlens Noel’s fate, and the fate of our NBA fandom is on the line. Last year, if you recall, the Bobcats were in position to acquire Anthony Davis but New Orleans swooped in and stole him away like a bad mascot name. The Bobcats hope to do the same to the Orlando Magic this year.

The NBA draft lottery is Tuesday night at 8:30 ET. It will be televised on ESPN.

The Bobcats might be the Hornets again by then.


Editor’s Note: This is all based on the assumption Michael Jordan doesn’t do something dumb with the first pick. I can easily see M.J. drafting Reggie Bullock No. 1 overall or throwing the pick in a trade for Harrison Barnes or John Henson. Or losing the pick to Charlie Sheen in a game of Texas Hold ‘Em.

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

22 Comments for Why The Bobcats Need To Win Tuesday Night’s NBA Draft Lottery (For BBN’s Sake)

  1. asa
    8:07 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    well I dont know if you noticed, but MKG and wiggins are both small forwards.

  2. joeboo
    8:15 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    It is hard to connect with one and done as I appreciate Noel he would not be considered one of my favorites, but not a fan of the NBA or MJ for that matter. He still holds a grudge against his high school coach for goodness sake. Despite his greatness on the court, does he treat people right? He thinks so highly of himself and maybe not enough of other people.

  3. Gbb
    8:16 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    As a UK fan currently living in Charlotte….. I’m all for what Drew just wrote! I went to five bobcats, (soon to be Hornets again!), games this season. Would love to make more if they would just start winning some more ball games, and that what undoubtedly happen with Noel on the roster!

  4. asa
    8:31 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    4. Maybe in the NBA, but I see him playing SF in college. I don’t see him playing SG if he fills out his frame.

  5. Wildcatsteeler
    8:39 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Am I a Bobcats fan? Absolutely yes, as soon as MKG went there. Why would you not be a fan after that?

  6. Chaz
    8:41 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    How about Boogie/Nerlens/PPat front line? I like that better.

  7. Elkattio
    8:52 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    I was actually a fan of New Orleans when they were being led by Jamal Mashburn. Not so much now though. I’m like #2, the one-and-dones just don’t cut it with me. Even though we have a blue million former cats in the NBA, Tayshaun is typically the only one I follow now.

  8. Jen
    9:14 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    1. Good point.

  9. mudcreekmark
    9:21 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Speaking for an entire fan base may not be the best thing you’ve done lately. Saying that Noel is one of our all time favorites would almost be the same as saying Enes Kanter is one of our all time favorites. Noel only played a few more games than Kanter did for us.I would say Riley,Issel,Pratt,Grevey,Lyons,Beal,Macy,Givens,Robey,Prince,Daniels,Delk,McCarty,Shepherd,Moss,Muhamad,Phelphrey,Farmer,Hayes,Patterson,Wall,Cousins,Bledsoe,Davis,Miller…………….There are a lot of favorites thoughout the years but I cannot put Noel in that category because of two things, first he only played a half of a year and secondly, the team he played on is probably my least favorite team of all time.I loved his hustle and his attitude but there just wasn’t enough of it to be an all time favorite.

  10. Ryan Stanford
    9:25 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Great read. Hopefully the NBA doesnt rig the lottery this year. No teams are currently NBA owned, o i think we are good. Talking what ifs and all, what if Davis went to 2011-12 worst team (Bobcats) and Noel this year, would’ve been awesome. I can settle for MKG and Noel though. Fun scenario Drew.

    Joeboo: Noel seems like a great kid, i don’t think a selfish kid would bring a 7 yr old w/ leukemia on the red carpet with him.

  11. Ryan Stanford
    9:30 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Nice Nascar reference by the way. F you Jimmie Johnson! Dale Jr!#!#!!! Wooooooo- Ric Flair voice

  12. Austin
    9:42 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with most of this. I think Charlotte would be a fun spot for Nerlens to land. I don’t have much faith in Biyombo, and I don’t think he would scare the Bobcats from taking the best player available. If the Bobcats know something we don’t know, i.e. that Biyombo has a chance at being good at basketball, Ben Mclemore might be a better pick. Mclemore would fit well with Kemba and MKG. Also, Golden State would not trade Harrison Barnes for the #1 pick or MKK. Barnes looks like a steal and has outplayed MKG up to this point.

  13. Ann
    9:50 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Not so sure anymore how confident Noel going first is now…

  14. jpo
    10:00 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    10. literally just LOL’d at you comparing Nerlens to Kanter

  15. NEWMAN
    10:11 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Here’s how I see it. Charlotte picks Nerlens, teams up with MKG in 2014. Team stumbles towards the bottom of the league once again, gets a top 3 pick in the 2014 draft, picks up Julius Randle. Charlotte’s tickets and merchandise sales go through the roof. SportsCenter starts referring to the team as the “Kentucky Alumni Association”. All is good.

  16. CharlotteBro
    10:36 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    The Charlotte HORNETS need Noel to break the curse of the Charlotte b**cats and start a new era of nonsuckiness #livinthatcharlottelife

  17. Esboytoy
    10:49 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    BB Fan in Michigan…will be pulling for the Pistons to get Nerlens but if they don’t, Charlotte it is!

  18. mudcreekmark
    11:04 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Anyone ever heard of Jarvis Varnado? He was a three time SEC defensive player of the year and won a national defensive player of the year in 2008. He holds the NCAA record for block shots in a career. He and David Robinson are the only players in NCAA history that scored 1000 points, had 1000 rebounds and had 500 blocked shots. He was picked with the 41st pick after his senior year at Miss. State. Varnado cannot make an NBA team. Noel will be picked in the top 3 this year. What makes him a better prospect than Varnado? Why would NBA execs think he is worthy of a top 3 pick when a player with similar skills cannot even make a team? Defense is great, but at some point, you have to be able to put the ball in the basket in more ways than just dunking the ball.You have to have some other skills besides jumping really high.

  19. mb78
    11:07 pm May 20, 2013 Permalink

    Yeah, I think Charlotte may be one of the teams that won’t draft Noel if they get the #1 pick. There is no precedent to building a successful NBA team around two zeros on offense. If you’re looking for a good Noel fit, Sacramento (where no one plays defense and everyone shoots), Cleveland (star point guard and nothing else) or Phoenix (nothing at all) are your spots.

  20. Mike
    1:42 am May 21, 2013 Permalink

    I absolutely love MKG, and I am a big Nerlens fan as well, but it will be a cold day in hell before I root for any team from the Tar Heel state. I have a 10 year old niece that lives in N.C. and plays softball for some little rec team and I cheer against them too.

  21. Speak for yourself
    9:54 am May 21, 2013 Permalink

    “Nerlens and MKG are two of Big Blue Nation’s all-time favorites”

    Seriously? Maybe with your ‘pro-Calipari-because-he-ultimately-determines-KSR’s-access-to-UK-basketball’ agenda (which, btw, Calipari is great and MKG is a great kid that I still root for). Such bullcrap hype. They both just played in the past two years, and Nerlens didn’t even make the NCAA tournament due to injury! He’s not even in my top 10 list.