The Charlotte Bobcats will be looking to add pieces in the 2013 NBA Draft. They have needs in both their backcourt and their frontcourt, so it will be hard for the Bobcats, even with their history of incompetence, to not find good value with the fourth pick.
However, a draft pick won’t change anything if the players already on the team’s roster don’t improve.
Charlotte’s two stars for the future, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, can both stand to improve — Walker with his efficiency and defense and MKG with his overall offensive game. Bismack Biyombo needs to continue to learn how to play basketball in general.
One player that might slip under the radar for them, though, is Byron Mullens.
Mullens was hampered by injuries in the 2012-2013 season, playing in just 53 games. When healthy, he played 26.9 minutes per game and averaged 10.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 0.6 blocks per game. However, Mullens shot just 38.5 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from three on 3.9 attempts per game from long range.
He showed slight improvement on the defensive end — a major issue with his game — this past season, but regressed offensively and remained relatively unproductive in regards to rebounding. His offense was related to his rebounding issues as he played out of the post way too much offensively, which resulted in just 1.3 offensive rebounds per game.
However, the biggest issue with Mullens is undoubtedly his shot selection. He shot 60 percent from the restricted area this season, 33.5 percent on mid-range jumpers and, once again, 31.7 percent from three. Given that, you would like for Mullens to be working in the post and using his size and surprising athleticism to create space from defenders with cuts and post moves.
What happened this past season was the exact opposite, though, as he shot 208 3-point attempts, 194 mid-range attempts and just 105 shots from the restricted area. That’s obviously why he was so inefficient this season — he often seems content to rely on long-range shots rather than playing to his real strengths.
Mullens will be a free agent this summer, but the Bobcats will likely give him a qualifying offer which would put off his restricted free agency until the summer of 2014. Charlotte should definitely give him that qualifying offer as he’s one of the few frontcourt players on the Bobcats with discernible basketball skills and a ton of potential.
If he doesn’t work to improve his spacing, decision-making and shot selection this offseason, though, Charlotte should probably let him walk next summer as a free agent.