Over the past couple of games in the NBA preseason, Charlotte Bobcats power forward Josh McRoberts has been getting the nod over rookie Cody Zeller to start at the four, which could be a sign of what’s to come in the regular season.
Though the Bobcats definitely will be giving Zeller ample opportunities this season to showcase his talent, starting McRoberts isn’t a bad decision to start the year. McRoberts is a player who isn’t going to be an All-Star any time soon, but is able to affect the game in almost every facet and make positive contributions all over the floor.
As the Bobcats finished up preseason play on Friday night with a victory over the New York Knicks, McRoberts put his overall versatility on full display. In 36 minutes on the floor, McBob finished the game with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals, one block and zero turnovers. Furthermore, McRoberts was also efficient in his offensive showing, shooting 8-13 overall and netting three of his seven attempts from beyond-the-arc.
Everything that McRoberts brought to the table on Friday night was what the Bobcats will need from him this season. He has surprising strength and athleticism when working offensively in the post, but can also step out and knock down shots consistently on the perimeter. More than that, he stays active on the glass, is an above-average passer and is one of the better and more versatile defenders on Charlotte’s roster.
In the 26 games McRoberts played after being traded to the Bobcats last season, he averaged a solid 9.3 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.6 blocks and 0.8 steals in 30.8 minutes per game while shooting 50.5 percent from the field. As he’s able to be more integrated with this team and in new head coach Steve Clifford’s game-plan, he should be able to have even more success.
Zeller is going to be able to have an impact as a rookie in Charlotte, but there are still quite a few things that are unknown about how the youngster will perform. Having a player like McRoberts paired with him in the frontcourt is big for his development and any of the success that the Bobcats are going to have this season. Like I said, he probably won’t be an All-Star, but he’s going to be an important piece in Charlotte this year.