A History of the Bobcats' First-round Draft Picks
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas breaks it down
Jay Bilas, ESPN Basketball Analyst
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As fans anticipate the start of the NBA season—and wonder how much it will be affected by the lockout—we decided to ask Charlotte-based ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas, who sits at the broadcast desk each year during the draft, to look back on the team’s past first-round draft picks. The verdict: the Bobcats aren’t the best when it comes to judging potential pro players.
College: Won 2004 national championship; defensive player of the year; graduated with honors.
Charlotte: Was first-ever draft pick for the franchise; won NBA Rookie of the Year; averaged a double-double in points and rebounds all five seasons; launched One Million African Lives Initiative.
Since: Traded to New Orleans Hornets in 2009 and continues to be a starter there.
Bilas says: “I think he was the right choice that year. He’s been solid and a good NBA player, but he hasn’t been a great player.”
School: North Carolina
College: Won 2005 national championship; won the Bob Cousy Award for best college point guard.
Charlotte: Averaged 13 points, 6 assists over five seasons; coach Larry Brown rode him hard.
Since: The past year has been a whirlwind—signed with New York Knicks in July 2010, then traded to Denver Nuggets in February, and then to the Portland Trail Blazers in June during the NBA Draft.
Bilas says: “The Bobcats had a chance to trade both these picks to the Utah Jazz and move up to the third slot, which would’ve given them a chance to get either Deron Williams or Chris Paul. I thought that was a huge mistake not to do so. Williams and Paul have proven to be All-Star point guards.”
School: North Carolina
College: Most Outstanding Player of the 2005 NCAA Tournament on the championship-winning team.
Charlotte: Injured two months into his rookie year and would be injury-plagued all four seasons here, including missing entire 2007-08 season.
Since: Played sparingly for the Sacramento Kings for one season; played this past year for Fenerbahçe Ülker, helping the team win the Turkish Basketball League championship.
Bilas says: “He was a washout. He really hasn’t done much as a pro; he was injured and didn’t ever get in particularly good physical condition for the NBA.”
College: Nation’s leading scorer during the 2005-06 season; finalist for the Naismith and Wooden awards.
Charlotte: First player drafted under Michael Jordan’s new role as managing member of basketball operations; shot poorly and struggled defensively his rookie season; missed second season with a torn ACL.
Since: Traded to the Los Angeles Lakers midway through 2008-09 season and would go on to win two championships with the team, though he didn’t play much; hasn’t been signed to any team for the past year.
Bilas says: “This was a curious pick that year. I felt like he would be a good scorer in the league, but couldn’t do anything else. He didn’t guard, he didn’t rebound.”
School: Boston College
College: A four-year starter; named ACC Player of the Year for 2007.
Charlotte: A solid player off the bench during rookie year.
Since: Traded to the Phoenix Suns midway through second season; has become one of the Suns’ most reliable reserves, averaging 10 points, 4 rebounds last season.
Bilas says: “He’s been a good pro as a role player. With the twenty-second pick, you don’t expect to get a starter.”