As you can see, out of 6 years of drafting, we only have 5 players on our roster who we have drafted. 4, who have come in the past 2 years. We've had some of the most terrible draft luck. We lost out on drafting Dwight Howard in our expansion season, we declined a trade that would've landed us the rights to draft Chris Paul, and we selected "The Stache" over Trailblazer cornerstone Brandon Roy. Things just haven't gone right for one reason or another, but we've been very unfortunate.
The good news is that the Bobcats probably won't be having any more opportunities to screw up for a while, because they've finally found the way to building a contender, through the trade. Wait, you say, teams build through the draft, it's a need to hold onto your draft picks. Well, I have to respectfully disagree. Here's why we shouldn't worry about "sacrificing our future".
1. The Bobcats are a playoff caliber team- which also means, that the draft pick won't carry too much value. For teams who don't qualify for the playoffs, they are placed into a lottery in which the teams with the lowest wins have the highest chance of earning the top pick. Like Powerball. The Bobcats, right now, would finish with the lowest seed in the playoffs, and thus have the 15th pick in the NBA Draft.
A review of the last #15 picks of the past 10 years show that Austin Daye (Detroit), Robin Lopez (Phoenix), Rodney Stuckey (Detroit), Cedric Simmons (New Orleans), Antoine Wright (New Jersey), Al Jefferson (Boston), Reece Gaines (Orlando), Bostjan Nochbar (New Jersey), Steven Hunter (Orlando), and Jason Collier (Milwaukee) were selected. Of all of the picks on the list, I would say that only Al Jefferson and Rodney Stuckey are big names. So, essentially, the Bobcats would probably only have a 20% realistic chance of landing a player that could really change their franchise. And given the Bobcats' penchant for drafting poor, I'll probably knock that down to 10%. Our biggest loss in the trade for Thomas wasn't our draft pick. It was Flip Murray, who was average 10 ppg on a team that needed offense desperately coming into the season.
2. Winning teams don't build through the draft= The age of free agency has really made it difficult for franchises to keep a lot of the players they draft. There is always going to be another team out there willing to offer equal or more to what the home team is. And with ESPN and other networks paying so much attention to certain franchises (Boston, L.A., Miami), players are now more intrigued with the appeal of playing for a big market team. I mean, look at what drafting Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh has gotten the Cavaliers, Heat, and Raptors? A season where all those teams are doing whatever they can to make sure they don't leave. Meanwhile, teams like L.A. and Boston, who have won championships, have been built through trades. Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen were all obtained through trades. There are certain teams that have found success in building almost completely through the draft (Spurs), but what has that gotten every other team that's trying to take the wait and develop approach? Nothing, but years and years of waiting. Some of those teams have had to blow up and rebuild again along the way (Memphis, Philadelphia, Minnesota), while others seem to be doomed to mediocrity for years to come (Detroit, New Orleans), and no championship. You can draft cornerstones and build around them, but more than likely you're going to get those type of players with top 5 picks.
3. Same as one, we are a playoff caliber team- I don't really think we have any room to complain when we've improved every year. This appears to be our first year in the playoffs, and now all of the sudden people are concerned about picking up the next Cedric Simmons three years from now? Charlotte's problem has always been they weren't too bad, but they weren't too good. That is a very dangerous cycle you can get caught up in when it comes to drafting, because if you are drafting pick number 12, or 14, you're probably really trying to build a championship with role players, which isn't going to really happen. The trades that we've made have landed the Bobcats a VERY dangerous team. I never imagined that we'd be able to call ourselves that this year. Coming into the season, the playoffs were my goal. After the Stephen Jackson trade, a couple of first round wins was my goal. After this trade for Tyrus Thomas, I truly feel the sky is the limit, because the team plays smart, they are young and athletic, they are long, and they have one of the best coaching minds in the game. I've always felt bad for teams tanking it in and waiting for things to get better the next year (New York Knicks). But I really don't see what's the difference between putting a full team together on 1 year contracts and waiting on picks to turn into something for you in the future. I think you go for the win, and believe in yourself and your franchise. The Bobcats can do that, and I'm happy with it. So while you guys are upset about us trading away our draft picks, I would rather enjoy this ride that we're about to be on for the rest of the year.