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Every Rebuilding Scenario Requires Drafting Well

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Fickleness is a funny thing. Maybe the first three games of the Stephen Jackson Era have given us buyer's remorse, but in comments here and elsewhere, I'm seeing pleas to blow it all up and start over. The only problem is we can't.

One of my college friends writes Cleveland Frowns, a blog about Cleveland sports, and one of his go-to points about the Browns is that rebuilding them properly necessitates getting worse before getting better. Our situation is similar. Right now, if we decided we wanted to blow up the team and start over, the easiest thing to do, from a roster management point of view, is to simply ride out the contracts we have, only sign low-cost one-year free agents, and draft as well as possible until we have some homegrown stars who form attractive enough a team to bring other players who can support a championship caliber team.

We could also simply overpay for non-superstars and hope we hit the jackpot, like the Magic did with Rashard Lewis's contract. If we do nothing else, in the summer of 2011, we'll have shed Tyson Chandler's and Nazr Mohammed's contracts, which will probably be enough space to overpay for the likes of J.R. Smith, Troy Murphy, and David West. We'll have to draft well in order to make this work, because knowingly overpaying for someone only works when we're knowingly underpaying a bunch of guys, as draft picks are invariably underpaid.

The third option is the most unlikely. We could trade away every attractive player we have, from Gerald Wallace to Stephen Jackson to Boris Diaw, for unproven upside projects. For instance, Toronto might figure their offense is so good this year that they just need a defensive stopper to complete the championship picture, and Gerald Wallace would make sense. Maybe Washington is willing to take a chance on Stephen Jackson. I don't know what other teams will want from our roster, but I do know that those teams won't want to give up their most valuable lottery tickets in exchange for our proven non-superstars.

In the end, every single scenario requires the Bobcats to draft well in order to rebuild. We have to trap players here. Milwaukee showed us one way to do it. Say Brandon Jennings becomes the next Dwyane Wade. They've got him under control for years, paired with Andrew Bogut (another draft pick), and shrewd pickups like Hakim Warrick.

Of course, the current Bobcats brass isn't exactly noted for its drafting acumen. The real change probably starts there.