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Why should the Bobcats trade for a draft pick?

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The NBA draft is a tricky proposition in the sense that there are really only a few modes a team can be in when it drafts:

-- Rebuilding

-- Taking the next step

-- Maintenance

-- Cost-saving

If you're cost-saving, you don't want the pick. Sell! Sell! Sell! (See: Phoenix Suns)

If you're maintaining, you pick guys who still have development to do overseas, where you don't have to pay them, or you pick guys who will help immediately, and you don't worry about trying to project five years from now. (See: San Antonio Spurs)

If you're rebuilding, you shoot for the moon. There's no sense in taking a guy like Tyler Hansbrough if you're rebuilding, because if he has Kurt Thomas's career, you call it a rousing success story. Rebuilding means you take Tyrus Thomas instead of Brandon Roy, because Roy had a perceived ceiling, whereas TT did not. You should take Rudy Gay instead of Shelden Williams for the same reason. Williams was the better college player, but at the next level, no one expected the Landlord to be -- in their wildest dreams -- better than what Emeka Okafor has been, whereas Gay's athleticism and skill set meant he had no ceiling.

But if you're taking the next step, like the Bobcats are trying to do, there's a wide variety of choice. Shoot for the moon? Why not? Take a role player like Jared Dudley? Sure! Sell your pick for cash toward a free agent? Yay! At this stage of the success cycle, you just want to add value any way you can. Which means the Bobcats have little to no motivation to trade for a first round draft pick. A first rounder would probably require trading a player already on the roster, and it doesn't really make much sense, considering that management won't really want to trade any of the guys who would net a pick that high. A second rounder could be had, and at that point, unless DeJuan Blair falls into your lap, you roll the dice and hope the guy contributes something, anything.

So, what's the point of spending money on a second round draft pick? At that point, it's just as good a bet to gamble on reclamation projects, or never-weres, like (I won't say the former Milwaukee Buck who I'm semi-obsessed with) Ike Diogu or Gerald Green, or D-League wonders like Rod Benson (obligatory) or Rob Kurz, and you don't have to pay another team for the privilege of signing the dude to a minimum contract.

The draft is fun, but at this point, we're probably best off sitting out.