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Trade Analysis: The Charlotte Bobcats Move Into The Lottery And Draft Bismack Biyombo

For any Bobcats' fan, yesterday was as eventful a day as could have been expected. Drama ensued for the Bobcats before the draft even began, with a significant three-team trade between the Bobcats, Kings, and Bucks taking place. The Bobcats traded former franchise cornerstone Stephen Jackson, backup PG Shaun Livingston, and the 19th pick. In return, the Bobcats received forward Corey Maggette and the 7th pick.

One central factor seems to have motivated this trade: Furthering the rebuilding process and aiming to rebuild around a mostly young core. The motive behind this trade was not to help the Bobcats instantly become a playoff team next year, but rather to enable the Bobcats to create a team that has the chance to succeed in the future. When a team trades its leading scorer (one might say "only scorer") in order to move into the lottery, it's clear that they intend to build around a few building blocks and move on to the future.

Because the key component of this trade (for the Bobcats) was the inclusion of the 7th pick, it's fair to treat the resulting Bobcats' pick as a way to measure the success of the trade. Given that, let's look at the trade as a whole:

Bobcats Receive: Bismack Biyombo, Corey Maggette

Bucks Receive: Shaun Livingston, Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson, and the 19th pick (Tobias Harris)

Kings Receive: John Salmons, the 10th pick (Jimmer Fredette)

When glancing at the trade, the immediate conclusion I draw is that it seems to make very little sense for the Kings (According to my Twitter feed, Kings' fans agree). Trading back into the lottery for a guy that had a 12.8 PER last year and stands to make over 25 million dollars in the next 3 years seems questionable, to say the least.

For the Bobcats, however, this stands to become a fantastic trade. Though the Bobcats did manage to relinquish the contracts of Livingston and more importantly, Stephen Jackson's contract, the inclusion of Corey Maggette in the deal makes the money traded away by the Bobcats in the trade relatively even to the money received (The Bobcats lose a slight amount of money with the inclusion of the salaries of the draft picks). Though Maggette struggled in the Bucks' system, he has the ability to score in large amounts, which he will assumedly be called upon to do during the upcoming season. However, money should not be the central focus when analyzing this trade, because that was not its purpose. The purpose, it seems, was to move up into the lottery and draft Bismack Biyombo, and therein will lie the litmus test for determining the true quality of this trade.

Coming into this draft, Biyombo was a frequent source of discussion and argument. Many triumphed Biyombo's incredible athleticism, 7'7 wingspan, and natural tendency to get blocks. Others doubted his abilities, claiming that Biyombo was untested, unknown (having played in the ACB European league for only one year), and unpolished. Though some credence may lie with both the supporters and detractors of Biyombo, I believe Biyombo has tools that will immediately translate, and has the potential to be a top defensive center in the upcoming years of his career. His uncanny ability to block (2.3 blocks in 17 MPG in the ACB; led entire league) and rebound should be quickly viable in the NBA . He is, admittedly, offensively unpolished, and has yet to clearly define his offensive skills (currently his main offensive skill is dunking, and he's very, very good at doing so). Though many worry about his unclear offensive (though his athleticism and intelligence will give him a chance to become a quality offensive player) skills, I believe these fears are unnecessary. Biyombo is very aware of what he can do (play fantastic defense, rebound, dunk, etc.) and can't do (shoot jumpers, etc.). He's aware of his strengths, and he plays to them (56.1% FG in the ACB).

When a player with as much athleticism and "potential" as Biyombo is drafted in the lottery, many worry about his "potential" never becoming reality. In Biyombo's case, these worries should hold very little substance, because Biyombo's talent does not rest solely on his raw athleticism. When watching footage of Biyombo, it is clear that he attempts to position himself well for offensive rebounds, and seems to have a clear ability to time his block attempts. Additionally to this, Biyombo is by all accounts extremely intelligent and a hard worker. The coupling of his impressive athleticism (and ability) with his dedication to polishing his game lead me to believe that his skill set gives him the chance to become a defensive anchor for a rebuilding franchise and a top center in the future. In this draft, few players possess the potential that Biyombo does while also possessing the skills that can translate into that potential.

As a whole, this trade could become a terrific one for the Bobcats' franchise. It was a move that instantaneously gave the Bobcats two players to rally upon in the future (with the addition of Kemba Walker), and gave many fans hope for what this team could become in future years. Though the move may not pan out to expectations, it also has the ability to become a fantastic one. The Bobcats gave up relatively little (in the scope of the future of the franchise) for a chance at a player with the ability to be a central part of the team for many years to come. It was a necessary move, and one that made the focus of the Bobcats' franchise clear: Making the future of the team a bright one.