No. 4 Jeff Adrien
Position: Power forward-center
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 245
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Strength of his game: Adrien is a rugged, old-school power forward who is used to rising to a challenge. He’s not intimidated by the prospect of guarding bigger players – some times far bigger – when called on.
What he needs to do better: Unfortunately Adrien isn’t going to have a magical late-onset growth spurt. By NBA standards he’s short for a power forward, much less a center, and he lacks the perimeter skills to morph into more of a finesse player.
No. 0 Bismack Biyombo
Ht./Wt.: 6-9, 245
Strength of his game: Biyombo had two preseason games grabbing 20 or more rebounds. In two seasons, he’s third among all Bobcats in career shots blocked. Limited as he is, what he does well he does quite well.
What he needs to do better: For the most part Biyombo is a non-factor offensively. If he’s more than three feet from the basket, there’s not much reason to guard him. He shot 2-of-10 from the foul line in the last exhibition against the Knicks.
No. 8 Ben Gordon
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 200
Strength of his game: Gordon is a career 40 percent shooter from 3-point range. The Bobcats struggle to score, and their 3-point shooting is certainly a factor in that deficiency.
What he needs to do better: Gordon is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. That can cause problems regarding his defense and how much you want him handling the ball.
No. 33 Brendan Haywood
Ht./Wt.: 7-0 263
Strength of his game: When healthy Haywood is still a space-eater in the lane, a true 7-footer who can disrupt opponents’ efforts to work the ball into the post.
What he needs to do better: The key words above were “when healthy.” There’s a lot of mileage on that body, and for all the effort Haywood makes to stay in shape, he’s going to break down, as he did when a stress fracture shelved him 12 weeks.
No. 9 Gerald Henderson
Ht./Wt.: 6-5, 215
Strength of his game: He’s second only to center Al Jefferson as the Bobcats’ best post-up scoring option. Henderson’s mid-range game, particularly a turn-around 8-foot jump shot, are hard to contain.
What he needs to do better: By Henderson’s own description, he’s a relatively unproductive rebounder. He had eight total boards in the Bobcats’ final five exhibitions. And his 3-point shooting needs to improve.
No. 25 Al Jefferson
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 289
Strength of his game: The minute he signed he became the best low-post scoring option in Bobcats history. This team has rarely, if ever, had a dangerous enough scorer to force the opposing team to send an extra defender at him.
What he needs to do better: Varied and formidable as Jefferson’s offensive game is, he never has been known as a strong defender. He says he’s serious about correcting that hole in his game.
No. 14 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Position: Small forward
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 232
Strength of his game: He’s powerful and quick for his size, which makes him a good defender and above-average rebounder for his position. His ballhandling is naturally solid.
What he needs to do better: No one corrected the numerous flaws in his jump shot by the time he turned pro following his freshman season at Kentucky. It’s a concern when he passes up open shots along the perimeter.
No. 11 Josh McRoberts
Position: Power forward
Ht./Wt.: 6-10, 240
Strength of his game: As inconsequential as the trade for McRoberts might have seemed, he quickly improved this team’s ball movement from the top of the key. Nothing flashy about his passes, but they’re effective.
What he needs to do better: There’s no gaping flaw about McRoberts’ game, just as there’s no incredible strength. That makes him useful whether as a starter or reserve.
No. 5 Jannero Pargo
Ht./Wt.: 6-1, 185
Strength of his game: He’s not afraid of taking a game-deciding 3-pointer, and he has a good shot at making that shot, too. He’s also physically and mentally tough.
What he needs to do better: The best point guards have a handle that creates advantages for himself and his teammates. Pargo isn’t particularly dangerous as a penetrator.
No. 7 Ramon Sessions
Ht./Wt.: 6-3, 190
Strength of his game: Creating trips to the foul line is probably one of the more under-appreciated skills in basketball. Sessions has a knack off the dribble for making you foul him.
What he needs to do better: Sessions isn’t a particularly strong defender. That’s challenging, the way the NBA strictly enforces the hand-check rule, but there’s room for improvement.
No. 31 James Southerland
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 215
Strength of his game: He was brought in as another long-range shooter for the frontcourt. At Syracuse he hit a number of big shots that stretched college defenses.
What he needs to do better: There’s not much beyond shooting that sticks out as a strength at the NBA level. He needs to become a more versatile player to stick around.
No. 44 Jeff Taylor
Ht./Wt.: 6-7, 225
Strength of his game: He’s a versatile scorer – an athletic driver combined with 3-point shooting – so there’s no one way to guard him. And he’s strong and quick enough to be a superior defender.
What he needs to do better: He worked over the summer on mid-range scoring options to complement his distance shooting and drives. He seems to be playing with more confidence than he did as a rookie.
No. 43 Anthony Tolliver
Ht./Wt.: 6-8, 240
Strength of his game: Tolliver was signed because coach Steve Clifford wanted a combo forward with some shooting range. When a power forward starts making 3s, it stretches defenses.
What he needs to do better: Start making the shots he was brought in to make. His preseason – he shot 7-of-27 from the field and 4-of-14 from 3-point range – was not promising.
No. 15 Kemba Walker
Ht./Wt.: 6-1, 184
Strength of his game: Walker became a dramatically more effective finisher off the pick-and-roll in his second season. He was among NBA leaders in three-point plays.
What he needs to do better: Walker was 4-of-19 from 3-point range this preseason, so his jump shooting still seems to need a lot of work.
No. 40 Cody Zeller
Ht./Wt.: 7-0, 240
Strength of his game: Zeller has great feet – both in speed and quickness – for a player his size. He’s good off the dribble, so he should be getting to the rim a lot as a complement to low-post scorer Jefferson.
What he needs to do better: The preseason demonstrated he hasn’t spent much time guarding guys outside the lane. He was beaten off the dribble and committed 18 fouls; approximately a foul for every 10 minutes played.