Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
NEW YORK — Kemba Walker and Jimmer Fredette are both point guards.
Both hail from the Empire State.
Both were chosen in the Top 10 of Thursday’s NBA Draft.
And both are headed to bad teams with opposing problems.
Kemba’s Charlotte Bobcats have no offense, while it’s hard to see Jimmer’s Sacramento Kings playing much ‘D.’
Check out the Bobcats roster and try to imagine how they’ll score more than 75 points a game.
Owner Michael Jordan traded Stephen Jackson and his 18.5 points per game to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal that involved Sacramento and gave Charlotte two of the top nine picks in the draft, which they used on Walker and offensively limited big man Bismack Biyombo.
Last year, the Bobcats let guard Raymond Felton leave for the Knicks in free agency and traded Tyson Chandler to Dallas to clear salary-cap space. In February, the Bobcats traded the franchise’s only All-Star, Gerald Wallace, to Portland for two first-round picks.
Charlotte (34-48 last season) ranked 25th in the league in offense (100.8 points per game) before the Jackson trade.
Bobcats president Rod Higgins was asked about the Jackson deal during Friday’s presser in Charlotte.
“We all know what Stephen brought to the table,” Higgins said. “His positives were he was tough-minded. He could make a clutch shot. He could put up a lot of points for you. He had leadership qualities. I think the one thing that people don’t see is that he was a very good teammate, and he’s always been with his guys. I’m sure that’s going to be missed.
“Scoring those 20 points a game, that’s going to be something that we’re going to have to figure out. Corey Maggette’s going to come in here and that’s one of his strong points. He’s going to get up and down the floor. He’s going to get to the free throw line. He’s going to make probably 85 percent of his free throws…He’s going to be a guy that we’re going to lean on.”
So the offensive plan in Charlotte is to have Corey Maggette get to the stripe?
The rest of the roster includes Gerald Henderson, D.J. Augustin and Tyrus Thomas.
Does that sound like an effective NBA roster than can compete?
“We made the Wallace trade so we can get these young assets to get in a position to try to sustain success over a long period of time,” Higgins said. “That success hopefully is not far away.”
As for Kemba, he will have an opportunity to play right away while sharing time with Augustin.
“I think they can complement each other,” Higgins said.
Complement, maybe. Win many games, probably not.
Meantime, the embattled Kings (24-58 a year ago) drafted Fredette at No. 10 because they needed a star to sell tickets.
Their Website is already an homage to the former BYU star, with the headline, “Welcome, Jimmer Fredette!”
While Fredette could start at the point with Tyreke Evans, the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year, playing off the ball, the roster features a whole bunch of guys who are going to jack up their share of shots: Fredette, Evans, John Salmons, Marcus Thornton.
“[Tyreke] is a slashing guard and able to get into the lane, a very physical guy who can guard the point guard and the shooting guard because he is so big — so that’s an advantage,” Fredette told the Sacramento media. ”We are an exciting team that likes to get up and down and score the basketball, so it’s a great fit.”
The Kings added some nice pieces in Tyler Honeycutt (No. 35) and Isaiah Thomas (Mr. Irrelevant at No. 60), but really, defense won’t be this team’s strongsuit.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.