When the Charlotte Bobcats signed Al Jefferson during the offseason I wasn't sure it was the best move, sure it made the team better but I didn't think it would do enough and could cost the team in 2014 NBA Draft. As the season started and the team should life under new coach Steve Clifford I still didn't think we were looking at a team that would contend for a playoff berth as the season moved along. Al Jefferson was a disappointment early on as he struggled to get into form after suffering an ankle injury in the preseason against Miami, but still the team found ways to stay afloat even without their best player.
We know the Eastern Conference is really poor this season and the best examples are the teams up in New York with the Knicks & Nets. While Brooklyn has turned it around under Jason Kidd the Knicks are still a question mark at 19-29 and are two games back of the Bobcats for the final playoff spot in the East. For the Bobcats to make the playoffs it most likely will be the 8th seed and through November, December & January I didn't believe they would, that changed last night. This team has survived Al Jefferson not playing up to his capable level, MKG missing over a month, Jeffrey Taylor being lost for the season & most recently Kemba Walker going down with an ankle injury that cost him seven games.
Charlotte just went 3-1 on a west coast road trip and 4-3 without Kemba Walker, two things I didn't think were possible and didn't believe were possible. Through 50 games this season Charlotte has already matched their win total from last season and a 35 win season is within reach with a playoff berth on the line. While question marks remain for this team like the development of Biz & Zeller, I now believe that the core of Kemba, Big Al, Gerald, MKG & most importantly Coach Clifford can get this team to the playoffs. A sweep would be likely if Charlotte had to face Miami or Indiana in the 1st round but unlike the previous playoff trip for Charlotte this team would have its stars rising not falling like Gerald Wallace & Stephen Jackson.
The other key part is the 2014 NBA Draft has so many unknowns from how many picks the Bobcats will have to which players actually enter the draft. The two best moves Michael Jordan has made since becoming owner were hiring Rich Cho as the GM and bringing aboard Steve Clifford as the head coach. The foundation is now set for the Bobcats..soon to be Hornets to become a threat in the NBA again. It won't be this year even with a playoff berth, but with some more good moves in the next two years the Hive should be rocking again, that I believe now.
Bobby Rosinski - Co-Host of The Pulse from 4 to 7 on ESPN 730