Last season: 34-48, three games out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Head Coach: Paul Silas, who will get his first full season at the helm after taking over for Larry Brown in December of last year.
Key Departures: Stephen Jackson and Shaun Livingston, traded away to Milwaukee in a draft day deal.
Key Additions: Corey Maggette, lottery picks Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker.
Best case scenario: A run at the eighth seed in the East and a spot in the playoffs. Before you laugh, consider that it hasn’t taken much to get into the postseason in the East — in fact, Indiana got in last season with a record of just 37-45.
For that to happen: The team will have to win with defense, and hope that Maggette can improve his scoring efficiency. The team will also need rookie Kemba Walker to stand out fairly quickly, and overtake the starting point guard spot from D.J. Augustine, who is a huge liability defensively. Walker should be able to help out on the offensive end, but again, that’s a lot of responsibility to place on a rookie, even one as talented as Walker.
It’s unclear what if anything Biyombo will be able to bring to the table, as he is still awaiting his buyout from Spain to be completed and hasn’t yet participated in training camp. He’s going to need time to develop, so the lost camp time is going to hurt him more than most.
More likely the Bobcats will: Hover five or so games out of that final playoff spot, which is actually fine. The team entered rebuilding mode when trading Stephen Jackson last season, and as long as Silas can get the team on the same page and begin to develop its rookie lottery picks, the season will be considered a successful one in Charlotte.
Prediction: 26-40, out of the playoffs.