NBA

New Bobcats coach says trading down would make sense

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Associated Press
6/25/2012 6:39:46 PM
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- New Charlotte coach Mike Dunlap says the idea of trading down from the No. 2 spot in the NBA draft to acquire extra picks "makes a lot of sense" for a young team like the Bobcats.

After finishing 7-59 and with the worst winning percentage (.106) in NBA history, the Bobcats have a variety of holes to fill this off-season.

Dunlap recognizes that.

That's one of the reasons he said the Bobcats are taking a "hybrid thinking" approach to Thursday night's draft, which means evaluating the talent available at No. 2 while simultaneously looking into the feasibility of moving down and picking up an additional first-round draft pick.

He said the option of trading down "is on the board."

"I think anybody in our situation would have that on the board," Dunlap said. "(Our) people are very smart up top. So options and thinking of your variables is a very smart thing to do."

Dunlap said the decision on whether to remain at No. 2 or move down will be up to his bosses -- general manager Rich Cho and director of basketball operations Rod Higgins. As of right now they're not talking about the draft, although both are expected to address the media at a pre-draft press conference Wednesday.

The New Orleans Hornets won the NBA lottery and have the No 1 pick.

It would be a major surprise if they don't take Kentucky's Anthony Davis, considered by many a franchise-type player.

The No. 2 pick is a bit more complicated.

There's no consensus pick for that spot with opinions varying on whether Kansas forward Thomas Robinson, Florida guard Brandon Beal, Kentucky swingman Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes might be the next best player available.

Dunlap says the front office has "definitely reduced" the number of candidates in consideration for the No. 2 pick should the team stand pat.

"That's their job," Dunlap said of Cho and Higgins. "And I'm a resource. But those guys have done a wonderful job all year long of evaluation, so I think they have a clear idea of scenarios. There are many variables, but they have it down."

One intriguing potential trade partner for the Bobcats could be the Cleveland Cavaliers, who own picks No. 4 and 24.

If the Bobcats trade down it might allow them to acquire an outside shooter.

That's what Dunlap considers the team's most pressing need.

"The ability to make the three is important because it allows you to play inside the 3-point line," Dunlap said. "What happens is a defence collapses and it gets crowded in there. I would say that is safe to say that we need to do that. And we need to do a better job with our spacing, too. But as far as the roster goes it's always nice to have guys who can shoot a basketball."

The Bobcats worked out four players on Monday including Vanderbilt's John Jenkins, who fits the bill as an outside shooter after shooting 48.3 per cent from beyond the arc last season.

Although he's not considered a top 10 pick, he could be an option for the Bobcats with their second round pick (31st overall). The others that worked out Monday in Charlotte were Missouri's Kim English, Virginia Tech's Dorenzo Hudson and High Point's Nick Barbour.

"I think it's a good draft and I also think there are a lot of guys out there that will be in that top 20 who have won a lot of basketball games," Dunlap said. "They kind of know the expectations. I also think you'll see a lot of wheeling and dealing with teams moving down or up."

While Dunlap could have some input on draft day decisions, his primary focus has been on developing the players he has on the roster.

He's dove head-first into the challenge.

Known as a no-nonsense coach, Dunlap spent more than two hours Monday working with a handful of Bobcats players including Byron Mullens and last year's rookie lottery picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo. The practice was fast-paced and intense in nature.

"Their work ethic and their willingness to learn has been good," he said. "I hope so, it's the honeymoon and there's nothing at stake right now."

Dunlap, who previously worked as an assistant at St. John's, has also been working on assembling an assistant coaching staff, although nothing is imminent.

"We're going to take our time," Dunlap said. "As they say in the business, hire slow, fire fast. I know that one."

Mike Dunlap (Photo: Porter Binks /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Porter Binks /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)
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