The Bobcats didn't move up and didn't move down in the NBA draft lottery Tuesday night, which means they will pick ninth in the June 23 draft, barring a trade of some sort. (And a trade is possible, since they also hold picks No.19 and No.39).
I keep hearing that experimental Beatles song from the White Album in my head when I think about this pick, the one where an unidentified voice keeps repeating "Number 9, number 9, number 9..."
Although I always thought that song was a mess, No.9 really isn't a bad place to be in the NBA draft. As the Bobcats happily note in their press release, notable No.9 NBA Draft picks since 1985 include Tracy McGrady (1997), Dirk Nowitzki (1998), Amar’e Stoudemire (2002) and Joakim Noah (2007). All-stars, all of them.
What the Bobcats don't note -- and I wouldn't either if I were them -- are the misfires at No.9 like Rodney White (who played one year for the Charlotte 49ers before bolting). Or Michael Sweeney. Or Patrick O'Bryant. Or Ike Diogu. All were No.9 picks since 2001, and can you remember anything any of them did in the NBA? Exactly.
You can also get a decent player at No.9, like D.J. Augustin, whom the Bobcats chose in 2008. Augustin has become a decent starting point guard, but not a great one.
Where should Charlotte go with that No.9 pick? I won't pretend to have studied the draft, but if there's a center out there who can help them at all, that's a huge need. A guy like Noah lasting until No.9 -- that's amazing, really, in retrospect, with how much NBA teams value big men.
But wherever Michael Jordan and Rod Higgins go with this one, the pick has to be a starter within two seasons. No ifs, ands or buts. The Bobcats can't afford another Adam Morrison misfire, and what they really need is a home run.
There's a couple of them out there in this draft, even though the draft isn't thought to be particularly strong overall. There always are. But will the Bobcats find him?