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College, NBA Draft, Overseas / Jan 30, 2013 / 4:30 pm

Fast 5: Tracking This Year’s NBA Draft Class, Vol. 9

Richard Howell

Richard Howell (photo. NC State Athletic Media Relations/Mark McIntyre)

Each Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2013 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…

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Three teams into the team preview version of the Fast Five with the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers in the books, here we look at the Charlotte Bobcats. This is arguably the most futile franchise in the NBA after dropping 18 straight games earlier this season and constantly not finding the right mix of talent on the roster.

Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.

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ONE: What Do We Know About The Charlotte Bobcats?
When you look at the Charlotte Bobcats, their needs are clear and simple: talented basketball players and scorers. The scorers are sorely needed in every facet — from big men in the paint to shooters and to playmakers on the perimeter.

Their core going forward consists of Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Bismack Biyombo. All very good athletes, but not a group that can produce points consistently at this level and need some help. Other contributors to the team for the next 2-3 years include Tyrus Thomas, Jeffery Taylor and Brendan Haywood.

The point guard position has improved this season with Walker getting better in his second full season and learning how to balance scoring and distributing. He and MKG are cornerstones on the perimeter, along with Biyombo in the paint, but they need to add shooters, scorers and options in-between them to dig themselves out of the cellar of the NBA, where they have lived for years.

TWO: What Do They Need?
Looking at the upcoming draft, their needs fit the talent with four quality centers in the top 10 and six in the top 20. They vary in skills, but all provide a big body in the paint that score in different ways.

Then when you look at the nucleus on the perimeter, you find yourself looking, and looking, and looking for anyone who has the potential to put up 20 points a night for a winning team. Wedging in a shooter between the two youngsters would add floor balance. Again, there are a few options in the top 10, with two prospects near the top, that can provide a major impact.

THREE: Stock Rising
This season, Richard Howell has been the best player on the floor for North Carolina State and potentially the best prospect in the state. He is not a volume scorer or a guy who makes plays on the offensive end, but rather makes an impact on the glass and on the defensive end. As a four, he is a little undersized, but is one of the stronger players in the country and knows his role on the basketball court.

With the way he is playing, despite the wins and losses, Howell is making a case to be a late first-round pick ahead of all of his more highly-regarded teammates. Rebounding translates to the NBA, which is where Howell excels with 27 career double-doubles, 13 of which have come this season. Right now he is fifth in the nation in rebounding, but with the way he is playing over his past six games, he may soar to the top of that list.

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