I live in the state of North Carolina, yet I know very little about the Charlotte Bobcats. I’ve figured that being a Knicks fan has bought me enough pain and suffering over the past couple decades, why should I follow another struggling franchise? I could have pretended to be an expert and lied my way through this pre-game article, but instead I turned to Spencer Percy at the Bobcats’ TrueHoop blog, Queen City Hoops, to school us on this year’s iteration of the Charlotte Bobcats.
1. What are some of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of this year’s Bobcats?
Spencer: Taking care of the basketball is definitely the Bobcats greatest strength — currently they’re 3rd in the NBA in turnover ratio at 12.1, but wouldn’t be surprised to see them be the best in this category by season’s end.
The largest weakness for Charlotte is 3-point shooting. The team simply doesn’t have a player that can knock down shots from outside with any consistency. Well, they do. His name in Ben Gordon and he never gets off the bench.
2. Can the core of the Bobcats be competitive in the league, or are they still looking for that franchise player to turn their fortunes around?
There’s no question that Charlotte has improved as they’ve added Al Jefferson and their young core continues to develop. They can be competitive in this league, but winning on a consistent basis just isn’t going to happen yet. Again, you must be able to score the ball to win in this league and Charlotte badly lacks that on the roster still. Three potential draft picks in a strong draft this summer have people continuing to be hopeful.
3. Why do you think Charlotte signed Al Jefferson the year before a great draft? If you’re going to make an FA splash, why time it in a way that could hurt your chances at a future stud?
It’s certainly somewhat confusing when pondering why Charlotte elected to pay Al Jefferson the summer before Andrew Wiggins comes off the shelf. My train of thought consist around the idea that he’ll speed up the development with the youth on this team because of how much he can open up the floor. Plus, the franchise needs poster board kind of guy with the return of the Hornets next season.
4. Most advanced stats love Kidd-Gilchrist for his rebounding and defense, but his offense is lacking. Are there any signs of improvement in that part of his game? Also, going into his 3rd year is Bismack Biyombo showing any signs of living up to his 7th overall draft selection?
MKG and Biz have very similar problems. As close to incompetent as it gets, offensively, for NBA players. Well, MKG is a monster in transition + attacking the rim, but little else. Biz just has no feel around the basket, no go-to move and zero touch. Heck, most are happy when he actually catching the basketball. He’s a problem on the defensive end for most teams, though. Protects the rim well and is starting to show signs of consistently rebounding the ball at an above average clip.
5. How is the front office viewed by Bobcat fans, in general? Is Jordan’s legacy being tarnished in Charlotte, or is he beyond reproach?
Jordan is viewed in Charlotte pretty much the same he’s viewed everywhere. Not a great owner that has made some very bad personnel decision and surrounds himself with ‘yes men’. Rich Cho, the Bobcats GM, is the one guy who can save this franchise from NBA exile. He was raised in Oklahoma City under the Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook model, but that obviously still takes luck in the draft.
6. What’s your prediction for Tuesday night’s game?
Spencer: I’ll take the Knicks in this one. They do something very well that Charlotte doesn’t traditionally guard well – spread the floor and knock down the 3.
Kevin’s Take: Turnovers have been a major issue for the Knicks for the first 3 games, while the Bobcats are third best in the league at avoiding turnovers. That alone should keep the game close. The good news for Knicks fans is that Charlotte is atrocious at scoring. Their ORtg (91.7) and eFG% (0.416!!!) are only better than Cleveland. Expect a low scoring, ugly game, unless the Knicks get hot from 3, or Jordan decides to lace ’em up and scorch The Garden for 70 points. It could happen! You better watch!