Tonight’s opponent hails from the great state of North Carolina. Like most North Carolinians, I don’t watch many Bobcat games, but I do know how to look up statistics, and we all know that statistics never lie and always tell the complete story. ALWAYS! Let’s take a look at the soon to be Hornets from a statistical perspective!
Record: 15-23, 4th in Southeast, 2-8 in last 10 games
PTS/G: 93.0 (28th)
Opp PTS/G: 96.6 (5th)
Pace: 92.7 (22nd)
Off Rtg: 99.6 (29th)
Def Rtg: 103.4 (8th)
PG – Kemba Walker
Is Kemba a good point guard? Well, he scores at below league average efficiency with a team high usage, and he has a below average number of assists and . He is fairly steady with the ball, with a pretty low turnover rate, will get you some steals, and is a decent rebounder for his size. In all, he is probably an average point guard at best, who gets a bit more recognition he deserves for being the go-to offensive scorer on this team, a role he probably should stay away from, if this team had any viable alternatives (not so much).
SG – Gerald Henderson
Another high usage, low efficiency backcourt player. There’s a reason that the Bobcats are second to last in the NBA in Offensive Rating. To his credit, Henderson is very good at limiting his turnovers, even with his high usage. Here’s the thing with Henderson, his numbers this year aren’t that far off from his career numbers, which is to say, not very good. Yet, the Bobcats still signed him to a 3 year $18 million contract this past summer. He did play well at the end of last season after coming back from injury, is a great athlete and is regarded as a solid defender, so I’m sure the contract was based on the potential for him to “put it all together”. That doesn’t seem to be happening this season, at least offensively.
SF – Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
This will be the first game since he broke his hand at the beginning of December. As a rookie last year, he developed a reputation as very good, athletic defender with a limited offensive game. This is a cat (See what I did there?) that knows his limitations, though, taking nearly 60% of his shots in the paint and attempting just 14 threes in his career to date. While you would prefer your starting small forward to be able to hit an outside shot once in a while, Kidd-Gilchrist should be appreciated for what he is: a high motor, super-athletic defensive stopper that can also rebound well and score in transition and via cleaning up the offensive glass.
PF – Josh McRoberts
Hey look! A low efficiency scorer! Who would have thought we’d find one on the Bobcats! The most impressive thing about McBob is that he has a better assist rate than his starting point guard, so I guess that’s why he gets 30 minutes a game. My question is, why the hell he takes so many 3′s? He’s not good at shooting them (his career average is even lower than this year) and he hasn’t really taken many in his career before this year. It’s one of the many enigmas of this Bobcat’s team.
C – Al Jefferson
Speaking of enigmas, I don’t know what’s up with big Al, either. Here’s a guy that takes over half of his shots in the paint, yet still has an abysmal TS%. This is due to hardly ever getting to the line. If you look at his shot chart, it’s not bad, with a large majority of his shots around the basket:
These are the kind of shots you want your center to take, resulting in at least an average efficiency, don’t you think? Why is Jefferson’s free throw rate so low? If the best way to answer this question is to watch more Bobcats games, maybe it’s better off left unanswered.
Looking at the Bobcats’ bench, not a whole lot stands out. Bismack Biyombo should probably be getting more playing time, as he is a great rebounder and defender. He is extremely limited offensively, though, which is probably the reason he doesn’t see a lot of playing time on such an offensively inept team. Ramon Sessions gets plenty of playing time, but about the only thing he does well is get to the free throw line. Ben Gordon and Jeff Taylor have been absolutely repugnant, and first round draft pick Cody Zeller has only shown he is pretty far from being a positive contributor in the NBA.
The Bobcats are a very poor offensive team. They make up for it, a bit, with solid defense and keeping turnovers low. The biggest need for this team is a wing scorer who is actually good at scoring, rather than just taking shots. This is the kind of team that may overvalue a guy like JR Smith if the Knicks were ever truly looking for a trade partner. I’m not sure what they could get back that would be helpful, though. The Knicks are playing very well right now and get Chandler back, so I would have a hard time picking against them this game. My guess for a final score tonight is 88-82 Knicks. Optimism! Enjoy the game!