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Thursday, December 27, 2012

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for November: 14. Charlotte Bobcats

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of November 30th):  : 7-7 ,  third place Southeast Division




30
This Month:
14
Team Statistics and League Rank (as of November 30th)
Points Scored: 97.0 (17th)
Points Allowed: 99.6 (20th)
Team FG%: .417 (28th)
Opponent’s FG%: .441 (17th)
Rebounds per game: 42.3 (12th)
Opponents rebounds per game: 45.3 (29th)
Turnovers per game: 14.8 (13th)
Opponents turnovers per game: 16.8 (4th)

Individual Statistical Leaders

Scoring (ppg): Kemba Walker (18.0)
Rebounds per game:  Byron Mullens (8.8)
Minutes per game: Kemba Walker (38.0)
Assists per game: Kemba Walker (6.0)
Steals per game: Gerald Henderson (3.0)
Blocked Shots per game: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (1.5)

Worst Player of the Month: Byron Mullens



After a solid first season in Charlotte, many anticipated for Mullens to build from his breakout performance; however, that has not happened so much.  Although he is posting career highs in points (13.8) and rebounds per game (8.8), his game still remains quite flawed.  For a seven-footer, he shoots rather poorly at under .400—the reason being that most of his shots are not taken in the paint like traditional center. Of his 13 shot attempts, five of them come from the three point line, and he make less than two per game.  For the Bobcats to be successful, he needs to focus on getting his points down low as Charlotte virtually no other presence in the paint.
First Player of the Month: Kemba Walker/Ramon Sessions



This pick was rather difficult as both players are having career seasons, lead the team in scoring both at 16.5 points per game, and are virtually equal in every way.  The only stark difference is that Kemba plays approximately six more minutes than Sessions which may give him a slight advantage over Walker.  However, to be fair, both players have become major impact players providing the team with a bulk of the scoring production averaging 33 points per game, approximately one third of the team’s total offense.  They also are key players on the defensive end averaging a combined three steals per game and their assist to turnover ratios are almost equal at 2:1.  There is no doubt that in the long run it will be Kemba’s team; however, right now, both him and Sessions have carried the Bobcats thus far on an equal basis.

Analysis:

Who would have thought that the team that sported the worst record in NBA history last season would match their season’s seven game win total in the first month of the season?  Who would have expected that same to sport a winning record for most of November before falling to .500 by losing their last three games to finish the month?  Like many who have followed the NBA, the few people in the city of Charlotte that call themselves Bobcats fans never would have guessed that the same team who forced them to hang their heads down in shame would resurrect so quickly and in such a spectacular manner.  The Bobcats entered the season with a new vigor as they let have go their burdens of the past season and looked as if they would become one of the surprise teams in the league.  Winning their first seven games so quickly game their fans, who were expecting another long and disastrous season to lift their heads up in pride as their Charlotte Bobcats came into the season looking to exorcise their demons of the past.

November was quite the roller coaster ride for Charlotte as the Bobcats started with an impressive one point win against a team who was supposed to be one of the top contenders in the East, the Indiana Pacers (11/2/2012).  Unfortunately, that win was followed by three straight losses, including a 27 point spanking given to them courtesy of the Dallas Mavericks (11/3/2012); however Charlotte bounced back in splendid fashion winning their next three games which included them getting revenge on Dallas for their previous loss seven days later (11/10/2012).  The Bobcats would go on winning sixth of their next eight games only losing against the Memphis Grizzlies at home (11/17/2012) and their division rival Atlanta Hawks.  Regretably, as it often has been the case for this much maligned team, the Bobcats would finish November losing their last three games which included the humiliation at the hands of the Oklahoma City Thunder where Charlotte scored just 69 points in that game losing by almost 50 points(11/26/2012).  Yet despite that rather huge setback, Bobcats fans at least continued to hope that their home team would eventually bounce back as they had done before.

Sad to say, that has not happened as those three loses in November would be the start of a 15 game losing streak as the Bobcats have yet to win a game in the month of September.  They started to look like the Bobcats of old losing by ridiculous margins with an average disparity 13.5 points per loss.  Thus far, Charlotte has allowed their opponents to crack the 100 mark in every game except one—the heartbreaking three point loss to the Atlanta Hawks (11/28/2012); however despite their poor performance of late the Bobcats still had a few good showing.  They brought their game against the Portland Trailblazers to overtime before falling and lost to heavy hitting teams such as the New York Knicks, and both Los Angeles Lakers and the Clippers by a total of nine points.  Unfortunately, as it is expected for a young rebuilding team, the Bobcats have just been used as the league’s whipping boys by the 29 other NBA teams.

One can go as far to say that it was already a foregone conclusion that the Charlotte Bobcats would collapse sooner than later if he or she would look at their numbers.  Although the Bobcats showed plenty of improvement to start the season, they still allowed their opponents to outshoot and out rebound them on a regular basis.  Though the .441 they had allowed their opponents shoot in November is a far cry from the close to .480 that they allowed last season, the Bobcats have not helped themselves by shooting far worse at just under .420 from the field.  Plus, the teams that they did beat cannot be considered as the league’s cream of the crop by any sense of the imagination.  They beat the Washington Wizards, a team which had just won one game for the entire month of November, twice (11/13, 11/24) while the five other teams included an injury depleted Minnesota Timberwolves team (11/14/2012), an equally awful Toronto Raptors squad (11/21/2012), a team on the verge of rebuilding in the Dallas Mavericks and an underwhelming Indiana Pacers ball club.  Their only win to note was from an overachieving yet mediocre Milwaukee Bucks club who had an above .500 record at the time (11/19/2012).

So do not expect the Charlotte Bobcats to go any higher, let alone maintain their current standing in this month’s Worst to First.  At least Bobcat fans, the few that there are, can hold solace to the fact that they do not have the worst team in the league, or even the worst team in their own division.  Add the fact that their team is in a rather weak division with three team with sub .500 record, Charlotte does not look as bad as it once did.  Nonetheless, it will be a very long season for this young pack of Bobcat cubs as their opponents will look to beat them every single time; however, given some time, this Bobcat team might build itself up to a potential playoff contender one day—granted that day will be a long time coming, but everyone can agree that when it come to the Bobcats, they need all the optimism that they can get.