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Thursday, March 7, 2013

SDH Presents the NBA's Worst to First for January and February: 30. Charlotte Bobcats

Overall Win/Loss Record (as of February 28th): 13-44 (fifth place, Southeast Division)  



28

This Month

30

Team Statistics and League Rank (as of February 28th)

  • Points Scored: 93.7 (26th)
  • Points Allowed: 102.8 (28th)
  • Team FG%: .420 (30th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .466 (27th)
  • Team FT%: .749 (18th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .347 (22nd)
  • Rebounds per game: 41.1 (22nd)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 44.8 (28th)
  • Turnovers per game: 14.1 (8th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 13.8 (22nd)


Individual Statistical Leaders (as of February 28th)
  • Scoring (ppg): Kemba Walker (17.6)
  • Rebounds per game:  Byron Mullens (7.8)
  • Minutes per game: Kemba Walker (34.6)
  • Assists per game: Kemba Walker (5.5)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (.451)
  • Free Throw Percentage: Ben Gordon (.850)
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Ben Gordon (.405)
  • Steals per game: Kemba Walker (1.9)
  • Blocked Shots per game: Bismack Biyombo (1.8)

Worst Player of the Month: Tyrus Thomas



Add Tyrus Thomas to the number of poor executive decisions that team owner Michael Jordan would like to go back in time and erase.  Two years into his five year long contract extension, Thomas has continued to underwhelm with his poor play and his rather pathetic production.  Sitting out the season after 18 games is just a chapter of the sad saga of his rather pathetic career and with three more years and $24 million left on his contract left on his deal, he will remain a thorn in the Bobcats' side for quite some time.  It is even doubtful that MJ and general manager Rich Cho can even find a sucker to unload Thomas' onerous contract and will thus have to either suck it up and keep him until his contract finally expires or bite the bullet, take the 24$ million hit and buy his contract out.  Either way the team will suffer no matter the choice making Tyrus Thomas possibly one of the worst signings EVER in NBA History.  
First Player of the Month: Kemba Walker


If anything has remained a constant for the Charlotte Bobcats other than losing has been the consistent production of Kemba Walker.  During this entire season, Walker has remained the sole source of stability and consistency for this rather downtrodden team as he led the Bobcats in scoring, assists, and steals per game.  Both January and February saw Walker's numbers rise slightly as he shot close to .440 from the field and .410 from beyond the arc making him the Bobcats' most reliable offensive option.  With the way he has played, Walker might just become the official face of the franchise and the cornerstone of the team's rebuilding efforts.  Not only has he been the sole bright spot on this rather woeful team, but he can be considered by many as Michael Jordan's sole good personnel choice EVER in his career as an NBA owner/front office guy.  
Analysis:

After two months of teetering on the edge of the abyss, the Charlotte Bobcats have finally slipped, fell and crashed back to rock bottom.  November started off on a positive note as the Cats started at .500, but then the cold winter of December sent the team hurdling to the bottom of the standings before having their fall cushioned by the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers.  Now with the regular season coming nearer to a close, the floor has slipped under the Bobcats once again as the Wizards and Cavs have improved the play enough to get themselves out of the bottom leaving Charlotte as the perennial bottom feeder of the NBA once again.  Through the last couple of months, the Bobcats had won a total of just five games--an overtime shocker on the road against the Detroit Pistons (1/6/2013); two against Southeast division rival and fellow under-dweller  the Orlando Magic (1/18, 2/19); and finally a squeaker against the Minnesota Timberwolves (1/26/2013) followed by an upset win of the Boston Celtics (2/11/2013).  The rest of their game, unfortunately, have ended with the same tragic and yet, very accustomed results--loss after loss after loss, with little or no relief in sight.

Yet despite all the gloom and doom, there were still rather tiny bright lights of hope that pierced through all the gloom and doom giving the few Bobcats fans that remain a reason to lift their head up.  Although a majority of the games were lost by ten points or more, the Bobcats had a few solid performances and if they could have possibly held on, could have had 22 wins instead of just 13 at the end of February.  There were the heartbreaking ones such as the two points loss by the Cleveland Cavs (1/4/2013) to start off the new year followed by equally close calls by the Sacramento Kings (1/19/2013) losing by just four followed by a six point loss at the hands of the Houston Rockets (1/21/2012) two days later.  The Bobcats also had fought hard in games against the Indiana Pacers (1/12/2013), Chicago Bulls (1/28/2013), Los Angeles Lakers (2/8/2013) and Detroit Pistons (2/20/2013); however, despite keeping those games close, the Cats simply could not last as their opponents pulled away at the end.  The biggest morale boost would have been if the Bobcats managed to hang on to beat the league's best Miami Heat on the Heat's home floor, but Miami ripped Charlotte's heart out by hanging on and narrowly beating the Bobcats by just five points (2/4/2013).


Add the fact that the Bobcats have won almost double the games than they did last season is cause for jubilation.  Last season, Charlotte made history earning the the lowest win total and winning percentage in NBA history; however that shameful scar on the franchise can be considered as more of a blessing than a curse.  At least Bobcats fans along with their few fans have the assurance that there is no way that the team can get any worse as they have literally set the bar when it comes to hitting rock bottom.  In the eyes of management, anything better than that seven win season can be considered a vast improvement and with another month left in the season, Charlotte could possibly win another three to five more games giving the team a grand total of 16 to 18 regular season wins.  They will most certainly be in the running to get the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft and at worse receive the second overall pick for their troubles come July.

Granted, the prospects for the Charlotte Bobcats are quite bleak to say the least and it will probably stay that way for a very long time; however, at least MJ, Rich Cho and the front office brass can hold solace to the fact that there is no where else to go but up.  The bar has already been set so very low that there is literally no chance for failure because every season, no matter HOW TERRIBLE, will look like a step forward in the right direction. Granted, they can forget about attracting any big name free agents even with the oodles of salary cap space that Charlotte possesses; however, with the top five pick that they will be receiving over the next few years, the Bobcats can certainly compensate for that by building through the draft.  Plus they do have the added luxury of possessing attractive assets to pull off a trade for more first round picks or young prospects to build upon thanks to expiring contracts along with intriguing young pieces as additional trade bait to entice other NBA teams to try and get a deal done. Thus despite their limited prospects and very slim chances, there is still plenty of room for optimism for the future in Charlotte.

With a little over a month left in the season, the suffering will soon end for this hard luck team as they put this season behind them and look forward to possibly another other long and depressing season.  Right now, both Jordan and Cho are looking ahead towards the future as they continue the arduous plan of slowly building this ramshackle franchise into a playoff contender and as long as nobody does anything stupid (Mr. Jordan, we are looking in your direction) the Bobcats will be just fine.  As it stands, the season is over for Charlotte, it has been that way since the inaugural tip off; however as the season winds down to a close, it feels as if a huge weight has been lifted off them as the players can look forward to another long summer of reflection.  The Bobcats can also celebrate their small yet quite monumental victory of doubling their win output from last season and look forward to even more improvement as time passes by.  Now it is all about survival as the Bobcats have to endure two more months of torture before they are finally set free from the shackles of the regular season.