What's on the Menu? "mmmmmm . . . Basketball!!!!"

Friday, June 7, 2013

SDH Presents the 2013 End of Season NBA's Worst to First: 30. Charlotte Bobcats

Overall Win/Loss Record (At Season’s End): 21-61, fourth place Southeast Division

At Season’s End:

Team Statistics and League Rank (At Season’s End)
  • Points Scored: 93.4 (26th)
  • Points Allowed: 102.7 (29th)
  • Team FG%: .425 (30th)
  • Opponent’s FG%: .471 (27th)
  • Team FT%: .750 (18th)
  • Team Three Point FG%: .335 (27th)
  • Rebounds per game: 40.3 (27th)
  • Opponents rebounds per game: 44.1 (27th)
  • Turnovers per game: 13.1 (4th)
  • Opponents turnovers per game: 13.6 (21st)

Individual Statistical Leaders (At Season’s End)
  • Scoring (ppg): Kemba Walker (17.1)
  • Rebounds per gameBismack Biyombo (7.7)
  • Minutes per game: Kemba Walker (34.7)
  • Assists per game:  Kemba Walker (17.1)
  • Field Goal Percentage: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (.458)
  • Free Throw Percentage: Ramon Sessions (.840)  
  • Three Point FG Percentage: Ben Gordon (.385)
  • Steals per game: Kemba Walker (2.0)
  • Blocked Shots per game:  Bismack Biyombo (1.0)

Taking a Look back at the Season that Once Was . . .

SDH Worst to First Recap
Time Period
Change (+/-)
At Season’s End
SDH Player of the Year: 
Kemba Walker

On a team that was simply terrible in every aspect this season, Kemba Walker was the sole bright spot on a team that had virtually nothing really to look forward to as the season wore on.  In only his second season and at the tender age of just 23 years old, Kemba not only provided scoring, exceptional facilitation of his teammates, and solid care of the basketball on the offensive end; he also provided great poise and leadership on a team in desperate need of it.  His energy was especially evident on the defensive end where he not only led his team, but also finished the season fifth in the league in steals per game.  Although it will be quite a while until the Bobcats return to any sort of respectability, if the team's front office continue to find players that can complement Kemba's fiery passion for the game and competitiveness, this future will be certainly be brighter with every season that passes.  And if Walker continues such fabulous play and effort as he has shown, eventually he will get the recognition and notoriety that he deserves.   

No matter how many ways you look at both Bobcats team owner Michael Jordan and his general manager Rich Cho must be grinning from ear to ear.  Despite finishing the 2013 regular season winning just 21 games, their Charlotte Bobcats surpassed even the most optimistic of expectations tripling their win total from the previous season where they won just seven games--the worst ever in NBA history.  The team had already matched last season's  win total by the end of the first month making the rest of the season seem like gravy.  If they would have won just one game for the rest of the season, it still would have been considered an improvement; however, Charlotte exceeded even the expectations of the team's top brass with their rather impressive showing.  Now, instead of coming into the next season with lower expectations, the Bobcats have raised the bar as they look to build upon their impressive showing from this finished regular season.

What makes this season even more special for Charlotte is that it came into the regular season with little or nothing at all.  Save for the team's leader in scoring, assists, and steals Kemba Walker, there was little or nothing else in terms of depth in the Bobcats' roster as many of the team's other players failed miserably in coming up for their team.  Many anticipated the return of big man Byron Mullens after he had a breakout season the previous year, but he fell rather flat scoring a little under eleven per game while shooting a woeful .385 from the field.  Many also hoped that Ben Gordon, who had been virtually invisible for the past three years after signing a whopping 50$ million contract, would return to his old form thanks to a change of scenery.  Unfortunately that did not happen as he continued his rather uninspired play and even became a team pariah and off the court distraction as the season wore on.

Even their rookie whom they selected second overall in last year's 2013 NBA draft was not write home about either.  Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who many expected to have one the better rookie performances of the 2013 regular season, did not even a make a blip on the NBA radar despite being touted as the second best prospect coming out in the NBA Draft behind his former University of Kentucky teammate, Anthony Davis, who was picked first overall by the team that used to play in Charlotte, the New Orlean's Hor . . . er, I mean Pelicans (God, what a terrible name!!  More on that later, however).  Although he had plenty of opportunities to do so being on a young and developing team, he never really asserted himself only posting just nine points and under six boards per game.  In fact, one can go as far to say that his fellow rookie who Charlotte picked late in the second round, Jeffrey Taylor, outperformed Kidd-Gilchrist as he averaged about the same per 48 minutes production as the former second overall pick in the draft.  Per 48 minutes, Taylor averaged 14.9 points per game compared to MKG's 16.6--quite impressive considering that MKG came in with greater hype and supposedly more talent and athleticism; unfortunately for Kidd-Gilchrist, the same cannot be said, however.

As for the rest of the team, there really was not a huge wealth of talent as the roster went from two extremes: either the players were young, athletically raw and unprepared, or old, over the hill, washed up and useless.  The team's depth in the front court was exceptionally shameful to say the least as it consisted of an aging Brendan Haywood who contributed next to nothing.  Tyrus Thomas continued to rub into Michael Jordan's face how much of a mistake he made signing him to a five year deal worth $50 million as he finished with another forgettable and regrettable season.  And finally second year Bismack Biyombo, who despite leading the team in rebounds and blocked shot, proved to be completely inept on the offensive end as his lack of size and fundamentals were more of a hindrance than a help. As for the rest of the roster, it consisted of broken down and useless spare parts whose only value were their expiring contracts at the end of July.

Regardless of the team's shortcomings, the few people that call themselves Bobcats fans can hold their heads up high that their team managed to improve so greatly from the previous season winning three times more games than last time.  The Bobcats also exit the regular season possessing the third overall pick in this summer's NBA draft, so they will be able to add another young talented piece to pair alongside their developing young core of players.  Led by the diminutive yet determined Kemba Walker, the Bobcats will look to build upon this season's gain as their look to bring themselves back to respectability; however, don't expect that to happen anytime soon as Charlotte will have plenty of obstacles to overcome with hungry up and coming teams such as the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors looking to punch their tickets into the post season while falling teams such as the Boston Celtics and Atlanta Hawks look to hold on to as much ground as they possibly can.  All those teams mentioned will certainly be looking to use Charlotte as a stepping stone for their future endeavors making the playoffs still quite a ways for this young expansion team; however, at least Charlotte will at least march into the future with a strong sense of inner piece and calming thought that there is nowhere else for this downtrodden team to go but up.