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John Schuhmann

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Charlotte's defense ranked No. 17 last season.
NBAE via Getty Images

StatsCube: Amid roster overhaul, Bobcats' defense slipped


Posted Dec 2 2011 12:29PM

To get ready for the 2011-12 season, NBA.com StatsCube breaks down the critical numbers for all 30 teams.

Two seasons ago, the Charlotte Bobcats made the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. But they couldn't sustain their momentum last season, losing 10 more games than they did the year before. Along the way, Larry Brown left the bench and Gerald Wallace was traded to Portland.

The Bobcats shook up their roster even more with a Draft-day trade, and they're looking for a couple of lottery picks to give them some promise for the future.

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2010-11 Basics
Record: 34-48
Pace: 92.1 (26)
OffRtg: 100.8 (25)
DefRtg: 104.8 (17)
Pace = Possessions per 48 minutes
OffRtg = Points scored per 100 possessions
DefRtg = Points allowed per 100 possessions

The Bobcats fell just one place in offensive efficiency last year, but one only team (Cleveland) regressed more defensively from the previous season, when Charlotte was the No. 1 defensive team in the league.

Most regressed defenses, 2010-11
Team 2009-10 Rank 2010-11 Rank Diff.
Cleveland 101.5 7 109.1 29 +7.6
Charlotte 100.2 1 104.8 17 +4.6
Utah 102.9 11 107.3 24 +4.3
Oklahoma City 101.6 8 104.0 13 +2.4
San Antonio 102.0 9 102.8 11 +0.8

At the time Larry Brown was dismissed, the Bobcats already ranked 17th in the league defensively. So it wasn't his dismissal that caused their regression. And it wasn't the Wallace trade either, but the numbers show that Charlotte suffered more defensively after Wallace's departure than after Brown's.

Bobcats' efficiency, 2010-11
Timeframe W L Pace Rank OffRtg Rank DefRtg Rank NetRtg
Brown 9 19 93.3 19 98.2 28 104.0 17 -5.8
Silas 25 29 91.4 27 102.2 24 105.3 16 -3.1
Before Wallace trade 25 32 92.5 24 101.3 25 103.6 13 -2.3
After Wallace trade 9 16 91.2 26 99.8 30 107.8 23 -8.0
See ya later, steals

When you compare the Bobcats' defensive numbers from the season before, it appears that the departure of another starter is what really hurt them. They weren't much worse in defending shooters or rebounding misses last season, but they allowed their opponents to shoot more free throws and they forced far fewer turnovers.

Bobcats' efficiency, last two seasons
Season DefRtg Rank OppeFG% Rank DREB% Rank OppTORatio Rank OppFTA Rate Rank
2009-10 100.2 1 49.1% 12 74.2% 10 16.4 3 .262 2
2010-11 104.8 17 50.0% 14 75.2% 6 14.2 23 .294 10
OppeFG% = Opponents' effective field goal percentage = (FGM + (0.5*3PM))/FGA
DREB% = Percentage of available defensive rebounds obtained
OppTORatio = Opponents' turnovers per 100 possessions
OppFTA Rate = Opponents' FTA/FGA

Forcing turnovers was where the Bobcats' defense fell off most. And the departure of Raymond Felton, who led them in steals in 2009-10, had something to do with that.

With Felton signing in New York (and eventually being traded to Denver), D.J. Augustin was promoted to starting point guard. Not only did Augustin fail to match Felton's steal numbers, but he couldn't match his own steal numbers (per-minute) from the previous season. In fact, back-up Shaun Livingston had nearly as many steals as Augustin in less than half as many minutes last season.

Bobcats' point guard steals, last two seasons
Season Player MIN STL STL/48
2009-10 Raymond Felton 2644 123 2.23
2009-10 D.J. Augustin 1472 45 1.47
2009-10 Total 4116 168 1.96
2010-11 D.J. Augustin 2756 54 0.94
2010-11 Shaun Livingston 1259 47 1.79
2010-11 Total 4015 101 1.21

For the season, the Bobcats allowed 107 points per 100 possessions with Augustin on the floor and just 100 points per 100 possessions with him on the bench. That's the difference between the 10th-worst defense in the league and the fourth-best.

Nobody puts Bobbies in the corner

Offensively, the Bobcats did just one thing well. They got to the line 26.3 times per 100 possessions, the eighth best rate in the league. But they were in the bottom 10 in 2-point percentage, 3-point percentage and turnover ratio.

Charlotte ranked 29th in 3-point shooting with a mark of 32.7 percent, a mark they could have improved upon by just taking the right kind of threes. The Bobcats shot more than five percent better on corner 3-pointers than they did on threes from above the break, but took only 19 percent of their threes from the corner. That was the lowest rate in the league.

Lowest percentage of 3-point attempts from corners
Team %3PA Corner 3PT% Rank
Charlotte 18.9% 32.7% 29
Utah 19.3% 34.6% 20
Oklahoma City 19.5% 34.7% 19
Minnesota 20.8% 37.6% 5
Indiana 21.2% 35.4% 16

And that number was even lower (just 18 percent) after Paul Silas took over for Brown. The Bobcats' biggest culprit was Boris Diaw, who attempted only 10 of his 226 threes (4.4 percent) from the corners. Augustin (40 of 333) and Stephen Jackson (56 of 359) also took almost all of their threes from the wings and top of the key.

More trips to line in store?

In a Draft-day, three-team deal, the Bobcats traded Jackson and Livingston away, getting Corey Maggette and the No. 7 pick in the draft in return.

In Wallace and Jackson, the Bobcats have dealt two of their better offensive players and two guys that got to the free throw line often. But getting to the line is Maggette's specialty. For each of the last four seasons, Maggette has had the highest free throw attempt rate (FTA/FGA) among players 6-foot-9 or shorter. He's attempted over 64 free throws for every 100 shots he took from the field over those four years.

Of course, Maggette's free throws weren't nearly enough to help the Bucks last season. They ranked dead last in offensive efficiency, scoring just 99 points per 100 possessions.

Where Walker can shine

With their two lottery picks, the Bobcats drafted 6-foot-9 power forward Bismack Biyombo and 6-foot-1 guard Kemba Walker.

Walker is known for his offense, and the Bobcats could certainly use some scoring punch. But in addition to his 23.5 points, Walker averaged 1.9 steals for UConn last season, so he may be able to help Charlotte get back to forcing turnovers. He probably can't be worse than Augustin defensively.

Biyombo probably isn't going to help the Bobcats' offense anytime soon, but he should be able to replace some of Wallace's shot-blocking prowess. As a rookie though, fouls may be an issue.

John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter.

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.

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