Scouting Report: Charlotte Bobcats
One of the largest reasons why the Charlotte Bobcats have been a middling franchise for nearly all of its existence is that it has never had a star. A star can win games all by himself, but the absence of a star can do the opposite.
Charlotte has missed out on grabbing the top pick in the NBA Draft on several occasions and as a result it has wound up with good but not top-flight draft picks. Bismack Biyombo, Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist are all talented players, but none of them are projected as superstars in the NBA.
At the moment, Walker is the player who is closest to being described as a star. Walker leads Charlotte in scoring with 17.6 points a night on 43.0 percent shooting. He has shown drastic improvement from his rookie season, which he completed with an average of 12.1 PPG and a shooting percentage of 36.6 percent. Walker has also upped his assist rate to 5.8 helpers per game.
Most basketball fans in New England know how dynamic Walker can be. He was a superstar at the University of Connecticut and led the Huskies to the national championship back in 2011. This kid can score, and he has done nothing but improve during his short time in the NBA.
Charlotte is a pretty healthy basketball team right now, but it is missing its starting center, Byron Mullens. Mullens has missed the past nine games with a left ankle sprain and is listed as 'out' for tonight’s game.
The absence of Mullens means that the Bobcats will likely start Hakim Warrick in the frontcourt alongside Biyombo and Kidd-Gilchrist. That trio has been the starting frontcourt for the last five games and has yielded poor results.
There was plenty of criticism going around when the Bobcats hired Dunlap as their head coach. He had no NBA head coaching experience prior to this hire, yet he has motivated his team as well as any coach in the league.
“They play hard as hell,” Doc Rivers said on Sunday of the Bobcats. “I mean listen, if you don’t play well against them, you’ll lose. They play extremely hard. It’s funny, I’ve talked to a couple of guys, because you’re talking to them and they just played them, the first thing that came out of their mouth: ‘If you’re not ready to play them they’re gonna knock you out.’ They come after you.”
In other words, they’re not going to beat you based purely on talent, but they might take you down based on hustle and grit.
The Bobcats still have a pulse solely because of the topic above. They are mentally strong and apparently can handle losing regularly for an extended period of time.
Charlotte has lost 20 of its last 22 games, including a terrible 18-game losing streak. There isn’t much to smile about with this team aside from the fact that the coach is inspiring his players and there are several young and talented players on the roster.
Their Achilles’ Heel
Pick your poison. The Bobcats aren’t particularly good at anything. In fact, they are underwhelming in most areas. The one area that stands out the most is their defense.
Charlotte is giving up a league-worst 103.6 points per game this season. Opponents are also hitting 46.1 percent of their shots against the Bobcats’ defense. Those numbers are resulting in the NBA’s worst scoring differential of -8.14 points a game.
The Celtics aren’t one of the strongest teams in the league in terms of scoring in high volumes, but they can put the ball through the basket. Charlotte will be facing off against the league’s sixth-best shooting team and that doesn’t bode well for the visitors’ chances.