- NBA Rank: 20
Conference Rank: 7
- Charlotte Bobcats
The first NBA franchise in Charlotte got run out of town on the back of a cheapskate owner with a scandalous personal life. The second incarnation put up the lowest win percentage in the history of the NBA. It looked for a while like running the Bobcats was something Michael Jordan did between holes on the golf course. But the future is starting to look up in the Queen city.
In the 2013-14 season, Charlotte started turning the ship around, putting up a 43-39 record under rookie head coach Steve Clifford. They were a good, fun, young team that looked to be up and coming in a weak conference. The feel good vibe continued in the offseason with a return of the original Hornets name, a snazzy new look and what is likely the free agent steal of the offseason. Will it be enough? Vegas is optimistic, and the over on this team is at a healthy 44.5 wins. The model is a little more reticent. We shall see why.
The Bobcats got a nice sendoff in their final season under the name in the NBA. Let's have a look using our new metric.
The acquisition of Big Al Jefferson made all the difference. The new metric had him as a plus in every category (scoring, handle, rebounding and defense), and the Bobcats built their attack around him, the passing of McRoberts and a top five defense.
|Josh McRoberts ||2,360||27||0.140||6.9|
|Ramon Sessions ||1,305||28||0.046||1.3|
|Anthony Tolliver ||1,298||29||0.117||3.2|
|Chris Douglas-Roberts ||1,016||27||0.154||3.3|
|Luke Ridnour ||378||33||-0.002||0|
|Ben Gordon ||279||31||-0.113||-0.7|
|Jeff Adrien ||256||28||0.332||1.8|
|Jordan Hamilton ||4||23||0.032||0|
|Justin Hamilton ||4||24||-.092||0|
|James Southerland ||3||24||-1.794||-.1|
Indicates that the player is no longer with the team.
They will be missing the passing of McRoberts and his team-leading 6.9 wins in the upcoming season. The departure of Anthony Tolliver and Chris Douglas-Roberts means that their three best offensive players from last season are gone. On a team that was already 7th worst on offense last year and had trouble just making buckets (6th worst in effective field goal percentage and made threes), this will be a real issue.
|Lance Stephenson ||2.0||1,957.3||24||0.209||8.5|
|Marvin Williams ||4.0||1,909.8||29||0.082||3.2|
|Brian Roberts ||1.0||1,233.8||29||0.039||1.0|
|Jason Maxiell ||4.0||743.0||32||-0.012||-0.2|
|Jeffery Taylor ||2.5||648.0||26||-0.025||-0.3|
|Noah Vonleh ||4.0||499.9||0||0.121||1.3|
|P.J. Hairston ||2.0||449.6||0||0.013||0.1|
|Semaj Christon ||1.0||362.4||0||0.036||0.3|
Indicates that the player is new to the team.
They did succeed in adding another star to the roster in the offseason. Lance Stephenson was the second best shooting guard in the NBA last season. His three year, $27.4 million contract was a bargain before the new TV deal got inked. Now? It's highway robbery. How does the rest of the roster project?
You can see that the addition of Lance is great, but there is still a distinct lack of net positive offensive players. In fact, Lance, Big Al and newcomers Brian Roberts and Marvin Williams are the only ones (by that I mean > zero points margin produced per 48 (PMP48) for Scoring and Handling). None of them are exceptional though. Barring a leap from one of their other young guns (Kemba, Kidd-Gilchrist) or the rookies (Vonleh), the wins for this team are still going to be coming from the defense and the grind.
I like this team going forward. I love the addition of Lance in a great contract. I don't like the distinct lack of offense. I think this team is definitely a playoff team, but it would take something truly special for them to actually hit the over.
I see a year of hovering at the .500 mark as their 2014-15 destiny. For this franchise? That's actual progress.