Let's face it—a miracle is pretty much the only way the Charlotte Bobcats are going to the playoffs this year.
Now that we have the cold hard facts out of the way, there is still plenty of hope for this young squad.
That means the Bobcats are entering 2013 with a winning attitude. After being the worst team in NBA history with a 7-59 record last season, the Bobcats have already outdone themselves with eight wins.
With postseason dreams down the drain, the Bobcats can only ascend and prepare to become contenders in the future. Though that will only happen if head coach Mike Dunlap and his guys continue to work on the glaring flaws that hinder them from being a successful franchise.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has been playing fairly well in the first half of the season.
He is an aggressive slasher who draws fouls, and it certainly helps that he shoots 76 percent from the free throw line. And even though he is not averaging huge points (10.9 as of Jan. 2), his .506 field goal percentage is still impressive
However, his outside shooting could use some polishing. Sure, the stat sheet says Kidd-Gilchrist is 40 percent behind the arc, but that's just from the two he's netted out of five attempts. The Bobcats' three-point game, as I will explain later, is dismal enough, so more attempts from MKG would be of some help.
As for his defensive game, he uses his athleticism diligently. He does all the little things that lead to big plays. He has the hops to grab tough rebounds—though that also can put him into foul trouble if he is not careful.
Still, he has not given the Bobcats a reason to regret taking him as the No. 2 overall draft pick. The only concern for now is his recovery from a head injury after playing the New Orleans Hornets on Dec. 29.
The Bobcats rely mostly on points in the paint and mid-range shots, but when it comes to shooting behind the arc, forget about it.
Thank goodness for guard Ben Gordon and his ever-present three-point shot. Without him, the Bobcats arc game would be even more pathetic.
This is a major part of the Bobcats' offense that needs fixing. Driving through the lane is an exciting part of playing basketball, but it also brings a higher risk of players getting injured. Having a better outside game would be a huge relief for Charlotte.
And it certainly does not help that Charlotte is only averaging 95.4, themselves.
Kidd-Gilchrist, as I mentioned before, brings tenacity to the defensive end, but the perimeter defense is way lackluster. Point guard Kemba Walker has always been a stronger offensive player since his days at Connecticut, but he and Sessions have a habit of getting beat off the dribble.
The Eastern Conference is too loaded with premiere point guards for this type of defensive performance. Simply put, the Bobcats need a major boost in this category to keep up.
Yes, the team plummeted after making its first and only playoff appearance in the 2009-2010 season. And it only got worse once Jordan stepped in as majority owner.
Nevertheless, the one thing Jordan has not done is give up on his team.
No owner can say he has suited up to offer pointers to his young, inexperienced team. It is clear his recent practice appearance boosted the team's morale. Although it took the team 20 more days to win one of its last 19, the impact was still apparent.
It is also apparent that Jordan will not be Owner of the Year any time soon, and that is okay. What is important is he having enough faith in his players to want to personally be a part of their development.
Any bit helps.
I am sure every Bobcat fan in Charlotte were incredibly pumped about their team's 7-5 start in the first 12 games of the season.
Then reality kicked in.
Inconsistency got the best of the Bobcats, but they still have a chance to keep their season from becoming a futile mess.
The one way to stave off disappointing losing skids is to remain a cohesive unit.
Walker is having a better sophomore season than his rookie year with 18.1 points and 6.0 assists per game, as of January. His backup, Ramon Sessions, is the second lead scorer with 14.3 points and 4.0 assists per game.
It is rare for the point guard and his backup to lead the team in points, which means players like Jeff Taylor, Gerald Henderson and Byron Mullens all need to step up.
It is a new year for the Bobcats, and they are at least winners for now. It is only up to them if they want to come in every game like they want the win.