Biggest Mistakes the Charlotte Bobcats Have Made This Season
Clearly, there is not much to shout about with a 10-32 record.
Charlotte's season was promising after winning its first seven of 12 games, but it has been the same sad story since: losses on top of losses.
What went wrong?
Well, a number of things.
Trailing Early in the Game
The Charlotte Observer’s Rick Bonnell recently reported the Bobcats have a trend of falling so far behind early in the game that it makes it harder for them to come back.
Head coach Mike Dunlap told Bonnell that it began on Dec. 7 against the Milwaukee Bucks, where they trailed by 15 points in the first quarter and never recovered. They lost 108-93.
The Observer collected data from that night to the Indiana Pacers game on Jan. 15:
- Charlotte lost 19 out of 21 games in that stretch, where they trailed by seven or more points in the first quarter in 15 of those losses.
- In those 15 first quarters, the Bobcats shot 40 percent and allowed their opponents to shoot 56 percent.
“So many things have to go right (the rest of the game): You're trying to make them miss shots and you feel you have to score almost every time,” Henderson said to the Observer.
It is harder on players to stay motivated when their spirits are already deflated by halftime. It is time for Dunlap and his team to figure out a way to start and finish strong.
Not Enough Involvement in Trade Talks
The trade deadline is sneaking around the curb, and the Bobcats have been slow on the uptake.
Other than that, not much has been happening.
But that may change within the next few weeks.
The Charlotte Observer reported that Bobcats president of operations Rod Higgins is open to ideas and have been interviewing other front offices for proposals.
General Manager Rich Cho said the plan has been to build through the draft, but that cannot be the only item on the Bobcats’ to-do list.
Michael Jordan said in the article that he is willing to spend the money for the “right guy,” so he ought to prove it.
It is never too soon to start orchestrating a cohesive team that is set on turning this club around.
Seeking Name Change—Again
For reasons unknown, this is a serious debate. Fans are even being polled about it.
The Charlotte Hornets is a franchise of the past. Former owner and BET founder Robert L. Johnson made sure of that by naming the expansion team after him.
New Orleans already threw a curveball with their new nickname, so there's no need for Charlotte to add more to the ridiculousness.
The Bobcats will gain nothing from this. It will not bring back Larry Johnson or Alonzo Mourning, nor will it restore basketball enthusiasm in Charlotte.
Just let it rest.
Mike Dunlap’s Defensive Scheme
Dunlap's young team was not prepared for his hard-nose, old-school style.
Some players even complained about practice lasting three to four hours, mostly about fundamentals such as boxing out and making good passes.
Then there is his focus on rotation and pressure defenses that takes getting used to.
Hakim Warrick can attest to that. He was given the nickname "Mothballs" because he was rarely used in the first 14 games after getting acquired on Nov. 13.
He said most NBA teams don't use Dunlap's technique because faster and stronger players would easily burn out.
And that's exactly happening to the Bobcats.
As mentioned in the first slide, the Bobcats have an awful knack for allowing opponents to blow them out early.
Coming out on defense full force worked out for Dunlap early in the season, but it has since imploded on the team.
Look at their 104-92 loss against the Atlanta Hawks on Jan. 23.
The Hawks took advantage of the Bobcats' lack of energy by great ball movement. It was hard to watch the exhausted Charlotte players chase the ball half-heartedly, surrendering the game in the fourth quarter.
Dunlap is no doubt a mastermind when it comes to defense, but he needs to tweak his plan so his team can actually play like competitors for 48 minutes.
Overloading Roster with Guards
Wingmen are king on the Bobcats.
The top four scorers are guards: Walker, Sessions, Gordon and Henderson.
Saying Charlotte lacks post presence is an understatement.
Center Byron Mullens is the only big man averaging double figures (11.6 points per game as of Jan. 25), but he's been nursing an ankle injury.
Bismack Biyombo continues to struggle with his shot and is barely putting up four points each contest. Warrick has stepped up in Mullens' absence, but he has also failed to reach double digits on a consistent basis.
When Kemba Walker scored 35 points against Houston Jan. 21, Rockets head coach Kevin McHale told the Charlotte Observer that his game plan was to simply trap Walker and force the ball in Biyombo's hand.
Biyombo went 1-for-5.
If that was most opposing coach's game plan for the Bobcats, it would work out in their favor. Dunlap told the Observer that the time is now for his big men to step up.