The Charlotte Bobcats are a playoff team.
Nope, there is no typo in that previous sentence. If the season ended today, not only would the entire basketball world enter a collective state of confusion, but the Charlotte Bobcats would also be a real, actual, living playoff team.
We're a quarter of the way into the season, and the Bobcats have been better than anyone could've expected. They haven't been great. Actually, they haven't even been very good, but they have absolutely, positively been better.
Some of that credit has to go to new head coach Steve Clifford. The Cats are still dreadful offensively and sit as one of the worst offensive teams in the NBA, but they've been winning games with their defense.
Charlotte finished dead last in the NBA in defensive efficiency last year. The year before wasn't any better, when the Bobcats were also last in the league in defensive efficiency, en route to a .106 winning percentage, the worst in the history of the NBA.
Now, though, Charlotte has been faster than a Kemba Walker crossover while shooting up in the defensive rankings. The Bobcats currently rank third in the league in points allowed per 100 possessions. That's some kind of improvement.
The offense still isn't close to there—and a lot of that has to do with shot selection—but as long as the defense continues to stifle opponents, maybe Charlotte can surprise some people down the road.
We're only a quarter of the way into the season, but here's a look at how each Bobcat has contributed so far this year, ranked from No. 10 to No. 1.