The Charlotte Bobcats' hold on their playoff spot as we near the halfway point of the season seems anything but convincing.
Prior to this campaign, as a Bobcats fan, you would likely be satisfied—dare I say ecstatic—to be in the seventh slot in the Eastern Conference past the new year, right? The only problem is that a playoff spot in the East right now is basically a participation trophy.
Nevertheless, Charlotte has displayed inspiring defense and endured some crippling injuries and offensive ineptitude. However, the bricks are starting to mount, and the defense is starting to revert back to the norm without Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
Teams like Brooklyn, New York, Detroit and Cleveland are on the Bobcats' heels and have more overall talent. The law of averages would suggest that at least one or two of those teams will put it together and make a second-half run to steal Charlotte's honor of being a first-round playoff appetizer for LeBron James.
The Bobcats have lost six of seven games and have surrendered an average of 111.5 points in the new year, a far cry from the No. 2 defense they were sporting in 2013. It would be great for basketball and for owner Michael Jordan if this young group could get back to playing like it was early on and hang onto this playoff spot down the stretch, but it will become increasingly more difficult over time.
Charlotte is still very much in limbo. An all-out tank is never out of the question with these guys, but for the time being, the Cats are still holding their ground at 15-21.
Maybe that is what management was hoping for. What's one more gut-wrenching season anyway? The fanbase is immune to it at this point, and most people are probably still hoping for the team to land a young star in the draft to usher in the return of the Hornets era next season.
Nevertheless, Charlotte's gritty hodgepodge of budding young stars and middling veteran castoffs has put together an admirable season so far. Steve Clifford will not let this bunch quit on the season like previous coaches have.
Here are the final first-half player power rankings for the Bobcats.