Every good team has those one or two guys who don't get the recognition they deserve for doing the dirty work and making the necessary fundamental plays that slip beneath the cracks. The Charlotte Bobcats are no different.
Everyone loves the alley-oops and the three-pointers, but no team becomes successful without having guys who make the smart plays like delivering the extra pass, making the right rotations on defense or just simply being versatile enough to give the game what it needs.
Josh McRoberts was all of those things for the Bobcats in 2013-14.
McBob changed his overall game dramatically this season, and although it negatively impacted his stats in some ways, it went a very long way in turning a horrifically bad team into a playoff squad. His scoring and rebounding went down from 9.3 and 7.2 per game last season, respectively. He still posted solid averages of 8.5 points and 4.8 boards, but he made huge strides as a playmaker to atone for it.
It is a shame that it took a hard foul he administered to LeBron James to bring his name up on the national radar. McRoberts had a career year from the three-point line and in the assist department which was a huge catalyst for the upstart Bobcats.
McRoberts more than doubled his previous single-season high in assists and averaged 4.3 of them. He also hit 105 threes for a team that struggled in that category all year, a number which was 47 more threes than he hit over the first six years of his career combined.
Oftentimes opponents would factor in the two main cogs of Charlotte's offense when scheming to stop them, Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. Those two typically put up their big numbers, but what set Charlotte apart was the ability for guys like McRoberts to play Robin to their Batman.
McRoberts' contributions all went under the radar. For one, he was an assassin on the road. One quick peek at his shooting slash line can tell you that, as he went 42/33/66 percent at home as opposed to 45/38/83 on the road. McRoberts' three-point shooting was also a huge barometer for the Bobcats' success.
What McRoberts also brought to the Bobcats was a consistency unlike any other guy on the roster. He led the team in games played, missing only four contests all year and starting the other 78. Most impressive of all, he did not have a single game with more than three turnovers.
Let that sink in for a second. He started 78 games and averaged 30 minutes. He had zero games over three turnovers.
McRoberts was second in the entire league in assist-to-turnover ratio behind Chris Paul. He had a ratio of 4-to-1. Perhaps most impressive, at 6'10" he was the only player in the top 20 in the NBA in that category who was not a point guard. It truly is a testament to just what kind of year McRoberts had for Charlotte.
The icing on the cake came Wednesday afternoon when it was found out that McRoberts had surgery to remove bone spurs from his toe, according to ESPN. No one had heard a peep about a toe injury from McRoberts, so it apparently was something he was dealing with for a little while.
He and Jefferson sticking it out through their injuries just speaks to the character of this team. Two years ago, Bobcats players would have most assuredly just had surgery and packed it in for the season, but the culture is different in Charlotte now.
The unfortunate thing for Cats fans is that McRoberts is likely to cash in on his underrated season. It would be advantageous of him to opt out of the $2.8 million he is due next year for a multi-year lucrative deal, something he has never had and has undoubtedly earned.
The Bobcats may not be able to afford losing McRoberts. He was one of the most underrated forces in all of the NBA this past season and has solidified himself as an irreplaceable member of the Bobcats. When they bring back the buzz next year and turn into the Charlotte Hornets, they will be much more dangerous with McRoberts continuing to man the power forward slot.