As titled, this post would seem to indicate that I believe the Bobcats have 4 players to build on/around. Really, it should either have a question mark at the end, or maybe, well, a “…maybe”. Because that is what I am curious about. Do the Bobcats have the foundation of a good team in place? Or are we destined to several more years of this purgatory that is “good lottery team”? And how to answer this? The same thing I (almost) always resort to: To the numbers.
First, I guess it would be beneficial to indicate who these 4 I think may be worth building around are: They are the 4 Bobcats with big contracts (or who will probably possess them shortly), Jason Richardson, Gerald Wallace, Raymond Felton, and Emeka Okafor. While Matt Carroll and Nazr Mohammed are both locked up for the near future, no one is suggesting that they are starter material on a good playoff team. As for Jared Dudley…I do think he is a valuable player, and will be a fixture in the league for the next decade – as a solid role player. On to it then.
Over the course of this season, this group of 4 has played together for a total of 2693 offensive possessions – resulting in efficiencies that are a bit above the average team numbers. For the year, they have scored 101.9 points per 100 possessions and allowed 104.0 – a differtial of -2.1 points per 100 possessions. Compared to the team overall, at 102.5, 106.8, and -4.3, not bad. Can't really call it good though – it is still losing basketball: Plugged into the Pythagorean Wins Formula (here, if you care), the numbers for the 4 project to 35 wins during a season. Yippee.
Worth noting: Jeff McInnis played a large part in almost a third of those possessions – well, as large a part as you can play when you are practically invisible on the court. If we exclude possessions when McInnis was on the floor with our Not-So-Fantastic Four, the efficiencies go to – 101.0, 102.6, and -1.6. And the win total goes all the way up to…36.5. Wow, I was kind of hoping for more.
So, I continue to look for reason to be positive – and I find some: 2 to be exact. If I further break down who this group played with, there are two players, who when either is added into that open 5th spot, make the team a winner. They are: Jared Dudley and Matt Carroll. The numbers: 105.4, 96.5, and +8.9; and 106.0, 101.0, and +4.9, respectively. Granted, Jared has played only 277 possessions with the fearsome foursome (about 3 games worth), and Matt only 481 (McInnis, for comparison, was at 950). All of sudden, with Jared, the Cats would win 63 games, and with Matt, 54. Note: Not really since those 6 players could not play all the minutes, but it does seem to turn the Bobcats into a competitive squad.
Maybe the 4 should be 6 – it would seem that the Bobcats do contain the nucleus of a respectable club. Hopefully, next season, it will not take half the season (or longer) for the right guys to be getting minutes.
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