Who do the Cats beat? « Queen City Hoops

Who do the Cats beat?

The Bobcats now have 9 wins on the season, meaning:

  • With win 8 on New Year’s Eve, the team surpassed their win total from last year before even getting to 2013.
  • With 9 wins in an 82 game season, they’ll have a higher winning percentage than last season, guaranteed (7/66 = .106%; 9/82 = .110%).

So, congrats to the team on getting past those historical hurdles – they no longer have to be concerned with a historically bad season (in wins or winning percentage – a record losing streak, however, looms for any team, so no special incentive there).

In helping to preview games throughout the season, we’ve discussed what statistical category was going to be most relevant for that night’s game, with the primary talking points around rebounding, turnovers, and 3 point shooting. So, I decided to take a look at this season’s results to this point, and see where the Bobcats’ wins were coming from. Just a quick rundown:

  • The Bobcats wins have come against the 29th, 22nd, 30th, 20th, 27th, 12th (Toronto), 30th, 23rd, and 16th ranked offenses in the league (by offensive efficiency). And it’s not that the Bobcats haven’t had games against top offenses – they’ve played everybody in the top 10, except Houston, who’s is 7th. There was a .504 correlation between the opponent’s offense and winning for the Cats.
  • The quality of the opponent’s defense has been less of a hindrance, as the Cats have taken down 3 top-10 defenses. There is only a .129 correlation between defensive rank and winning.
  • While the Bobcat’s have been among the league’s worst defensive rebounding teams, it has actually not been an area that provides any reliable prediction of outcome. When comparing wins to opponents’ offensive rebounding rate, there was just a .077 correlation – so, basically random.
  • Which brings us to 3-point shooting. This is the other category where the Bobcats have really struggled, and the numbers back it up. There is a .428 correlation between opponents’ 3-point shooting (3FG%) and outcome. Basically, if the opponents are a solid offense who can shoot threes, you’ll take down the Cats. The win against the Pistons was the 1st time this season the Bobcats beat a team in the top-10 in three point shooting.
  • Side note: While there is some overlap between good offenses and being able to shoot threes, they do not have to go hand in hand – for example, the Hornets are 6th in 3FG%, but only the 18th best team in offensive efficiency. For this reason, I did consider it relevant to look at both categories.

Now, I’m not suggesting laying (play) money on games based on these categories – but it does bring focus back to what has been a sore spot for some fans: The Bobcats’ defensive strategies and personnel this year have led to what seems like a lot of open threes. And that is proving to be a losing strategy.

8 comments to Who do the Cats beat?

  • MullensMafia

    Good article. Way to use stats to make arguments about causation, ie objective reasoning. It’s hard to find that basic principle in 90% of the sports articles I read, so thanks for the quality.

    However, without all of your objective reasoning… I think anyone who has seen the majority of the games this year could have told you we’re vulnerable to any of the following: 1. good teams 2. teams that move the ball well and 3. teams shooting the 3 well.

    And I think most would agree that this is because of a combination of the following: 1. we have less talent than the average NBA team 2. we’re learning a new, rotation heavy defense (or hell even playing zone) and 3. we’re not defensively sound so we give up a lot of open shots.

    On the offensive side of the ball, the casual observer would likely note: 1. we get the majority of our points from forcing turnovers 2. running the break or 3. finding lanes to the basket early in the shot clock. Which I think would be the reason we’ve taken down a few top 10 defenses… if we don’t face your half court defense, thankfully we don’t have to showcase our nonexistent half court offense (the recent Chicago game feels like a great example where we won with energy and hustle rather than game plan execution).

    So basically I’m piggy backing on your analysis, agreeing with you wholeheartedly, all so I can point out that this isn’t a “losing strategy.” Now if the strategy was to win games this season, yes you’re 100% right. But that is not the strategy of the franchise. We are in rebuilding mode and therefore the strategy is to do the following:

    1. Create organizational principles (such as hard work, team first, conditioning, small ball, etc)
    2. Acquire assets and develop current personnel
    3. Maintain flexibility

    DISCLAIMER: I’ll be the first to admit that yes I am a big Cho fan, so call me bias if you like. However I’ll also be the first to admit I don’t think we’ve seen the last horrible trade or acquisition. I still feel there is a lot of Jordan Yes Man mentality in the front office, so I’m skeptic. But if we’re really attempting to execute on those 3 goals, and I think we are, I think we are far from a “losing strategy.”

    My thoughts:
    1. Dunlap has a foundation that starts with conditioning, hard work, and objective reasoning
    2. (expiring contracts: Diop, Gordon next year), (cheap vets: Sessions and Haywood), and (draft picks: our 2013, detroit likely 2014, portland maybe high teens 2013) are great assets…. and our current personnel is developing (see Kemba, Biyombo, Mullens, Henderson improvements season to season… not to mention MKG and Taylor playing way past rookie expectations).
    3. With Diop and maybe Warrick gone next year freeing up $13.5MM and the possibility to amnesty Thomas and free up another $8MM (less likely by the day), we have great flexibility. (I hope to god we’ll use it to take on bad contracts in exchange for draft picks, rather than overpaying free agents to come to our small market.)

    So with that being said, this plan (commonly called the OKC model) isn’t rocket science. And it’s obviously something most teams are trying to do. Therefore the key to being the best rebuilding team will be patience and player evaluation. With that in mind, I’d say so far so good… The last two years we have come out on top of every move, so I think we’re out executing other teams in the league on this strategy. I won’t go into full detail but quickly: Kemba, Biyombo, MKG, Taylor, Sessions, Gordon trade, Carrol trade, Haywood, Reggie Williams, not amnestying Thomas or Diop (why pay someone when you’re not contending), and Dunlap coaching job. Cho might not be a super basketball genius, but shit that’s a pretty awesome two year track record.

    If we keep up the current “losing” pace this year, we will be looking at another top 5 pick (in a decent draft at the top… no AD this year but we can easily find another MKG like player at a position we need).

    A Kemba/MKG/Biyombo/2013 draft pick core is exciting, and a lot of rebuilding teams would be envious. We might not have a Durant or even a Westbrook in that group, but we have some great core guys to build around as we lie and wait for that special player to come through the draft or use our flexibility to steal a Cousins type player from some cap desperate organization.

    Again, great article, I agree with you completely, just want to highlight the silver lining to our defensive miscues and our shoddy rebounding.

    2nd post… previous (http://queencityhoops.com/blog/2012/04/27/boom-mullensmafia-from-the-comments-ftw/)

  • SirGladiator

    As a fan, I can live with losing when teams get lucky and hit a ton of threes on us a lot better than I can when we give up 70 or 80 points in the paint, constant layups and dunks are beyond frustrating to watch. Threes are no sure thing, whether wide open or guarded, but dunks and unconteted layups almost always go in. The reason we won against Detroit was we stopped giving up so many of those, I think we actually had more points in the paint than they did. Thats the key to victory. If a team is having a great night and hits 15-20 three pointers on us, we lose, so be it. But its a heck of a lot better than watching 30 or more layups or dunks a night. So I say keep tightening up the inside D, let the outside D come with time, and until then let the 3 point chips fall where they may, just dont let them score easy on the inside, make them earn it from way downtown.

    Its too early to know where we’ll be drafting, right now it does look high, but the key is we have Cho, so it doesn’t have to be the #1 pick. Everybody in the media said Davis was the best, Cho knew better, he got us the best player in the draft with the #2 pick. Next year the media will have their favorite again, but Cho will again know better, I wouldn’t be surprised if we got the best player in the draft from the 5th position, if that happened to be our draft position (right now I’d say the odds are pretty good we get the #1 pick). The one thing I hope Cho does this year that he didn’t do last year, is some really good trades. He is an excellent trader, I don’t know why he didn’t flex his trade-muscles last year, but with all the chips we have to play with this year it would be a shame if we didn’t use them come trade-deadline time. We could really set ourselves up nicely with a bigtime move or two. Hopefully that will happen.

  • charlottean

    love everything said here by mullens mafia…..i’ll disagree about another horrible trade looming. I mean thus far, he’s batting 1.000 honestly. I second guessed him big time with the choices regarding walker vs augustin….mkg vs. barnes or really mkg vs moving down for mkg….sessions vs. augustin, all of the rumors surrounding brook lopez and kris humphries scarred the life out of me (would have been huge mistakes) but i’m not sure of the validity.

    There’s a certain faith cho is building where when he makes a bad move (on appearance) it’s part of a bigger better move later. He goes with kemba over augustin because kemba hasn’t been as tainted by poor development, he goes all in on one guy instead of continuing to split 2 guys (which never works out well). He gets sessions instead so that kemba knows it’s his job. They look for the sweetest deal in the world to move down from #2 and use the leverage that they are happy taking mkg there. everyone called their bluff and the worst case scenario has worked out just fine. The only players in this draft class that we appear to have maybe missed out on acquiring an extra pick to grab would be sullinger, maaaaybe festus ezili, maybe john henson. but given that we hit 2 home runs…..hard to second guess a non trade that maybe would have cost us 1 or 2 of those guys for something lesser. only detroit, portland or boston could say they are even in the arena of having as good or better drafts this year. boston was more out of luck and others stupidity. cho could have easily botched this and he didn’t. coupling that with last years draft class and it’s getting REALLY hard to think that jordan is meddling in a negative way at this point. I never thought jordan was the problem….I always thought higgins was. Jordan can surely spot talent and potential but probably doesn’t know the fine differences in value picking and cost analysis. I don’t even think higgins knows anything. danpier trade was evidence of that.

    looking forward, i don’t know that accumulating more picks is necessary. depends on how confident you feel about the young guys we have + 1 more. you get too many young guys you start to look like the recent minnesota teams and then they end up going all in and bringing in a ton of vet. they’ve wasted a ton of guys potential (ellington, johnson, williams, beasley, etc.) just because they had too many guys. I’m all for accumulating the picks to then turn around and make a monster move, or even just for the sake of adding value….i just think we’re closer to having the team we need. we’ve got kemba/taylor/mkg/mullens/biyombo + henderson/sessions/thomas who are all young enough to literally be around for 10 years and depending on who you ask….have the talent to do so and compete for rings in 5 years. then we’re stirring in a top 5 pick?! looks pretty good to me.

    as for who we’re beating/losing to……the analysis is right in a lot of ways, but it can all be simplified by “we’re beating teams without their best player(s)”.

    indiana – no granger
    dallas – no dirk, no marion, i think it might have been kaman’s second game back or something
    minnesota – nobody…..literally it was our squad against kirilenko and schved. rubio, love, pekovic, etc. all missed this game.
    chicago – no derrick rose or hinrich, they had teague and robinson at the point.
    washington – no wall (2x), nene (1x)
    milwaukee – no illyasova….dude is still on big contract sabatical <<< only legit win
    toronto – full strength, but horrible
    detroit – full strength, but missing billups, hamilton, wallace, and wallace badly.

    There is a legit trend here. We have competed with some of the elite teams at full strength (miami, memphis, clippers, new york, etc.) but winning has come down to whether or not they have had "their guy" or not. That's something we lack currently. It's either kemba or mullens that has to step up to be "that guy" for us……henderson would be the only other possibility on the roster. but that's a big thing that is lacking down the stretch. it'll come with time or we'll need to find it.

    and the beautiful thing about the trend about giving up a lot of good looks from 3 is that it's a result of the defensive scheme to work inside out and as the players get better at it, they'll be able to do a better job of contesting the 3. it's on pace. it's a great sign for a young team to be getting beaten by the 3 than by the layup or post play. it's the next step in the progression of the scheme. especially as biyombo gets better at protecting inside.

  • MullensMafia

    Gladiator… No offense, but come on davis > mkg.

    Charlottean… I don’t predict another bad trade, I’m just weary of one and admit the possibility (albeit a smallish one).

    And I’m not saying that we should only hoard draft picks / don’t need vets. I’m just saying that the draft pick assets we can acquire will have a better chance of helping us land an all star via trade, rather than keeping cap space for free agency, where we will always carry the small market disadvantage. The potential cousins trade is a great example where we have an edge over teams like Boston and Dallas, due to our draft picks and our ability to take on a bad contract (or two).

    Great response, on both the strategy and our wins. I agree wholeheartedly with the cho decisions that were questioned by a lot of people that ended up being the right moves.

  • charlottean

    No question about the “acquire assets” mentality. i’m just saying it has to be with the mentality to trade them a la rockets/philly. overcrowding the core doesn’t help any of them develop. I got over my fear of the bad deal a few months ago. I was losing my mind over the summer but cho got my faith once we saw dunlap,

    I would actually take MKG over davis even though I think davis is the superior talent individually. I think MKG has that special X factor when it comes to fans and team chemistry that brings more value. Davis has looked like a diva early on like he’s trying to be the new garnett or something. I’m not a fan. Glad we ended up with MKG honestly. Simultaneously glad that Davis is in the western conference.

  • Spencer/SDS

    Good post…you rarely speak but when you do, Mafia, you speak wisely^^

    Milwaukee without Illyasova this year is a better team…got paid and got lazy, he realized that he made it and didn’t try to get better (it seems like this year)…his hustle is not where it has been, neither his shooting and it has hurt his team and coach(who just left the bucks organization)

    love the talk bout Detroit missing that old squad^^, but to be honest…they’ve rebuilt a squad that resembles those 4 (no Hamilton yet) a lot…Knight is more of a 2 then a 1 currently…Ben Wallace(think Drummond, defensive/rebounder) and Monroe…a very good passing big changing the game a bit (Rasheed was the first/few big men that shot the 3) plus he was a defensive monster…Monroe, maybe/probably won’t ever get to that 3…but he is (possibly) leading the charge to a new type of big man…

    If we kept everyone, Henderson, Mullen’s, MKG, Biyombo those 5 alone in 3 years could be a good starting lineup

  • charlottean

    I too like what detroit has with knight/drummond/monroe and another pick coming in. I like singler as a rotation player, I liked jerekbo before but he’s out of the mix currently it seems. don’t know if he’s still unhealthy. and they have a ton of dead weight falling off in the next 2 years. but they blew it for the post championship era. you could put that group back together NOW and they would still be a playoff team. 2 years ago they would have still been contending. Instead they had gordon, stuckey, villanueva getting paaaaaid. sped up the rebuild big time. monroe is a stud. hardest positions to fill are 1,4 and 5 and they have that set in stone. I think knight is more of a 1 than kemba is. he’ll be solid for them. wing scoring will be easy to fill in especially given how many open looks guys will get and how good of a passer monroe is. dude is gonna be the new pau. and drummond looks like kemp out there rebounding and throwing down lobs with authority. i like detroit but they’ve got another 2 years of misery. they should keep frank though, he knows what he’s doing.

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