Tonight’s matchup features two 2-9 teams squaring off less than 24 hours after both lost (though the Pistons at least kept it respectable against the Bucks). Paul Silas is no longer Paul “Smilas” (courtesy of RufusOnFire.com) and let’s see how the Bobcats react.
1- FACT or FICTION – Greg Monroe has a huge night against the Bobcats frontline, a night after lighting up a premiere defender in Andrew Bogut to the tune of 32 points.
Spencer Percy: FICTION. Call me crazy, but I actually like this matchup for Mullens. Monroe is not a guy that’s going to overpower you and Mullens has proved to be a much better defender when pulled away from basket a little which Monroe will do.
Bryan Wendland: FACT: Bogut has a defensive rating of 98, and the closest any big on the Bobcats comes to that number is Bismack Biyombo at 105. If any of Charlotte’s big men are left on an island against Monroe, it’s hard to imagine they’ll be able to corral him better than Bogut did. On the season, though, Monroe averages just 16.4 points per game, so I don’t expect him to go off for another 30 plus. That said, a 25 point, 12 rebound night could be all Detroit needs from him to knock off the Bobcats.
Mathew Lewis: FACT. Not 32 points huge, but I could certainly see him putting up something like 22 and 12. The Bobcats’ bigs will likely attempt to make him earn from the line, though he’s shooting a much improved 77.4% from the stripe so far this season (62.2% in 2010-2011).
2- Pick one: Brandon Knight or Kemba Walker, tonight and long term. Two lottery pick point guards, selected one after another.
Spencer Percy: Kemba. If you think Kemba can’t distribute and is struggling so far, how about this stat: Knight has 37 TO’s to 30 AST this season (terrible); Kemba has 17 TO’s to 32 AST. Don’t get me wrong, I like Knight’s game and believe he’s more ready to be a starting PG in the league, but Kemba’s potential is unmatched between these two.
Bryan Wendland: Since Knight averages nearly 10 more minutes per game than Walker, comparing their stats straight up wouldn’t give us a realistic picture of how the two compare so far in their rookie seasons. When we look at each point guards’ per 36 minute numbers, though, we get a better sense of how the two are playing. Per 36, Knight is averaging 15 points, 3.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds, .8 steals and 4.1 turnovers. Walker, on the other hand, is averaging 16.7 points, 5.1 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.1 steal and 2.7 turnovers. Knight is a better shooter, but Walker has time to refine that part of his game. Based solely on numbers, Knight will probably end up having a better season, because he’ll play more than Walker, but if I had to pick a player long term I’d go with Walker.
Mathew Lewis: KEMBA. I like Knight’s potential, and to be honest he probably has a higher upside than Walker, but I’m still going to take Kemba long-term due to his competiveness, leadership, and track record. Tonight? I’ll take Kemba again, as I expect him to see comparable minutes to Knight.
3- Pick the winner: A night after Paul Silas says the starters quit, do the Bobcats bounce back with a better effort against a slightly lesser foe in the Detroit Pistons (28th in offensive and defensive efficiency, while the Cats are 29th in both).
Spencer Percy: Bobcats. I think that Silas gives significant amount of minutes to reserves tonight (Kemba, Higgins, Biyombo) and they add a spark of energy to this team. Silas is an old school guy, so I expect the ‘you don’t play hard, you don’t play’ approach to be implemented to an extent.
Bryan Wendland: I really, really, really want to pick the Bobcats to win, but I just can’t until the team finally pulls one out again. There’s no doubt they’ll play better against Detroit than they did against Atlanta, but the Bobcats have been so bad this year the Pistons statistically are still the better team. Charlotte will keep it close, and there’s no way they should get blown out, but give me the ‘Cats opponent from now on, until they prove they know how to win games.
Mathew Lewis: BOBCATS. These are two struggling teams who are both in the midst of rebuilding efforts. That being said, you’re still looking for effort and execution, especially out of your young players/possible building blocks. That’s what it will come down to tonight for the Bobcats. I think the home crowd helps them eek one out.