I will continue with the minimalist recaps for the time being – as the season approaches, and the rotations become more settled, I will feel more comfortable trying to find underlying patterns in the numbers. Until then, I will look at the numbers and pull out some things that prove what we want to see, hint at what we might fear, and intimate that the unexpected should not be so. Ok, I am not really going to do that, it sounds like a lot of work…I will just provide updates on some of the items we fans were curious about heading into the preseason. With the intellectual posturing complete, let us get started.
1. Ryan Hollins continues to do little…yet it seems to be good for the team. Three games into the preseason and Ryan Hollins has played for 93 minutes. In that time he has contributed a total of 21 points, 13 rebounds (8 offensive), and 3 blocks. But it has not mattered. The team is doing very well with him on the floor – he has a personal +/- of +8 and more importantly, the teams efficiencies are solid – 1.125 points per possession and 1.033 surrendered. Now, he is playing most of his minutes with the starters, which should help him – but it is worth remembering that Primoz has played a lot of minutes with the starters the last 3 years, and the team has never performed so well with him. It is just pre-season, but I am just throwing it out there.
2. The defense improved against the Heat. The Heat only managed 76 points, on 40.8% shooting and with 21 turnovers. For the game, the Bobcats gave up only 0.85 points per possession (last year, they were at 1.071 as a team). A nice turnaround from their first 2 games.
3. Adam Morrison did not shoot well – but it was ok. Because despite only hitting 3 of 9 from the field, he made all 4 of his free throw attempts, so he scored 10 points on his 9 attempts. It is not a great number, but it is not shabby. If he can continue to get to the line more regularly, the nights when he struggles shooting otherwise can still be useful to the team.
4. Jameel Watkins got himself noticed with his rebounding. The 30 year old out of Georgetown made the most of his minutes, grabbing 6 defensive rebounds in 16 minutes. Even more impressive? Those 6 defensive rebounds represented nearly half of the available opportunities when he was on the court – he took 6 of the 13 opponents misses of the glass. That is a very solid rate, and contributed significantly to the teams' defensive efficiency of 0.87 points per possession for when Jameel was playing. On a team lacking big men (and rebounders), job well done, Mr. Watkins.