I will be handing out the first “Queen City Hoops Greatest Lineup Ever” Award to a lineup from tonight's game. I had been planning on waiting until the regular season to bestow this award (which will be awarded after each game to the lineup that did the most to help the team win (in terms of adjusted +/-)), but one lineup tonight was too dominant to hold out. The cynics (or people who actually read everything) may note that the award says “Greatest Lineup Ever” but I plan on giving it out after every game – Good job, you caught me. “Greatest Lineup Ever” sounds a lot better than “Charlotte Bobcats Basketball Team Lineup with the best adjusted +/- for a given game in the middle of an 82 game season”, do you not agree? On to the award (drumroll please):
The first ever “Queen City Hoops Greatest Lineup Ever” goes to:
These five, fine young men were on the court together for just 3 minutes and 21 seconds – but in that time, they outscored their opponents by 11 points. They scored at a rate of 2.6 points per possession and gave up only 0.4 points per possession, an incredible +2.2 adjusted +/-. To continue the hyperbole, scoring at such a differential over the course of an average game (92 possessions per game last season for the Bobcats) would lead to a 202 point victory – something even the Superfans would struggle to suggest. Yes, I think we can say with little hesitation that these five comprised the “Greatest Lineup Ever” (until the next game).
What were the keys behind this domination? I am glad I asked. Quite simply, they could hardly miss and their opponents could do nothing but miss. This band of Bobcats went 4 of 5 from the floor, and got the offensive rebound on the one miss and scored. They also hit 4 free throws (to help account for the offensive efficiency of greater than 2). The Nets, on the other hand, missed every shot they took from the floor and only managed to make 2 of 4 free throws. I would like to suggest that the team employ this particular strategy more often.
Now for some serious observations:
1. Ammo continued to be aggressive. Despite another so-so night shooting the ball (3 of 7 from the floor), Adam Morrison was a terrific scorer for the Bobcats tonight – thanks to his aggression. He had as many free throw attempts as field goal attempts, which allowed him to score 15 points on only 7 fga. Fittingly, the team scored very well with him on the floor, with an offensive efficiency of 1.13.
2. The defense looked good again – included with Ammo on the floor. Not only did Adam score well, but the team played good defense tonight (or at least did statistically speaking). Overall, the team gave up only 0.96 points per possession. With Adam on the floor, it was actually slightly lower, at 0.95. Unsurprisingly, it was best with Emeka on the court, at 0.82. The best lineup for defense this evening (of lineups that played at least a minute together)? Look above at the “Queen City Hoops Greatest Lineup Ever” for the answer.
3. The offense struggled a bit overall, without Jason Richardson. The team only scored at a rate of 1.032 points per possession tonight, and while that was good enough to get the win, it is slightly worse than the team was last year (1.034). In the two games Jason Richardson has played with the team so far, they are scoring 1.07 points per possession, but without him, the efficiency drops to 1.03. A small sample size, I know – but considering that without him, the team is very similar to last year and scores similarly, it is encouraging to see that his import seems to have the effect intended.