The Bobcats have now played 18 games since the release of Jeff McInnis – and they are not losers, which is not something we have been able to say about them often in the franchise's brief history. The Cats are 9 and 9 over those 18 games – even more impressively, 12 of those games were on the road. They went 5 and 7 in those road tilts, taking them from 4 road wins on the year to 9. To prove it was no fluke – the team's efficiencies during these 18 games: 106.7 points scored per 100 possessions, 106.9 points allowed per 100 possessions. Almost dead-even.
What is even more impressive about those efficiencies? Both are improved over the season numbers. For the defense, the change is slight – prior to McInnis' release, the team was allowing 107.0 points per 100 poss – so the drop to 106.9 is not a big one. But the way the offense has turned around is quite impressive – from 101.4 to 106.7 – a 5% improvement. Even when we eliminate the early season as the team was integrating Richardson, and only look at the start of December on – the offense was only scoring at an efficiency of 102.0. But what really changed?
I had expected that Felton would have shown some improvement in his numbers, given the (nearly) sole duty of running the point…but there was not much change there. Since McInnis left – 14.6 points/game, 1.09 points per shot, 39.4% from the field, 8.1 assists/game, 2.6 turnovers/game, and 3.15 assists/turnover – compared to 14.1, 40.9%, 1.14 pps, 7.2 assists/game, 2.6 turnovers/game, and 2.77 assists/turnover for the year. So, he is passing/protecting the ball slightly better, but practically offsetting it with the poorer scoring. So, it does not appear to be the McInnis effect on Felton that led to the turnaround.
The big difference? Probably the fact that McInnis got 26 minutes per game this year – and Earl Boykins is averaging less than 15 minutes per game since Jeff was let go. So, someone more productive is getting those minutes…like Matt Carroll or Jared Dudley, who have both seen their minutes go up over this last month-ish, to nearly 30/game apiece (partly due to Gerald's injury, as well). As noted in my last post – these two help the team win.
McInnis' departure has helped the team improve – though not necessarily in the way anticipated. While Felton was expected to be the beneficiary, he has not really changed significantly. Sam Vincent has though – without McInnis to plug in and chew up minutes, he has been forced to play The Hammer and the rookie more – and it has worked. It kind of reminds me of last season, when Walter Herrmann started getting minutes at the end of the year and played really well. So, expect to see both traded at some point (I am kidding – I hope).
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