With 42 games down, we put our heads together to hash out the season so far.
Greg: The others have touched on Kemba’s development, so I’ll point to the backcourt in general. Despite an unbalanced roster that leads to some awkward rotations, more or less every guard has lived up to expectations:
- Kemba made the leap that everyone was hoping for.
- Ramon Sessions has been terrific off the bench, and is pretty clearly the best free-agent signing the team has ever made.
- Ben Gordon, despite his inconsistent defense, has given the team the three-point shooting and bench scoring it desperately needed.
- Gerald Henderson has expanded his game, adding a three-point shot, and didn’t complain when demoted to a bench role.
- Jeff Taylor has played well for a second-rounder, providing a little versatility and shooting off the bench.
Greg: I think it’s pretty clear the frontcourt is the weak link on this roster. Jeff Adrien and Hakim Warrick have done decent jobs as mid-season pick-ups, but the lack of production there has been glaring. The top seven players in PER on the roster are all guards and wings; Byron Mullens, below average at 12.4, ranks as the best big man by that metric.
Brett: Unlike the real MVP voting, no one is tired of voting for Kemba just yet, so we won’t have the issue facing LeBron this year. Kemba has been this year’s MVP and that’s a good sign for the team. If one of the veterans had come in and outperformed him, it would have been an indication that maybe there was even more rebuilding to do. But by taking over this team, Kemba has provided another reason for optimism as the Bobcats continue their turnaround.
Mathew: Nope. Kemba is the only right answer. You could get creative and make a case for Sessions, I suppose. But as I touched upon yesterday, Kemba has unequivocally become the team’s leader, as evidenced on the stat sheet as well as in the huddle. Kemba’s PER of 19.44 ranks eight among qualifying point guards, while his Adjusted PER (which takes into account assisted and unassisted baskets, with the assisted variety considered less valuable) of 20.96 comes in seventh. He’s been a very bright spot on a team that’s looking for them.
Greg: It’s Kemba, but I’ll play devil’s advocate and make a case for Sessions. Ramon actually leads the team in Win Share Per 48, and scores more per 36 at a higher true-shooting percentage than Walker. His size is what makes the team’s small-ball lineups possible, and a willingness to come off the bench shows his professionalism.
Kemba has probably been the team’s best player, but I doubt we would have seen the same improvement without Sessions taking some of the offensive pressure off of him.