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Who do the Cats beat?

The Bobcats now have 9 wins on the season, meaning:

  • With win 8 on New Year’s Eve, the team surpassed their win total from last year before even getting to 2013.
  • With 9 wins in an 82 game season, they’ll have a higher winning percentage than last season, guaranteed (7/66 = .106%; 9/82 = .110%).

So, congrats to the team on getting past those historical hurdles – they no longer have to be concerned with a historically bad season (in wins or winning percentage – a record losing streak, however, looms for any team, so no special incentive there).

In helping to preview games throughout the season, we’ve discussed what statistical category was going to be most relevant for that night’s game, with the primary talking points around rebounding, turnovers, and 3 point shooting. So, I decided to take a look at this season’s results to this point, and see where the Bobcats’ wins were coming from. Just a quick rundown:

  • The Bobcats wins have come against the 29th, 22nd, 30th, 20th, 27th, 12th (Toronto), 30th, 23rd, and 16th ranked offenses in the league (by offensive efficiency). And it’s not that the Bobcats haven’t had games against top offenses – they’ve played everybody in the top 10, except Houston, who’s is 7th. There was a .504 correlation between the opponent’s offense and winning for the Cats.
  • The quality of the opponent’s defense has been less of a hindrance, as the Cats have taken down 3 top-10 defenses. There is only a .129 correlation between defensive rank and winning.
  • While the Bobcat’s have been among the league’s worst defensive rebounding teams, it has actually not been an area that provides any reliable prediction of outcome. When comparing wins to opponents’ offensive rebounding rate, there was just a .077 correlation – so, basically random.
  • Which brings us to 3-point shooting. This is the other category where the Bobcats have really struggled, and the numbers back it up. There is a .428 correlation between opponents’ 3-point shooting (3FG%) and outcome. Basically, if the opponents are a solid offense who can shoot threes, you’ll take down the Cats. The win against the Pistons was the 1st time this season the Bobcats beat a team in the top-10 in three point shooting.
  • Side note: While there is some overlap between good offenses and being able to shoot threes, they do not have to go hand in hand – for example, the Hornets are 6th in 3FG%, but only the 18th best team in offensive efficiency. For this reason, I did consider it relevant to look at both categories.

Now, I’m not suggesting laying (play) money on games based on these categories – but it does bring focus back to what has been a sore spot for some fans: The Bobcats’ defensive strategies and personnel this year have led to what seems like a lot of open threes. And that is proving to be a losing strategy.