After last season’s debacle the expectations that many fans will likely have for this year’s Bobcats is that they don’t do worse than they did last season now that there will be 16 more games on the schedule. Living through a 7-59 season was bad enough. Now that the option of doing worse is open with the full 82-game schedule this season it would be understandable if fans were just a little apprehensive.
However, with all the changes that the team has gone through since last season I would be shocked if the team were to look anything like the group that was on the court last season. I credit His Airness with going out and getting a new head coach, several new players, and even changing the uniforms so the team will not literally look like last season’s group.
Without blowing his considerable bank account out of the water and going after Dwight Howard or any other top name free agent (cause y’all know it would have taken a moderate sized fortune to get Superman or any other superstar to come to Charlotte) Michael Jordan has done his part to give fans a better product on the court this season.
It isn’t hard to be better than last season though. So what can we honestly expect to see from the Charlotte Bobcats this season? 10 wins? 20 wins? 30 wins? Dare I say it—playoffs???
Playoffs would be a little crazy to say after last season and with only one win in the preseason, but then again—as we all know—the preseason really doesn’t indicate how good a team will be in the regular season. How many times have we all seen teams go undefeated in the preseason and then get spanked once the games matter?
That being said, since there is nothing for us to go off of other than the preseason for the current Bobcats I think we can a judgment from it:
These guys are getting better.
Yea, I know it’s not much, but let’s be real here. Familiarity with each other and the coach’s style of play is pretty big in the NBA. Something like that does not come easy either. It takes time; time in practice and time in the games. I’m sure most of the guys are somewhat familiar with each other having played against each other before or through watching games, but there is no substitute for the familiarity that comes with playing together.
With that time will come consistency and better play. It is something that was missing in the early preseason games, but has gotten better with each game. Take away one period in both games against the Hornets, the Bucks, and to a degree the Detroit and Miami games and you have a different contest.
Part of the issue is also the other team; Miami is the defending champions for a reason. Talent like that (and what the Thunder and Mavericks have) is tough to beat even in the best of conditions.
Charlotte does have some good, young talent on the team in the likes of Kemba Walker, Bismack Biyombo, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. They have shown that at times during the preseason even though they only won a single game. These guys are still learning and have gotten better each week. Once the regular season starts and the starters start playing 30-40+ minutes a game the learning curve is going to skyrocket.
So how do we translate that into what we can expect from the team this season?
Look for these guys to be competitive early, but lose much more than they win in the first month of the season. As the season goes on look for the margin of defeat to get smaller and smaller; they’ll even start to win a few games. Following the all-star break I think—barring injuries—the Bobcats are going to be playing spoiler for a lot of playoff contenders.
For those that like win totals—I like to be optimistic; I’m going to say 30.