Throughout the history of sports, there is always that one team that epitomizes athletic ineptitude to the point where salvaging a moral victory becomes an accomplishment that is simply out of reach. For the once abysmal Charlotte Bobcats, their brief tenure in the NBA has been marred by one embarrassing season after another. However, the Bobcats of old have done away with their expected losing ways as they have finally clinched a playoff berth for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. Although it’s hard to imagine the Bobcats winning a playoff series against Miami or Indiana, one victory would do wonders for this teams uplifted confidence going forward as they reclaim their former moniker as the Charlotte Hornets. While critical fans will scuff off the Bobcats competiveness in an inconsistent Eastern Conference as a victory by default, this team has higher ambitions than they ultimately get credit for.
Although the tenacious Bobcats may not have the most efficiently gifted offense in the NBA (97 PPG, 23rd in NBA), their underrated defensive prowess has made a name for itself as being both stingy and relentlessly aggressive (allows only 97.3 PPG, 5th in NBA). With a defense that prides itself on its clutch capabilities, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the Bobcats two hefty centers in Al Jefferson and Bismack Biyombo are the main stars of this teams defensive output. While Bismack may not be the most efficient scorer in basketball (2.9 PPG), his immense size and impressive vigilance when it comes to protecting the paint makes him a capable defensive contributor that continues to blossom with each subsequent game that he plays in. However, while Bismack’s contributions as a young center are noteworthy, the veteran versatility of center Al Jefferson has proven to be vital for this rejuvenated Bobcats squad. Not only is Jefferson an avid shot blocker (1.1 blocker per game), he ranks sixth amongst all centers in the NBA for the most double-doubles this season (40 double-doubles, averages 21.9 PPG and 10.7 RPG).
While the Bobcats ample defensive efficiencies have been essential to this teams consistent success, they do have a reliable point guard in Kemba Walker who has become a well-developed ball facilitator and scorer. Although Walker may not be the most accurate guard when it comes to shooting from the field (39.5% from the field), his perimeter shooting is an awe-inspiring offensive show that baffles opposing defenses with its uncanny efficiency. For Walker, his time as a respected point guard in the NBA has yet to come due to the plethora of prolific scorers and ball distributors that currently exists within the association. However, Walker has all the pieces and well-developed instincts to evolve into a coveted guard within the next few years.
Watching the transformation of this team from an irrelevant franchise into a scrappy and physical basketball program is simply a rewarding experience even if you’re not a die-hard fan of the Bobcats. Being able to witness any teams perseverance throughout the years to finally see it come to its well-deserved fruition is what makes basketball and sports in general intriguing year after year. While the Bobcats have been justifiably bashed for their lackadaisical management, it seems that after years of one disgraceful season after another the Bobcats franchise finally saw it fit to build a team that could make the city of Charlotte proud. Once this rejuvenated team does away with their association to the forgettable Bobcats nickname, they’ll have a fresh start as the beloved Charlotte Hornets who look to accomplish what their former team simply couldn’t.
In the end, the road for the Charlotte Bobcats looks much more like a joyous road trip than a grueling trip down memory lane. Although the Bobcats may not make a decisive splash in the playoffs, their patients and unwavering drive to change their reputation has paid off and will only get better as this young team continues to grow. Even though the Bobcats may not be in the limelight just yet, their miraculous turn around this year definitely seems to be an encouraging sign of what the unknown may hold for this now respected franchise.