The Bobcats broke their 23 game losing streak on Friday in the home opener versus the Indiana Pacers. This was a huge step forward for the team, this was followed by two losses. More important than the record is the strides the team has made from last year even if they don't result in Ws.
Offensively - So last year we all know the Bobcats could not score the basketball. The offensive rating this year is pretty high for this team. Scoring nearly 106 point per 100 possessions is incredible for this team. This team has limited shooting, so how are they scoring? They are getting to the line more by attacking the basket. The FTM/FTA attempts are each up this year. They have also cut back on the turnovers, especially Kemba Walker, who had 8 assists to 0 turnovers last night.
Defensively - This seems to be where the Bobcats are struggling. This actually makes a ton of sense to me. Even though Dunlap came in as more of a defensive minded coach, he wanted to play more up-tempo. When you play that up-tempo style you are going to leave yourself with holes in the defense. The press is too easy to break down at this level of basketball. Also this new style of matchup-zone that Dunlap is trying to run cannot work against NBA teams due to the shooters. Teams have been taking an average of 26 threes against the bobcats and making about 12 of them. If you have 12 threes made against you, you are going to need 13 made to win the game. As stated above shooting isn't a strong point for the team.
Youth - one great take out of the season so far is the Bobcats seemed to find themselves a starting small-forward for years to come. This is a super small sample size of Kidd-Gilchrist, but I have made the comparison to Andrei Kirilenko and boy is it similar. The best attribute of MKG is the activeness and hustle, this clearly can't be measured. But some stats that correlate with that are his steals (almost 2 in 25 MPGs) and his offensive rebounds (just over 2 in 25 MPGs). What is really fascinating is the per 36 minute stats on each of these guys in what was Kirilenko's all-star season. The other youth that is really impressive so far is Kemba. Kemba has cut turnovers almost out of his game in total. In his 16 assists this year he only has 2 turnovers. 2 turnovers in three games is a pretty astounding number for a point guard in general but a second year guy especially. He has been shooting the ball more efficiently as well, his true shooting percentage is nearly .100 higher than it was last year. It is great to see some of the youth that the Bobcats drafted beginning to mature this early in their career. They are still going to be a bad team but this is how bad teams get good, drafting well and developing players.