USA TODAY Sports
This past summer, the Bobcats signed Ramon Sessions and Brendan Haywood to shore up the backcourt and frontcourt. In the middle of the season, they also signed Jeff Adrien to help the frontcourt further. How have they played so far?
It's not easy to dissect Sessions' play. His role is kind of amorphous. As the Bobcats' sixth man, he comes off the bench often as the first guard, either at point guard or shooting guard. Often times you'll see him play alongside Kemba Walker, though with that pairing they share point guard duties. Sessions focuses on scoring than distributing, and does it pretty well. Though his outside shooting leaves much to be desired, he helps the Bobcats' bench scoring pretty consistently by getting to the hoop. By far it's his most dynamic skill, also leading to his career high 5.5 free throw attempts per game.
Even with his shooting percentages falling off a cliff at pretty much every distance, Sessions has been a big piece of this team. Of course, that's for better or worse. His ability to get to the rim and draw fouls is very valuable. But at the same time, his impact is limited because of this focus on scoring. His distributing is way down. Way down. His assist percentage fell a full nine percentage points from the previous season.
More problematic than that has to be his flaws on defense. When Sessions is on the court, opposing teams scoring 6.5 points more per 100 possessions than when he's off it. Opponents get pretty solid looks just by running Sessions through a screen and his off-ball awareness isn't very good.
Weighing all that in with his contract size of $5 million per year, it's still a good deal for the Bobcats. Honestly, however, contract size on a two-year deal is hardly much of any concern for Charlotte right now. Even yet, it's a pretty solid contract.
The Bobcats brought in Haywood off of amnesty waiver wires for a few good reasons: (1) they're really young and could use some experience on the court, on the bench, at practices and in the locker room; (2) he is very tall and can rebound the basketball; and (3) he is very tall and can play some semblance of defense, a thing the Bobcats could not do very well last year.
I'm happy to say that he has done these things pretty well. His numbers are falling off, but I'm not sure what else he can do about it. The aging process saves no one from the annoyances of getting old and Haywood's athleticism is suffering. He's never been the best athlete, but after all these years and injuries, how agile and quick on his feet can you ask of 33-year-old?
The team scores more efficiently when Haywood's taking a breather and opposing teams shoot worse when he's on it. And despite Haywood's somewhat successful hook shot, he's fairly turnover-prone. The Bobcats rebound on offense and defense better with Haywood.
For the low price of $1.9 million per year, even with Haywood's minor decline, it's nothing too concerning. His deal is cheap. The Bobcats' frontcourt is so weak that his decreasing services are still worth the small fee.
Adrien was signed in the wake of the Bobcats waiving Cory Higgins, now a guaranteed contract for the rest of the season. In a heavily-populated yet scarcely-talented frontcourt, Adrien's signing was an effort to give the team just another option in the constantly shifting to find any combination that can work.
Because of the late signing, we haven't really seen enough of him to get a complete picture of what Adrien offers, but initial returns are promising. His effort is off the charts and reflects well in his rebounding. Adrien's offensive rebounding percentage is a strong 17.8 percent. Of course, this will continue to decline as he gets more minutes, but the impact he's had is positive. The team's offensive rebounding when he's on the court is 33.9 percent and without him, it's a mere 27.0 percent.
It's a promising start, but we won't know more about him until he gets some more minutes under his belt.