The Charlotte Bobcats have only played two regular season games this year, but already a few trends have developed. Some of them have a better chance at lasting for the long term than others.
For instance, the Bobcats are shooting 81 percent from the free-throw line. Despite the youth on this team, I expect that number to hover around 80 percent all year. Mike Dunlap has preached free-throw shooting almost as much as he’s preached tenacious defense and, the next trending statistic I’ll mention, pushing the pace of games.
Pace, which I think is one of, if not the most, important statistical gauges for the 2012 Bobcats, has been right around where Mike Dunlap wanted it so far this year. At 96.2 the Bobcats have the fourth highest pace in the league right now, which means they’re getting the fourth most possessions per 48 minutes of any team in the league.
Not too long ago I discussed why this stat was so important to the Bobcats, and with Dunlap as their coach, this number should hover from 95-98 all year.
On the negative side of things, the Bobcats are only scoring 94.5 points per game, and I don’t see that number getting much better as the year goes on. Dunlap likes to shoot threes, and although Ben Gordon and Ramon Sessions can get hot at times, there aren’t many other shooters on this team (despite what Byron Mullens thinks), and the ‘Cats won’t be able to score all their points of Kemba Walker drives and layups in transition.
Here are a few trends I don’t see continuing throughout the season:
Opponents are shooting 45 percent from behind the arc against the Bobcats. That has less to do with Charlotte’s defense than it does with the Dallas Mavericks, a poor three point shooting team, getting really hot from deep in the ‘Cats second game.
Bismack Biyombo is averaging 5.1 rebounds per 36 minutes. That number is going to increase when he calms down and proves to Dunlap he’s not a liability when he’s in the game.
The Bobcats are 23rd in the NBA in blocks. Last year they were in the top ten of that statistic, and they didn’t lose any of the players that got them there. Expect them to climb back into the top ten in total blocks before the year’s out.