The Charlotte Bobcats are caught in a slump. That’s not news.
The Charlotte Bobcats playing out of their minds in November was news.
We knew these ‘Cats would go through their ups and downs this year, so what’s it going to take to get Charlotte out of this slump.
For one, they have to start playing better defense.
The team has given up 100+ in seven of their eight straight losses. Charlotte had given up 100+ in just five of their first 12 games. They were 7-5 over that stretch. Defense will be the key to turning this slump into a little run.
Also, the Bobcats have dropped from 12th to 17th in rebounding during this losing streak.
Guys like Byron Mullens, who is already leading the team in rebounding, and Brendan Heywood have to get back to crashing the glass relentlessly. They’ve also got to keep getting to the boards on the offensive end, to give the Bobcats more possessions.
Finally, Charlotte has to establish either a solid starting unit, or a unit that will eat most of the minutes in a game.
Right now Kemba Walker and Mullens are the only ‘Cats players who average 30 or more minutes per game.
I think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has to find himself in that category very soon. He’s a menace defensively, he’s great in transition, and he’s one of Charlotte’s best rebounders. Heywood has to be able to play more than the 24.2 minutes he’s averaged so far, because the Bobcats are thin at talent at PF and C. Also, when he’s back to full strength, Gerald Henderson has to be part of that group as well. Despite his most recent performance, he’s proven this year that he’s a better player all around; He’s hitting threes, making better decisions and playing better defense than he ever has this year.
The ‘Cats will go through slumps like this as the season goes on. The key for this team to staying out of the Eastern Conferences basement (aside from continued losing from the Washington Wizards) is how the Bobcats react to these slumps, and how long it takes them to break through.