Yesterday Roberto Gato graded the backcourt performance of the Charlotte Bobcats.
Today, it’s Mike Dunlap’s turn.
You might say it’s not fair to grade Dunlap, yet.
It’s true that he’s barely had time to implement an offensive and defensive approach, and he really hasn’t been with his players long enough to figure out which lineups work best and who plays best with who.
Still, we’re grading the Bobcats, and, ultimately it starts and ends with the head coach (All stats are as of Dec. 20)
Player Development: B
Again, it’s been less than half a season, but the coach has already shown what most people already knew; He’s a good player developer. Kemba Walker has turned into a very good point guard under him, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is having a more-than-solid rookie season. Bismack Biyombo hasn’t looked great this year, though, and Gerald Henderson appears to be regressing in some aspects of his game. Still, for the most part, it looks like Dunlap is making his players better than they were under different leadership.
Dunlap’s offense is 16th in the league in points per game, but just 24th in offensive rating (points per 100 possessions). That is largely because Dunlap’s offensive system relies on transition buckets and creating possessions. To that point, the Bobcats are ninth in pace (possessions per 48 minutes). I knew that was going to be an important stat for Charlotte this year, and because of it, their offense looks better on paper than it really is.
The Bobcats are a horrible defensive team. There’s no way around it. They’re the worst in the league in both points allowed per game and defensive rating (points allowed per 100 possessions). To offset Charlotte’s lack of size, Dunlap relies on a zone, that the Bobcats cannot run, because no one on the team appears to understand what a defensive rotation is, which leaves three point shooters open on ever other possession. Even when the team is in man, there’s always a guy chucking a wide open three against them multiple times a game. Threes aren’t the only reason Charlotte’s D is so bad; They give up too many points in the paint and too many points in transition.
Charlotte is 17th in rebounds per game and 27th in assists per game. The team is also 22nd in steals despite having Kemba Walker in the top five in that category individually. On the plus side, the team is in the top ten for fewest turnovers, and top six for blocks per game.
Maybe it really isn’t fair to grade Dunlap yet. He does need more time with this team to get it to where he, and everyone else wants it to be. Still, games are being played, and mostly lost, and more times than not the ultimate pressure is on the coach to turn all that around.