It’s getting harder and harder for Bobcats fans to find positives as the loss total begins to climb higher and higher.
Here at Roberto Gato, we’ve tried focusing on as many positives as we can; Kemba Walker’s breakout sophomore campaign, Jeff Adrien’s welcomed contributions since being called up from the D-League, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffrey Taylor with strong showings in their rookie seasons.
Yet there is one positive that hasn’t been mentioned which usually requires a bit of reading between the lines to discover.
The Bobcats currently have a .234 winning percentage, which is well over double the .106 winning percentage the team posted last year; however, this number doesn’t surprise as much as another obscure number that’s continued to impress me throughout this season.
The Bobcats have lost 36 games so far this season (wait for it), and in those 36 losses, the Cats have dropped 11 of those games by 10 points or less to “playoff” teams. Obscure? Yes, indeed. Drawn out? You betcha. Finding the silver lining in the midst of a third straight losing season? Priceless.
Charlotte struggled mightily last season, losing a total of 59 games en route to setting the NBA’s record for winning percentage futility. Many of those losses were blowouts, as Charlotte seemingly forgot how to score on most nights.
There were, however, some nights that the young Cats showed plenty of promise. Throughout last year’s lockout shortened season, aside from the Bobcats’ seven wins, Charlotte lost against playoff teams by 10 points or less a total of 12 times. Had Charlotte been able to win just a few more possessions in those games, the ’11-’12 Bobcats might not be remembered now as the worst team in NBA history, possibly earning themselves a few more wins and avoiding just a few more jokes. Also, these “close games” showed two things: just how often Charlotte was losing by extremely large deficits, and that Charlotte could -on a good night -hang with the big boys in the league.
This season, Charlotte has already improved in the win-loss column alone. There’s mathmatically no way that the Bobcats will perform as badly as last season (11 wins out of 82 games =.134 winning percentage), and they’ll continue to win games in which they come out firing on the defensive side of the ball and actually get the ball in the basket. Even more impressive, though, is that 11 of the teams 36 losses have been by 10 points or less to playoff caliber teams.
Yet playoff caliber teams aren’t defined by a team with more wins than the Bobcats; playoff caliber teams are defined as teams that would be fighting in the postseason for the Larry O’Brien Trophy if the season ended today.
While the losses still aren’t very comforting, the close losses are showing Charlotte’s much improved ability to remain competitive in games for longer, and that this years team has much more talent (and even greater potential) than last years squad. The Cats are, as apparent by last night’s close loss to Miami, refusing to quit down the stretch which is a great sight to see; by playing a full 48, Charlotte will continue to prepare themselves for the future and possibly steal a couple games from star-studded teams in the league, which in turn will help them to continue to gain confidence going forward.
After losing 27 of their last 31 games, it’s hard to seperate the good from the bad with this young Bobcats team. Yet it seems as though they’re continuing to move in the right direction, no matter what their record is.