As the team is struggling to find their niche in the NBA right now, as well as struggling to win a game, one of the key individuals that has been detrimental to the Bobcats has continued to be Byron Mullens.
Charlotte’s seven-foot center has been noted for his quick-trigger and for making the occasional knuckleheaded play. However, his last five games have been notably bad.
As the Bobcats starting center, something that can’t be lost in this, Mullens is averaging, in 31.2 minutes per game, 8.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. That’s not a terrible stat-line. It’s not until you see that he is shooting the ball an average of 11 times per game and is only converting on 27.3 percent of those attempts.
Mullens’ over-confidence with his shot has always been a minor issue for Charlotte. Now, though, it’s getting to the point that their center is shooting them out of games.
This scenario has never been more obvious than their loss on Tuesday to the Los Angeles Lakers. After a strong start from both Mullens and the Bobcats, Mullens began to fire off one ill-advised shot after another. He finished the night with 13 points and 17 rebounds. Looking at those numbers, you might think he kept them in the game.
That’s, once again, when you look at his field goal attempts. Mullens shot the ball 19 times against the Lakers and converted on only five of those tries. In the flow of the game, Mullens stifled the Bobcats’ offense and allowed the Lakers to climb back and ultimately beat Charlotte.
Mullens has to develop his basketball-IQ further if the Bobcats want to win. There’s no denying that the center has a nice skill-set and good size. However, he has to become more adept to playing to his strengths, rather than trying to play like a seven-foot Kobe Bryant.
If he doesn’t begin to show some sort of discipline with his play, the Bobcats have to think about removing him from the starting lineup and limiting his minutes. Otherwise, his free-willed shooting will continue to thwart any quality efforts from Charlotte.