Frontcourt, Not Guards, Key to Charlotte Bobcats Loss to Utah Jazz

Brendan Haywood Derrick Favors

Sam Sharpe – USA Today Sports Images

Entering Wednesday night’s game against the Utah Jazz, the guards and perimeter players of the Charlotte Bobcats knew that they had a chance to take advantage of Utah’s weak backcourt. For the most part, they did just that.

Someone must have forgotten to tell Charlotte’s frontcourt that they had a game Wednesday night, though.

The Bobcats guards and small forwards combined for 88 points on 52.2 percent shooting. That’s exactly what they needed to do so they could exploit the Jazz’s struggling guard-play with the injury to Mo Williams.

But for Charlotte’s quality play from their perimeter players to matter, there had to be some kind of production coming from their post-players. That didn’t happen.

The Bobcats frontcourt combined for only 14 points on 31.6 percent shooting. If you take Hakim Warrick’s 10 points on 44 percent shooting, Bismack Biyombo, Tyrus Thomas, Jeff Adrien and Brendan Haywood combined to score four points on 20 percent shooting. Their big-men also allowed the Jazz’s three primary post-players to score 55 points on 75 percent shooting.

It’s safe to say that the lack of offensive production and the soft interior defense of the Bobcats is why the final score read 112-102 in favor of Utah. Had they been more aggressive and effective on offense, the score would probably be tilted more towards Charlotte. Had they contained the Jazz frontcourt better, the result might have been different.

But those things didn’t happen. They haven’t happened all season for the Bobcats. This game is a microcosm of Charlotte’s season. Guys like Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Ramon Sessions and Ben Gordon have been carrying this team to the little success that they’ve had while their post-players continually underperform or perform inconsistently.

Not only does that put entirely too much pressure on the backcourt of the Bobcats, but it also allows teams to game-plan better for Charlotte. Opposing teams know that guys like Biyombo, Haywood and Thomas don’t have the prowess to beat them offensively. Subsequently, teams can then focus their defense on stopping the Bobcats’ guards.

Though he’s wildly inefficient, Charlotte needs Byron Mullens to come back from injury. Mullens will have to play smarter when he’s on the floor, but he is the only offensive threat in the Bobcats frontcourt. Without him in the lineup, the Bobcats are too unbalanced of a team to succeed.

While Mullens is still out though, the Bobcats have to find a way to create easy shots for their big-men. Whether it be pick-and-roll plays, interior screens or something else, they have to do something.

The Bobcats backcourt has been going into battle with only half of an army behind them in most games this season. And that’s why they’ve been losing the war.

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