In the NBA, the highest level of professional basketball, things like fundamentals are taken for granted. Players are expected to know how to dribble without looking at the ball, make different kinds of passes and how to play defense.
Apparently the majority of the Charlotte Bobcats didn’t learn all of their fundamentals, particularly how to play defense.
Instead of hedging on an offensive player trying to penetrate, essentially the entire team collapses on him, leaving the other four opposing players open. Instead of staying on the ground when an offensive player pump-fakes, Bobcats players jump in the air swatting at a shot that didn’t go up. Instead of rotating when there is a switch made, Charlotte’s guys lollygag and leave players with easy shots.
Bad defense is an epidemic for this team. That’s why they allow the most points per game in the NBA at 103.9. It’s also why they are next-to-last in opposing three-point percentage, at 39.1 percent, and 27th in the league in opposing field-goal percentage, at 46.2 percent. They simply don’t know how to effectively stop the other team from scoring.
It’s not a matter of perimeter defense hurting the post defense or vice-versa, either. Both inside and outside, the Bobcats are poor defenders.
On the perimeter, their on-ball defense and hedge-defense is terrible. Guards and small forwards are often getting blown by. The only positive thing they do defensively on the outside is jump passing lanes for steals. But even that isn’t 100 percent effective, and when they whiff on steal attempts it leaves their man wide-open.
And on the interior, Charlotte’s frontcourt looks like big stiff trees that have a supernatural ability to jump at pump-fakes. It seems like every time an opposing team feeds the ball into the post, a Bobcats defender is either standing still while the offensive player does something athletic or skillful or is in the air watching their man hit a lay-up.
It’s awful to watch. They have some problems on the offensive end, but those problems wouldn’t even be remotely important if this team knew how to play defense.
Maybe the Bobcats need to become quicker. Maybe the Bobcats need to play smarter defense. Maybe they need to learn what smart defense is.
Whatever it is that they need to do, it needs to happen soon. This team is bleeding losses and their defense is the primary culprit.