Mullens’ return has been speculated recently, but the exact date was still uncertain until this afternoon.
The seven-footer’s return would have signified an entirely healthy Bobcats roster, had it not been for the injury that Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered on Saturday against the Houston Rockets. Kidd-Gilchrist was diagnosed with a concussion and is now back with the team.
With Mullens back in the lineup, Charlotte will get some much needed offense out of their frontcourt. Bismack Biyombo and company have been wildly inconsistent with their scoring output in Mullens’ absence.
Though he is obviously the most competent offensive big-man on the Bobcats, Mullens will need to be more efficient with his scoring upon his return. Before his injury, he had made a habit of taking contested and difficult shots, as well as taking an unnecessary abundance of three-point attempts.
Those are all factors in why he has shot only 37.1 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from deep in the 27 games that he’s been on the floor.
Tonight’s game against Miami will be a good opportunity for him to get some nice interior looks at the basket, as the Heat tend to play a large amount of games with small-ball lineups.
They will need his scoring in the post in this game, too. With the Kidd-Gilchrist injury, Charlotte loses one of their best and most versatile defenders. Considering they are already arguably the worst defensive team in the NBA, losing MKG is only going to make things worse.
Subsequently, the Bobcats will need to put a bunch of points on the board if they want to remain competitive against the Heat. The return of Mullens, if he chooses to play within himself and play intelligently, will be a huge factor in whether that happens or not.