One of the areas that the Charlotte Bobcats will be looking to improve upon in the future is their frontcourt. They will likely make that their primary focus in the 2013 NBA Draft and in free agency as well. Charlotte needs to add to their frontcourt simply because they have one of the worst in the league at the moment.
Trotting out frontlines that pull from a pool of Bismack Biyombo, Byron Mullens, Jeff Adrien, Brendan Haywood, Tyrus Thomas, Hakim Warrick and Josh McRoberts doesn’t exactly strike fear in opponents, but those are the big men that the Bobcats had to work with last season. Obviously that’s a frontcourt in dire need of an influx of talent.
Bringing in young and talented big men will help the Bobcats in a number of ways. It would improve their poor rebounding, an area where they ranked near the bottom of the league last season. It would help improve their interior defense, too. One overlooked area that it would help Charlotte in, though, is with their pick-and-roll offense.
Last season, the Bobcats ran the pick-and-roll 19 percent of the time on offense, more than any other set in their repertoire. They actually weren’t awful out of the pick-and-roll, either, averaging 0.84 points per possession, the 18th most in the NBA.
However, one of the things that jumps out about their pick-and-roll offense from the 2012-2013 season is the fact that 15.2 percent of their pick-and-roll plays ended with the ball-handler making the play while only 3.8 percent ended with the man, usually a post player, getting the ball and making a play.
One of the things that makes the pick-and-roll successful and why it’s so hard to defend, even at the pro level, is the simple fact that there are so many responsibilities that opponents have to account for. Normally, if defenders hedge too heavily towards the ball-handler, there’s an open lane for the screener. Likewise, if defenders play towards the screener, the ball-handler has the opportunity to score.
The issue with the Bobcats in the pick-and-roll this past season was the fact that so much of their offense, particularly out of that set, was derived from their backcourt players. This meant that defenders were able to hedge more heavily towards the ball-handler, but didn’t really have to worry about the screener because the Bobcats’ frontcourt was basically offensively incompetent.
The ultimate result of the way opponents were able to defend Charlotte’s pick-and-roll was guard’s taking ill-advised or contested shots. That’s why the ball-handler shot just 40.3 percent from the field for the Bobcats last year out of the pick-and-roll and turned the ball over 13.7 percent of the time, the highest percentage of any set that they ran.
Charlotte doesn’t necessarily need to bring in a superstar big man to make their pick-and-roll more effective, but they do need to bring in guys that can be viable options out of the set. Not only will it make the Bobcats a more versatile pick-and-roll team by having big men who can roll and score at the rim, but it will also make the ball-handlers’ lives easier as well.