The existence of the Charlotte Bobcats has been anything but successful, but now that the franchise is ready to re-obtain the historic “Hornets” name for the 2014-15 NBA season, it appears things are beginning to look up. At least it looked that way Tuesday night when Charlotte defeated the Detroit Pistons 108-96. The win improved the Bobcats to 24-30, keeping a small distance between the vultures circling the eighth spot in the East.
Charlotte was led to the victory by the big-little duo of Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, who combined for a total of 54 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists. It was the type of game that the Bobcats’ front office imagined when they drafted Walker and signed Jefferson. They envisioned a duo that would turn around the franchise and bring success.
Well, the first half of the season was a learning experience for both men as they learned to play with each other and their new teammates. Luckily for them, the East has been a disaster and has left the door wide open.
It won’t be that easy for Charlotte though. Currently, the New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers and Pistons are all within 2.5 games of the eighth place Bobcats. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am expecting the Knicks to make a push toward the playoffs, especially if they can get healthy. What does that mean for Charlotte?
It means that the road to the postseason will not be easy and they will have to find a leader — or leaders to carry them there. Those leaders are Jefferson and Walker, who have the ability to be a powerful duo. Jefferson has been marred by bad teams his entire career and would love to see success. Walker is young, but of course he wants to win.
To put it simply, the Bobcats need both Jefferson and Walker to play flawlessly for the rest of the season if the playoffs are to become reality. I said before the season started that Charlotte was my sleeper pick in the East. I continue to stand by that and feel confident that Jefferson and Walker are beginning to click as partners.
Shane Phillips is an NBA Writer for RantSports.com. Follow Shane on Twitter @ShaneRantNBA, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also email Shane at ShaneRantNBA@gmail.com.