Tonight’s Opponent: The Charlotte Bobcats
Playoff Status: Sixth in the Eastern Conference
Current Streak: W5
A year ago, the Charlotte Bobcats were the worst team in the NBA. Ever. Playing in a season that was shortened as a result of a contract dispute, Charlotte went 7-59, establishing the mark of futility by which all other terrible teams will forever be judged. Their winning percentage of .106 “beast” the original record of .110 set by the 1972-1973 Philadelphia 76ers. Suffice it to say, the Bobcats were THIS close to being re-classified as an NBA Development League team during the offseason.
Just take a look at those lil’ ‘Cats this year! They’re all growed up, heading to the postseason for the second time in franchise history! So how did they manage to turn things around so quickly?
Two words: voodoo magic.
Okay: seriously, they sort of have none other than the Boston Celtics to thank for their turnaround. I’m sure many of you remember when Boston traded Big Al Jefferson to the Minnesota Timberwolves way back in 2007. Of course, the trade worked out great for the Celtics, since it was Kevin Garnett they were trading for, and we all know how that worked out. Still, without realizing it Boston was putting Jefferson on the path that would ultimately lead him to Charlotte, the team for which he was just name Eastern Conference Player of the Month. The big man is going to be a key factor in how far the Bobcats go this postseason.
Of course, the Bobcats have also benefited from their previous losing ways, having drafted Gerald Henderson back in 2009 (14.3 PPG this season), Kemba Walker in 2011 (17.8 PPG and 6.1 APG), and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in 2012 (7.1 PPG, 5.1 rebounds per). The Bobcats are fairly young, totally hungry, and have a solid blend of a reliable backcourt with a workhouse in the paint. Given the fact that their first-round opponent in these playoffs is currently the Toronto Raptors, I would not be totally surprised to see this team win a series before finally bowing out to a more experienced team. Either way, the Charlotte Bobcats are no longer the laughingstock of the NBA.