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Don’t look now but Bobcats playing some defense in preseason

Oct 22, 2013, 1:56 PM EDT

Steve Clifford AP

Charlotte had the worst defense in the NBA last season giving up 108.9 points per 100 possessions, then this summer they went out and got Al Jefferson as their big free agent signing — a guy who admits that he’s not good on defense.

We all expect more of the same matador defense this season (ole!), but so far this preseason things have been different under new coach Steve Clifford. Very different. The Charlotte Observer had the stats.

As of Sunday, the Bobcats were giving up the fewest points per game in the NBA at 82.7. They’re the only one of 30 teams not to allow 90 or more points in any game, one of two teams (with Chicago) not to allow 100 or more. Their field-goal percentage defense (39.5 percent) is third-best in the NBA and they have committed the fewest personal fouls (17.3 per game) in the league.

Here are the caveats: it’s preseason, so take everything with a whole lot of salt, and second the Bobcats are doing well in transition defense and with that slowing the game down, which is part of the reason for the low per-game numbers.

That said, at least in the preseason they are defending better. The defense is more in a Spurs/Pacers mold of taking away the paint with a focus on not fouling, and while Charlotte is down a few rungs on the talent ladder from those teams — although Michael Kidd-Gilchrist should be a good defender — the strategy has them on the right track.

Come the regular season nobody sane expects to see the Bobcats in the top 10 in the league in defense, but if they can stay out of the bottom 10 Charlotte could win a respectable number of games this season (and screw up their lottery chances in the year of a deep draft, but that’s another story).

  1. asimonetti88 - Oct 22, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    You have to start somewhere.

  2. MyTeamsAllStink - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:24 PM

    go Hornets

    • danman327 - Oct 25, 2013 at 4:33 AM

      I’ll never call them Bobcats again……..Horncats this year, then back to our beloved HORNETS next year!

  3. ProBasketballPundit - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Hooray! Combine this with the news that I’ll be able to stream my home team’s (Bobcats) games on NBA LP Broadband and I’m excited. Maybe I’ll even have to pay more than $5 for tickets this year.

    • ProBasketballPundit - Oct 22, 2013 at 5:43 PM

      PS The Bobcats actually lead the league in defensive points per possession once, in 2009-2010. For that to happen again Biyombo would have to make a leap from completely clueless to lock down paint defender.

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