NBA.com's John Schuhmann is pretty big on efficiency. He likes assessing the offensive and defensive performances of teams and players by digging into the stats to see how effectively they can create or prevent baskets. It's an approach to evaluation that emphasizes economy and execution.
So it's no surprise that Schuhmann only needed three words to tell you everything you need to know about the 2011-12 Charlotte Bobcats in the latest edition of his NBA.com Power Rankings:
Yep, that about sums it up.
What information lives inside that summation? The Bobcats rank last in the league in both points scored per 100 possessions and points allowed per 100 possessions, which accounts for the horrid "efficiency" numbers that led Schuhmann to his succinct, pitch-perfect conclusion. They're also first in the league in head-coach facepalms, which doesn't show up in a box score but does show up in a proprietary statistical system that I've developed to help me identify and exploit NBA memes. You're just going to have to trust me on that one.
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Charlotte has lost 17 straight games, including a 28-point loss to the second-worst team in the league, and have a real shot at catching the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers for the lowest winning percentage in league history. Even if they don't, though, people who blog about the team, like Spencer at Queen City Hoops, now find it "hard to imagine a team once [existed] that was worse than this."
And while the opportunity exists for a bright future led by capable general manager Rich Cho, 2011 lottery picks Kemba Walker and Bismack Biyombo, and whichever lottery pick Charlotte can import this summer (Kentucky big man Anthony Davis, 'Cats fans hope), the specter of Michael Jordan — the greatest to ever lace 'em up, but a dire-at-best executive who might not care enough to do the work necessary to bring Carolina a winner — hands over it all, forever threatening to turn flexibility and options into another run of dead-end campaigns. Hope springs eternal, but hard-earned pessimism's got alligator blood, too.
When you look at all that, "This team stinks" actually seems pretty kind, doesn't it?
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