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October 9, 2012; New Orleans, LA, USA; Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) against the New Orleans Hornets during the second half of a preseason game at the New Orleans Arena. The Hornets defeated the Bobcats 97-82. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

Looking At Preseason Progress

So we’re four games into the Bobcats preseason. It’s an exciting time. It’s natural for a lot of people to look for things that players have improved upon in preseason. That’s mostly due to excitement and basketball deprivation. But you have to be careful from taking too much from preseason. Afterall, nobody will remember much about preseason once the season is underway. But while we’re in the moment, let’s take a look at some things happening for the Bobcats:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is clearly one of those guys who you can’t judge off a box score. His overall preseason stats aren’t great so far, but he’s been good defensively. His defensive potential is easy to see as soon as he steps on the floor and despite not being a respectable jumpshooter, he does everything else at a pretty good level.

He’s the type of competitor and workhorse the Bobcats need at SF. It’s encouraging that Mike Dunlap wants MKG to play as he did in Kentucky and doesn’t want him to feel limited by being a rookie. Over time, MKG is going to turn into a real stat stuffer for the Bobcats and the type of player Dunlap will need to improve the defense.

Byron Mullens is clearly using preseason to experiment and showcase his expanded jumpshot range. He’s shooting 14-32 from three, which is a 43.7% clip. It’s stands out more considering the Bobcats are shooting 29% from three in preseason. On average he’s taking eight threes per game.

Because he’s been living on the perimeter so much in preseason, Mullens only has seven free throw attempts to show for it. It’s great that Mullens work seems to be paying off with his jumper, as the team is going to count on more scoring and a boost in efficiency as well. But as I wrote in my Mullin About Mullens article, Mullens really needs to find a balance between his jumper and inside play.

MKG and Mullens look like the only guaranteed  bets to start right now.

Tyrus Thomas has six rebounds in 57 minutes. The Bobcats are being outrebounded by their opponents right now by 5. Mullens is the leading rebounder at just under six per game.

Ben Gordon is going to get a ton of shots this season. You don’t need preseason to know that Gordon is the best shooter and scorer on this team. I’d wager that he’s going to come off the bench to give the Bobcats that wildcard every game.  Gordon’s hit double digits in each of the preseason games so far and overall looked good. If he can recover his production, you have to be pleased that the Bobcats were able to exchange Corey Maggette for a better player and future first round pick.

The Bobcats have four players averaging double digits right now. Gordon, Mullens, Henderson and Sessions.

Kemba Walker is shooting 50% from the field in preseason, on 24 shots. He also leads the team in steals. I’m still not sure it’s a lock if Walker will be the starter, though I would guess it’s likely. Obviously the team really wants progression from him in his second year, and I think he’s going to flourish under Dunlap. However, Sessions is a better game manager at this point and can create easier shots for those around him. Sessions currently leads the team in assists and turnovers.

The next Bobcats preseason game is at Detroit on Saturday.

Tags: Charlotte Bobcats Preseason

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