Basketball statistics are no longer as simple as points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Much like Sabermetrics took over the greatest minds in baseball, advanced statistics are taking over the NBA. The most important advanced stat for the Charlotte Bobcats this year is even complicated.
It’s called pace, and it will have a serious impact on the ‘Cats season.
Basically, pace is an estimate of the number of possessions per 48 minutes a team has.
With a roster full of young players that aren’t great shooters, Charlotte just couldn’t get enough possessions to score the amount of points necessary to win last year. The Bobcats were 17th in pace last year, and dead last in points per game and offensive rating.
Mike Dunlap has already explained that his team will run, which means Charlotte should move up in the league when it comes to pace. How much they move up in that category could determine how much they move up in the W/L column.
If Charlotte becomes a team that gets 100 possessions per 48 minutes instead of 91 like last year, they should score around 95 points per game. If every other stat stays the same, that means Charlotte’s average margin of defeat would be cut from 13 to five. That might not seem like a decrease that would translate to more wins, but if the Bobcats can stay within five points of their opponents next year, they’ll at least have a chance to win those games.
With a higher pace and more possessions per game, that means Charlotte’s opponents will get more opportunities, too. This is exactly where the additions of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jeffrey Taylor and Brandon Heywood become critical. To stay within that five point range in every game, the Bobcats defensive rating cannot get worse than it was last year. Those three players should make sure of that.
There are other critical statistics Charlotte fans should keep an eye on when the season begins in November, but pace, and its affect on the Bobcats offense will be the most important when it comes to wins and losses.