Charlotte Bobcats: Steve Clifford’s Suffocating Defense

The 2013 Charlotte Bobcats were arguably the NBA’s worst team.  They won one more game than the pitiful Orlando Magic.  Last year’s Bobcats were definitely the leagues worst defensive unit.  Charlotte was in a dead heat for last in effective Field Goal Percentage allowed and defensive rebounding.

One year ago the Bobcats top four players by minutes were:

  1. Kemba Walker
  2. Bismack Biyombo
  3. Gerald Henderson
  4. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Twelve months later rookie coach Steve Clifford is sporting one of the half-dozen best defensive squads in the NBA.  This year’s Bobcats are an especially good rebounding team (second best on the defensive glass behind Indiana).

Who makes up the current lineup in Charlotte?  By minutes played:

  1. Gerald Henderson
  2. Kemba Walker
  3. Josh McRoberts
  4. Al Jefferson

Biyombo’s playing time has been cut in half by Clifford despite his overall play improving.  The third year center is averaging 12 rebounds per 36 minutes.  While he doesn’t score much he also doesn’t miss, he is shooting 65% from the floor this year.

Obviously Al Jefferson deserves credit for keeping opposing Bigs in line and cleaning the defensive glass (11 rebs/36 mins).  Finally, now that Kidd-Gilchrist is back in the lineup their top five-man unit is legitimately one of the NBA’s very best defensive outfits.

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