Commentary

Hollinger's Team Forecast: Charlotte Bobcats

Originally Published: October 3, 2006
By John Hollinger | ESPN Insider
Go to: Offseason moves | Biggest strength | Biggest weakness | Outlook

Season Two wasn't an easy ride for the Bobcats. They had trouble selling seats off the court and were wracked by injuries on it, leading to a 26-56 campaign and a tie for last place in the Southeast Division.

But look a little deeper and Charlotte's second season was much more successful than people realize. The team started only 5-9, but had a positive victory margin in those first 14 games, thanks to one-sided wins over playoff teams Washington and Indiana. Even after two months the results weren't too shabby for a second-season expansion team, but then things fell apart as a result of injuries.

Gerald Wallace
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty ImagesGerald Wallace's moves can be breathtaking.

The team's two best players, power forward Emeka Okafor and small forward Gerald Wallace, both missed big chunks of time, and when backup forwards Sean May and Melvin Ely went out, the Bobcats were forced to play an extremely small lineup that featured Jumaine Jones as the starting power forward. Needless to say the team got its brains beat out in the paint during that stretch, explaining an ugly 1-15 mark in January.

The injuries limited Okafor and May to 26 and 23 games, respectively. Okafor had ankle trouble all season and put up poor numbers even when he played because he was playing at less than full strength, while May checked out with a knee problem. But both players should be back at full strength for this season. They weren't the only victims. Only four Charlotte players -- Jones, Primoz Brezec, Raymond Felton and Matt Carroll -- stayed in the lineup for more than 70 games.


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