Shot-clock timing troubles Bobcats

December 7, 2012 

The problem: Shot-clock violations. The Charlotte Bobcats have many.

The data: Entering Wednesday’s home game against the New York Knicks, the Bobcats had committed 24 “team’’ turnovers. No other NBA team had committed more than 17. A “team’ turnover is typically either a shot-clock violation or an in-bounds violation. The vast majority of the Bobcats’ team turnovers this season have been shot-clock violations.

Why is this a drag? They’re certainly not potent enough offensively to overcome throw-away possessions. Not even getting a shot to the rim within 24 seconds signals offensive dysfunction. In general, the Bobcats are good about turnovers: They have nine more takeaways than giveaways this season. But shot-clock violations – typically one per game – are a troubling flashback to last season’s 7-59 debacle.

Is this costing them? They lost 100-98 to the Knicks Wednesday. They committed four turnovers in their last five possessions. One of those was a shot-clock violation. Another was an in-bounds violation. So, yes, the stakes are tangible.

Why is this happening? Lots of reasons, but here are some factors – they have two big men, Brendan Haywood and Bismack Biyombo, who are limited offensively. The ball tends to end up in their hands late in possessions, which would be precisely what the other team wants.

Also, Kemba Walker has some trouble when the opposing team blitzes a pick-and-roll by having both defenders stay with Walker, obscuring his driving lane and limiting his passing vision.

And finally, the ball ends up far from the basket sometimes, leading to frantic air-balls and an expiring shot clock.

Possible fixes? Don’t be so deliberate getting into the half-court offense.

Defensively, the Bobcats are pretty good at eating up time on opponent possessions with traps and three-quarter court presses. But they don’t always get the reverse of that – that time’s a wasting in their own possessions.

Rick Bonnell

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