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View Full Version : The Charlotte Bobcats are ranked #7 defensively, what's making them so good?



KniCks4LiFe
03-06-2014, 02:25 AM
Ofcourse we know that the likes of Deron Williams, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James have dropped double nickels and plus on that defense. But it is still one of the best defense in the entire NBA. Who's making them this good. Is it a team combo thing? or is it a few players overperforming?

Can Anthony Tolliver, Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson, Biyombo, CDR and Josh McRoberts be that underrated defensively? Is it the coaching staff's system or are these players really that good defensively and yet no one gives them their due?

Deception
03-06-2014, 02:29 AM
Steve Clifford, he's changed their defensive approach this season.

KniCks4LiFe
03-06-2014, 02:33 AM
Steve Clifford, he's changed their defensive approach this season.

is there a specific system he's playing? I'm curious about this, b/c these players, are scabs...some aren't even known for their defense yet they are starting to move up the rankings.

JEDean89
03-06-2014, 02:37 AM
Well MKG is a defensive stud, and Biyombo is leading the league in rim protection. honestly, if you have a team of just slightly above average defenders, you can be a top defense in this league. My Nuggets don't have a single above average defensive player this year and it shows.

KniCks4LiFe
03-06-2014, 02:40 AM
Well MKG is a defensive stud, and Biyombo is leading the league in rim protection. honestly, if you have a team of just slightly above average defenders, you can be a top defense in this league. My Nuggets don't have a single above average defensive player this year and it shows.

here's the thing, MKG really isn't all that good this year defensively. He's actually underachieving.

abe_froman
03-06-2014, 02:48 AM
1.yes those guys were/are underrated defensively
but it as to do with the coach ,his schemes and getting them to buy in and give effort

KniCks4LiFe
03-06-2014, 02:50 AM
1.yes those guys were/are underrated defensively
but it as to do with the coach ,his schemes and getting them to buy in and give effort

what's he doing w/ McRoberts on the PnR, I notice he's good guarding that. And I see Zeller is too. So is Jefferson.

Chronz
03-06-2014, 12:20 PM
Its definitely not because of Al Jefferson, Ill tell you that much. The guy is trying harder than ever but that defense was strong with him gone and he has seemingly made it abit worse via on/off stats, MKG and Biyombo beast together tho. Must be good coaching but Kemba Walker is prolly the underrated guy defensively. Also, when did Deron score his 50? Wasnt it when the Bobcats sucked on D.

People can look at the explosions but on rare nights when superstars can do no wrong, no type of defense will deter them much and all year the Bobcats have held individuals from scoring. That and they play in the East so some of that defensive rating is superficially enhanced by them playing lesser teams. Adjusted numbers might look somewhat different.

ManRam
03-06-2014, 12:34 PM
It's pretty fascinating for sure. Clifford deserves a ton of props at the very least.

Looking at the 4 factors...

They're tremendous at not fouling with a .185 free throw rate, 4th best in the league.
They're the best defensive rebounding team in the league, tied with the Pacers at the top
They don't, however, force many turnovers, ranking 25th with a 12.9 TOV%
They're only a tad above league average in opponent eFG%, ranking 11th with a 49.3% mark


Jefferson remains a negative defender. Above all else, I agree with Chronz that he deserves very little, if any at all, credit for the turnaround. He grades out poorly wherever you look...be it on/off stats, advanced plus/minus stats, or whatever. It mostly has to be coming from the outside, which is very rare. Usually effective defenses are built from the inside out.

It's very interesting, but they've sustained it for long enough for it not to be an obvious fluke. A tremendous turnaround. Almost impossible to believe.

JasonJohnHorn
03-06-2014, 01:38 PM
AL Jefferson and the coaching staff have made a huge difference.

Big Al is getting over a block and steal a game. That helps. He's not a great anchor like Noah, Hibbert, Dwight or Marc Gasol, but he does make a positive impact in some respects.

Ben Gordon getting less minutes helps... because of his size he could be a liability on defense.

Walker and Hendersn have brought their fouls down a little, and Jefferson is getting less than the guys he replaced. That puts the opponents on the line less, which helps. I'm not sure if that follow through with the other players though.

Chronz
03-06-2014, 01:49 PM
AL Jefferson and the coaching staff have made a huge difference.

Big Al is getting over a block and steal a game. That helps. He's not a great anchor like Noah, Hibbert, Dwight or Marc Gasol, but he does make a positive impact in some respects.

A single block in however many minutes he plays isn't even above his positional average rate IIRC, if its not, then how does that really help?

How can you say hes made a huge impact when this defensive identity was first established with him gone and we've seen the team play better defensively with him on the bench? Biyombo prolly has more to do with it than he does, I mean you cite a single block for Al Jefferson but Biyombo gets that single block in roughly half the minutes. I can see the argument for Al Jefferson going from a complete detriment defensively (for years, as he has personally admitted) to being average, but to say hes a driving force is laughable IMO. We may have to agree to disagree again, but just how exactly are you measuring his defensive impact.

JasonJohnHorn
03-06-2014, 02:42 PM
A single block in however many minutes he plays isn't even above his positional average rate IIRC, if its not, then how does that really help?

How can you say hes made a huge impact when this defensive identity was first established with him gone and we've seen the team play better defensively with him on the bench? Biyombo prolly has more to do with it than he does, I mean you cite a single block for Al Jefferson but Biyombo gets that single block in roughly half the minutes. I can see the argument for Al Jefferson going from a complete detriment defensively (for years, as he has personally admitted) to being average, but to say hes a driving force is laughable IMO. We may have to agree to disagree again, but just how exactly are you measuring his defensive impact.

I would never suggest that Jefferson is an All-Defensive team candidate, but you have to compare him to what they had last year at that position. If there is an improvement, you have to look at everything. Byron Mullens started 41 games for them last year, and he was averaging more fouls and less blocks and steals per36 than Jefferson. It might only be a little help, but it is a difference. Biyomo gets more blocks, but he also gets WAY more fouls. So simply having contested shots instead of fouls is a help. And Tyrus Thomas was also posting a lot of fouls. Some of these guys played minutes at C and PF, but regardless, Jefferson is doing something these guys weren't doing.


I think Jefferson is underrated, but that said, I wouldn't EVER suggest he was an elite defender, just that he was an improvement on what they had.

Oh, and he gets more offensive rebounds than Mullens ;-)


But seriously, compared to what they had, Jefferson is getting more rebounds, blocks and steals and less personal fouls. So yeah, that is an improvement.

I didn't use the words 'driving' force, I said he's made a huge difference, and compared to a guy like Mullens he is.

Biyombo is an interesting player, but you mention his blocks and NOT his fouls and steals.


Biyombo averages 3 blocks/steals per36 and 3.8 fouls in that time. Jefferson averages 2.2 steals/blocks to 2.7. Not that far off in terms of ratio, but Jefferson is on the floor a lot more than Biyombo. And Jefferson's commits a total of 1.1 fewer fouls per36 than Biyombo.

I'm not saying Jefferson is a defensive wizard, merely that Jefferson is a huge reason why this team has improved, overall more so, but even on defense he is a step up from the options they had last year.


You can't say "Boyombo is the difference". He was there last year. If he is the difference, and hasn't improved much (his fouls are up and his steals are down), then why weren't the Bobcats doing this last year?

You gotta look at what is different, not what is the same. Has there been slight improvement with Henderson, Walker and Boyombo? Yes. The coaching staff is completely different and Jefferson is completely different.

Walker, Henderson, Biombo and MKG are the same.


Did I mention the offensive rebounds? Oh, and Jefferson is making more shots than the guys they had last year, which allows the team to actually get back on defense since the opposing team has to inbound. The best defense is a good offense.

KniCks4LiFe
03-06-2014, 02:56 PM
Teams are producing a PPP average of 0.80 vs Al Jefferson.

To clear this notion that he's not doing much.

Opp. are shooting 38% against him
Opp. on the post are shooting 34% on him
Opp. on the PnR, specifically the roll man are shooting 31%

I can't buy that he's doing nothing. Maybe he's poor in other areas but his strengths defensively should not be ignored.

koreancabbage
03-06-2014, 02:59 PM
well, they can have off nights but more likely than not, those three mentioned players went off becuase they just went off. Someone made a good analysis when Lebron scored his share of points against them because he had no dunks and he made a plethora of jumpers. can't stop a player when he's on extreme fire, no matter how good your team defense is.

KniCks4LiFe
03-06-2014, 03:12 PM
well, they can have off nights but more likely than not, those three mentioned players went off becuase they just went off. Someone made a good analysis when Lebron scored his share of points against them because he had no dunks and he made a plethora of jumpers. can't stop a player when he's on extreme fire, no matter how good your team defense is.

Something went horribly wrong in CHA's D that night.

20 uncontested shots, he made 13 of them. The whole night he had 13 contested shots and drilled 9 of them.

mrblisterdundee
03-06-2014, 06:59 PM
It's team defense. They need it just to stay halfway above water.

Chronz
03-07-2014, 03:19 PM
I would never suggest that Jefferson is an All-Defensive team candidate, but you have to compare him to what they had last year at that position. If there is an improvement, you have to look at everything. Byron Mullens started 41 games for them last year, and he was averaging more fouls and less blocks and steals per36 than Jefferson. It might only be a little help, but it is a difference. Biyomo gets more blocks, but he also gets WAY more fouls. So simply having contested shots instead of fouls is a help. And Tyrus Thomas was also posting a lot of fouls. Some of these guys played minutes at C and PF, but regardless, Jefferson is doing something these guys weren't doing.


I think Jefferson is underrated, but that said, I wouldn't EVER suggest he was an elite defender, just that he was an improvement on what they had.

Oh, and he gets more offensive rebounds than Mullens ;-)


But seriously, compared to what they had, Jefferson is getting more rebounds, blocks and steals and less personal fouls. So yeah, that is an improvement.

I didn't use the words 'driving' force, I said he's made a huge difference, and compared to a guy like Mullens he is.

Biyombo is an interesting player, but you mention his blocks and NOT his fouls and steals.


Biyombo averages 3 blocks/steals per36 and 3.8 fouls in that time. Jefferson averages 2.2 steals/blocks to 2.7. Not that far off in terms of ratio, but Jefferson is on the floor a lot more than Biyombo. And Jefferson's commits a total of 1.1 fewer fouls per36 than Biyombo.

I'm not saying Jefferson is a defensive wizard, merely that Jefferson is a huge reason why this team has improved, overall more so, but even on defense he is a step up from the options they had last year.

You can't say "Boyombo is the difference". He was there last year. If he is the difference, and hasn't improved much (his fouls are up and his steals are down), then why weren't the Bobcats doing this last year?

You gotta look at what is different, not what is the same. Has there been slight improvement with Henderson, Walker and Boyombo? Yes. The coaching staff is completely different and Jefferson is completely different.

Walker, Henderson, Biombo and MKG are the same.

I contest the illusion that those players are the same, they had a young core, to expect very little growth from prospects so young is absurd, particularly defensively. Just because Jefferson was the biggest addition doesn't mean hes most attributable. Definitely an improvement on Mullens but so are Tolliver and McBob getting more minutes. Its why while Jefferson was out, the Bobcats established a defensive identity. I credit that to the improvement of the young core and the coaching staff, FAR before I attribute it to the guy who has notoriously been a putrid defender throughout his career, and has continued to post mediocre team statistics. Though I suppose thats an improvement on outright liability.

I am a fan of looking at year to year changes, as you have mentioned, but in actuality, the biggest difference in counterpart production has come at the swing positions (2/3). Last year they allowed swings (SG/SF) to post eFG% of .531 and .542 respectively, this year those numbers are down to .491/.478, all while suppressing their scoring rate. Their defense on bigmen has also improved but not as drastically. Al Jefferson's counterpart numbers aren't too different from where they have been in the past and while it does represent an improvement on the liability that is Mullens, its not the driving force you make it seem. Certainly not enough to offset his team deficiencies or the fact that his teammates are posting superior marks. So yes, he has helped, but in terms of impact pecking order, I dont hold him in high regard, at least not to the point that I bring up his name in place of vastly improving defenders.



Did I mention the offensive rebounds? Oh, and Jefferson is making more shots than the guys they had last year, which allows the team to actually get back on defense since the opposing team has to inbound. The best defense is a good offense.
The best offense is a good defense and the best defense is a good offense, kinda seems like circular logic, if there was that extreme of an impact, wouldn't there be more of a direct correlation? The teams offense declines without Jefferson, thats true, but the defense was holding up just fine in his absence, in fact it has statistically been superior with him on the bench. Having a hard time buying hes made much of a difference with his offensive contributions, I am however, willing to concede him improving as a defender and making more of an impact with his DEFENSIVE rebounding ;), it is after all, a career best for him in that regard.

Chronz
03-25-2014, 06:57 PM
From a Grantland piece today:

http://grantland.com/features/the-charlotte-construction-co-bobcats-hornets-rebuilding-nba/


The revelation, of course, has happened on the other end, where Steve Clifford, the team’s first-year head coach, has helped turn the Bobcats into a top-10 defense. They’ve been in that stratosphere since the first week of the season, and I predicted during that first month they would fall off at least a bit. I’m going to end up wrong.

As detailed here, Clifford has installed a basic system designed to minimize Jefferson’s limitations and provide clear roles for everyone. The results have been stunning. Charlotte has been the league’s stingiest transition defense by almost any measure, following Clifford’s demands to get back on defense immediately upon the release of a shot instead of crashing the boards. “Year in and year out,” Clifford says, “offensive rebounding is not a big factor in which teams win big.”3 That goes for McRoberts if he happens to be on the outside, and for every perimeter player save the bouncy Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — though Henderson admits to breaking the rule now and then. “I hope nobody gets jealous,” Kidd-Gilchrist says, laughing. “I’m just trying to help us win.”

Jefferson hangs back in the paint on pick-and-rolls, an easier system that addresses his lack of foot speed. “The scheme works more to my advantage,” he says. “And the biggest reason is really that Coach just demands it more out of me.” Henderson is a solid wing defender, Walker has improved on the pick-and-roll, and Kidd-Gilchrist has the tools to be an all-court stopper:

“When he’s locked in,” McRoberts says of MKG, “he’s one of the top defenders in the NBA.”4

The Bobcats rarely foul, and they all crash the defensive glass. Charlotte tops the league in defensive rebounding rate after finishing 29th last season and 25th the year before, per NBA.com. Clifford has put off the fancier stuff to spend Year 1 on the basics. Turns out, the basics alone are pretty powerful. The Bobcats have constructed a very good defense with so-so talent, a liability at center, and almost zero rim protection.

Interesting how he totally diminishes the value of offensive rebounding with regards to their defense, ehh JJH? ;)

NBA_Starter
03-25-2014, 10:08 PM
Very good read :clap:

goingfor28
03-25-2014, 10:16 PM
Clifford has done a phenomenal job. Definitely deserves some COY votes

KnicksorBust
03-25-2014, 10:48 PM
From a Grantland piece today:

http://grantland.com/features/the-charlotte-construction-co-bobcats-hornets-rebuilding-nba/


Interesting how he totally diminishes the value of offensive rebounding with regards to their defense, ehh JJH? ;)

Zach Lowe and Kirk Goldsberry make my life complete.

torocan
03-26-2014, 02:31 PM
Good system + players buying in + some youth = Good defense.

Effort gets you most of the way there. Even just sticking a hand in a guy's face on every shot makes a huge difference.

It still amazes me how many NBA caliber players don't even do the TOKEN defensive fundamentals like putting a hand in someone's face or being in a defensive stance. And even more amazing is coaches that let them get away with it... *cough* *WOODSON* *COUGH*....

king4day
03-26-2014, 03:26 PM
Good system + players buying in + some youth = Good defense.

Effort gets you most of the way there. Even just sticking a hand in a guy's face on every shot makes a huge difference.
It still amazes me how many NBA caliber players don't even do the TOKEN defensive fundamentals like putting a hand in someone's face or being in a defensive stance. And even more amazing is coaches that let them get away with it... *cough* *WOODSON* *COUGH*....
Couldn't agree more. I yell at my TV when the Suns don't do this. Just put a f'n hand up. The shooter won't know if you will hit them or not and it could alter the shot slightly.

DreamShaker
03-26-2014, 03:26 PM
Good system + players buying in + some youth = Good defense.

Effort gets you most of the way there. Even just sticking a hand in a guy's face on every shot makes a huge difference.

It still amazes me how many NBA caliber players don't even do the TOKEN defensive fundamentals like putting a hand in someone's face or being in a defensive stance. And even more amazing is coaches that let them get away with it... *cough* *WOODSON* *COUGH*....

That bugs me about Harden. Doesn't put a hand up or even run to his man enough. Effort and stamina means so much on D. If players are truly locked in, that's when you see results.

torocan
03-26-2014, 04:04 PM
Couldn't agree more. I yell at my TV when the Suns don't do this. Just put a f'n hand up. The shooter won't know if you will hit them or not and it could alter the shot slightly.

It's not a question of "could", it usually does.


Across virtually every play type, having a hand up (CONTEST) vs. not having a hand up (PRESSURE) makes a significant difference. On POST shots, a pressured shot averages 54.3%, whereas a contested shot is only 42.3%. A contested screen and pop is 37.8% on average, compared to 50.5% when the shot is only pressured. That’s over a 10% difference just from the defender putting a hand up.

http://www.d3coder.com/thecity/2012/10/11/hand-down-man-down-new-source-of-nba-data-reveals-critical-detail-for-more-effective-shot-defense/

That's a 13% difference in shooting percentage, or a 26% decline in the accuracy of your shot.

Think about that... put your hand up, and your opponent will miss 1/4 of their made shots. That's literally all it takes. Close and put a hand up.

Do that on EVERY play and your shooting defense will be pretty darn good.

Watching NBA players "defend" jump shooters makes me want to scream some nights.