year, and for the most part have looked have looked pretty good...on the offensive end. Although we did pretty good
tonight, we have looked very inept on the defensive side of the ball. And as we demonstrated last year, and is a core
philosophy since this franchise's inception, defense wins championships. By the naked eye it's clear our defense has
not lived up to the high standards we strive for, that much is clear. Digging deeper and looking at the stats, its clear that we aren't even living up to the Bobcats' defensive standards. Let's take a look at the numbers shall we? I pulled up this table from basketball-reference (a TERRIFIC site for anything stats) that compares the numbers we put up vs. the numbers we allow to opponents.
Now, i'm not sure if these stats include tonight's game or not, but its not all that important.
Looking at the table its clear we have been an offensive juggernaut, which everyone had expected going in. The addition of elite shooters in Ray Ray and 'Shard, Shane Battier decided he wanted to show up in the regular season, Rio continuing to improve, and Bron taking more 3's have made us the most efficient 3pt shooting and overall FG shooting team thus far. The one surprising number to me is the rebounding numbers. I'm actually surprised we are ranked 12th. We have gotten killed on the boards in several games this year, especially against big teams like Memphis, but again that was to be expected. We are middle of the pack in giving up TOs, which is ok cause we have guys that make plays. Nothing is glaring on what we put up.
What has me concerned, as does many of you, is what we are allowing. We have gotten KILLED by the 3 ball in several games this year (Knicks, Grizz, Rockets). Our overall FG% against, which was top 3 last year, is bottom 12 now, and we are having tremendous difficulty giving up rebounds and second chance points. These numbers show that we are about as far away from the defense that gave nightmares to opponents last year as we can be.
Why the sudden drop off? First, i'm gonna preface this by saying that its still early, very early. Offenses tend to be ahead of defenses at this point. My first theory, and perhaps the most likely, is the championship effect. As we saw in 2006, there tends to be a bit of a hangover when a team wins the championship. There are numerous media obligations, traveling, family obligations, etc that tend to come when you win a championship. This tends to take time away from practice and training to get ready for the next season. Also, teams make sure they are ready to play the champions. As we have already seen, teams find ways to perform above and beyond what is typical of them. My second theory is the injury effect. When we won the championship some of our key guys were not fully healthy. Wade had a knee issue the whole season, which he had surgery to fix, Bosh was dealing with his ab strain, just about Miller's entire body was in tremendous pain, and our 2 new pickups were coming off their own lower body issues. UD and Rio missed most of the preseason, while Joel missed all of it. And with LeBron it may be a case of playing TOO much in the offseason. All this time off the court lends to some rust, and unfamiliarity for the new players.
While i have no doubts we will correct this at some point in the season, it is still concerning considering we came out so strong to begin last season. Our offense has not been a problem, clearly. The defense that this franchise has always prided itself has been severely lagging behind.