Brooklyn heads to Charlotte to face the Bobcats

USA TODAY Sports

To put it kindly, it hasn't been going well for the Brooklyn Nets. Injuries and dreadful play have marred what was supposed to be the start of a Championship push. Luckily for the Nets, we're still three weeks into the season and there is enough time for the team to turn it around. This game is the first of a quick two game trip that will take them to Minneapolis to play the Timberwolves. It might not be fair to call games in November "must-win games," but we're at the point where these games are must-win.

Waiting for the Nets will be the Charlotte Bobcats. Charlotte is off to a respectable 5-6 start and find themselves in the sixth position in a surprisingly weak (at least so far) Eastern Conference. They're coming off a tough loss against the Bulls on Monday, but have been

The season so far

Here's a look at how these teams have done this season

2013-2014

Brooklyn

Charlotte

Record

3-7 5-6

Pace

95.7 93.95

Offensive Efficiency

99.4 93.7

Defensive Efficiency

105.1 99.3

Offensive Rebounding percentage

24.8 25.2

Turnover rate

14.7 14.1

Assist rate

15.4 15.2

Rebound rate

48.9 49.4

Free throw rate

34 34.9

Effective Field Goal percentage

46.3 43

Opponent Effective Field Goal percentage

50.5 48.1

If it makes you feel any better, Deron Williams is back & won't have any restrictions placed on him. No word on Brook Lopez as of this writing. Coming into the year, I expected the Nets offense to be one of the best in the league. With all of the options on the table, it wasn't unreasonable to expect the Nets to own a Top 10 offense this year. However, thanks to injuries & subpar shooting from all of the rotation players not named Brook Lopez or Shaun Livingston, they find themselves in the bottom of the league offensively. Mike Prada has more over at the mothership.

Al Jefferson was brought over to boost Charlotte's offense, but he's been missing in action due to a right ankle injury. He will sit again vs. Brooklyn. As it stands right now, the Bobcats have one of the worst offenses in the league. They're near the bottom of the league in offensive efficiency and effective field goal percentage. The roster isn't great, but Kemba Walker's struggles haven't helped matters much. He's only shooting 33 percent from the field, but he did suffer a shoulder injury against the Knicks so that might be affecting his play. Their defense rates out as Top Ten in defensive efficiency & opposing effective field goal percentage so whatever struggles they encounter offensively they (almost) make up for on defense.

Player to watch: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

The second year player has seen his offense improve this season. He spent his summer vacation working on changing his shooting form. It's not the prettiest looking jumper you'll ever see, but so far it's been quite effective for MKG. He only shot 29 percent from the midrange last year, but so far (on only 21 attempts so small sample size warning in effect) he's shooting 42 percent. That isn't spectacular by any means, but it's a step in the right direction. One drawback to his season has been his free throw shooting. He's only shooting 64.1 percent from the free throw line, but this could just be an early season slump so I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Standing at 6'7 & being a quick player, MKG has the skills to be a solid defender. And so far, he's been good on that end. The Bobcats not only have a better points per 100 possessions (7.1 to be precise), but teams are shooting worse, getting to the free throw line at a lower rate, and are less productive on the glass. And on an individual basis, he's done good work defending Carmelo Anthony in their matchups this year.

From the Vault


Relive Deron Williams' career night against the Bobcats from 2012.

More reading: Rufus on Fire

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