Bobcats Almost-Hornets are heading to the playoffs for the second time in their history, thanks to an overtime win over the Cleveland Cavaliers Saturday night. With five games to go, Charlotte sits one game above .500. If the playoffs began today, they’d be a seven-seed, and would take on the Indiana Pacers in the first round. So how good are these Bobcats, when judged by Bobcats’ standards?
They’re AMAZING. The above chart shows the Bobcats’ win percentage, by year (specifically, the year the season ended). The only year the Bobcats finished above .500 was 2010, when Charlotte piled up 44 wins, made their first playoff appearance, and were promptly swept by the Orlando Magic. To hit 44 wins this season, the Bobcats would need to win all five remaining regular season games.
Just for historical perspective, the Charlotte Hornets first made the playoffs in 1993 and went on to make seven playoff appearances during their 14 seasons in Charlotte (The Hornets moved to New Orleans in 2002, and are now known as the Pelicans, thus allowing the Hornets nickname to return to Charlotte after this season). The Hornets first won more than 50% of their games in 1993, and remained above .500 for their remaining ten seasons in Charlotte.
Bottom line though, this Charlotte Bobcats squad is special. But judged by half-priced-pizza standards, they’re practically hall-of-famers.
UPDATE (4/7/14, 3:05 p.m.): This bonus chart compares the Hornets and Bobcats head to head. As you can see, the Bobcats were slightly better in seasons 2-4:
UPDATE (4/7/14, 5:10 p.m.): One of the Bring Back The Buzz guys wanted to know whether more people show up when the Bobcats are winning. In theory, this should be easy to figure out — just plot attendance numbers next to win percentage and have a look:
But here’s the problem. The NBA calculates attendance as tickets distributed, not tickets sold, nor, you know, the actual attendance. So if the Bobcats give away a ticket to somebody who never shows up the game, they count. Hence, Time Warner Cable Arena is always at least 3/4 full on paper, regardless of whether people actually show up for the game.