2011-2012: Kentucky Wildcats vs. Charlotte Bobcats

January 16, 2013

By Jonathan Gordon

 

On the heels of Alabama’s BCS Championship last week, much has been said in the last few years about the Crimson Tide’s dynasty and whether or not one of their teams could defeat the bottom-dwellers in the NFL.  This brings back memories of the 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats (NCAA Championship and 6 NBA Draft picks) and the everlasting, yet unsettled, debate on if the Wildcats could win an NBA game, specifically one against the lowly 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats (7-59 and last in almost all major statistics). 

 

 

The national consensus among NBA experts and players is that the Bobcats would dominate.  NBA analysts and Vegas oddsmakers put the Bobcats at about 21 point favorites against the Wildcats…if played at Rupp Arena.

 

With the first third of the NBA season already completed, we can now see how Kentucky’s draft picks have fared against NBA competition, providing a better benchmark than college statistics and hypothetical projections.

 

Before delving into the statistical analysis, some preliminary conditions:

 

The game will be played at a neutral site, eliminating any home-court advantage.

 

We will not consider the ‘pride’ and ‘fear of embarrassment’ the Bobcats will be playing with.  The simple question is whether or not the Wildcats were talented enough to beat the Bobcats. 

 

We will only consider the starting rotation.  (Mainly for convenience because there are no NBA statistics for several members of the Wildcats’ bench.  However, in a single game, it figures the starting rotation will see most of the minutes anyways, barring any foul trouble.)

 

WS/48: Estimate of wins contributed to per 48 minutes.
PER: A measure of per-minute production such that the league average is 15.
ORAT: Estimate of points produced per 100 possessions.
DRAT: Estimate of points allowed per 100 possessions.

 

2011-2012 CHARLOTTE BOBCATS

 

WS/48

PER

ORAT

DRAT

MULLENS

0.007

13

94

110

BIYOMBO

0.019

10.6

92

107

BROWN

0.076

14.7

110

111

HENDERSON

0.026

14

99

112

WALKER

0.009

14.9

96

111

         

SUM

0.137

67.2

491

551

AVERAGE

0.0274

13.44

98.2

110.2

 

2011-2012 KENTUCKY WILDCATS

 

WS/48

PER

ORAT

DRAT

DAVIS

0.125

19.8

107

103

JONES

0.092

15

104

105

KIDD-GILCHRIST

0.094

17

109

109

LAMB

-0.07

3.2

78

109

TEAGUE

-0.027

6.2

84

105

         

SUM

0.214

61.2

482

531

AVERAGE

0.0428

12.24

96.4

106.2

 

Kentucky takes the advantage in WS/48, while Charlotte has the edge in PER.  Call it a wash.  This leaves us with the Offensive and Defensive Ratings.  On average, the Wildcats give up 4 points less per 100 possessions. (DRAT).  This more than overcomes their negative 1.8 differential in ORAT, giving the Wildcats the advantage. 

 

While Charlotte boasts a well-balanced starting rotation with similar WS/48 and PERs, Kentucky features three superb players in Davis, Jones, and Kidd-Gilchrist (all at or above the league average in PER).  Look for this “Big 3” to carry the Wildcats while Lamb and Teague serve as complementary role players. 

 

Before the NBA season started, the Kentucky Wildcats were given no chance against the Charlotte Bobcats.  Experts, analysts, and oddsmakers all had the Wildcats losing, and losing big.   However, after looking at how the Kentucky draft picks have fared against NBA competition, this argument needs some revision.  

 

If these two teams did play, bet the house against Vegas and look for the 2011-2012 Bobcats to record their 60th loss.

 

Winner: Kentucky Wildcats