Friday , Apr , 06 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

Bobcats close to taking next step

(Sports Network) – On paper, it appears as if the Charlotte Bobcats have had
little success this season.

The club is currently 30-46 on the year, good for just fourth place in the
Southeast Division and 12th overall in the East. That puts them 11 1/2 games
off the pace of the division lead and 4 1/2 games out of a playoff spot.

However, while winning the division is impossible mathematically and claming a
playoff berth seems unlikely with just six games left to play, a further look
at the team’s season shows the Bobcats have indeed, taken a step forward.

Charlotte began play in 2004, and in its third NBA season has set new
franchise highs for wins in a season. The old mark was set last year at 26.
Along those lines, the Bobcats have also set franchise high in home (19) and
road wins (11).

Now, setting those marks in just the third year of existence might not seem
impressive to some. After all, Charlotte was just 18-64 in its inaugural
season in 2004-05, so it really had nowhere to go but up.

However, when you stack the Bobcats up against the NBA’s seven most recent
expansion clubs, it becomes easier to see how far ahead of the curve they are.

The Orlando Magic hold the best mark among the last eight new teams in their
third year at 31-51. Again, the Bobcats are 30-46 with six games left on their
schedule, so passing that mark seems likely.

In fact, the next three expansion clubs after Orlando, the Timberwolves,
Raptors and Grizzlies, failed to reach 20 wins in their third season, though
Toronto had 30 wins in its second year in the league.

So, with progress on its mind, Charlotte will just try to finish the season
strong. The club is coming off a home-and-home sweep of Washington and has
games against Indiana, Miami — a home-and-home series — Chicago, Milwaukee
and New York on the slate.