Hornets struggling, but hey, could be worse

Christopher Kreider

The Charlotte Hornets have dropped four straight and are limping into the All-Star Break with one victory over their last eleven. Somehow the Hornets have managed to fall from the mid-tier class of the Eastern Conference to the lottery’s basement-dweller class in a matter of weeks.

Let’s pile on, shall we?

The professional basketball team from Charlotte – a title quite unfit for their recent performance – has won a mere five games since calendars flipped to 2017, and hasn’t secured a win on the road since a visit to Mickey Mouse’s hometown almost two months ago. A win versus the Orlando Magic isn’t really something to brag about, though. Road wins should only count when they are against teams that aren’t run by bungling general managers who are giving away talented rim protectors like charity donations. What a sad, sad state of affairs at the Spectrum Center.

This weekend is All-Star Weekend, however, and that’s no time for gloominess or negativity. This is a time to celebrate! Sure the Hornets only win one meaningful road game per fiscal quarter these days. Sure the Hornets are only a couple games ahead of teams in the East that are likely trying to lose (see: Magic, Orlando; Sixers, Philadelphia). Sure they are paying Nic Batum more cash than guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson… well, you get the point.

But Hornets fans must look at the glass as half full. Despite the lackluster performance of late, all is not lost! Here are a few reasons to stay positive heading into the back half of this disappointing season.

  1. They aren’t the Knicks. As questionable as Rich Cho’s personnel decisions can seem, they don’t compare to the circus that owner, James Dolan and President and GM, Phil Jackson have orchestrated in Manhattan. Passive aggressive Twitter comments are commonplace in the Phil Jackson School of Management, including this gem where the "Zen Master" is indirectly referencing Carmelo Anthony. Meanwhile, Dolan let his arena security team handle his dirty work when recently removing Kickerbocker legend,Charles Oakley, from the Garden in chaotic fashion. Stay classy, Knicks.
  2. They aren’t the Magic, who traded Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the 11th overall pick for Serge Ibaka last summer, the latter of which was recently traded for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first round pick (a pick that will inevitably be later than 11th in this year’s first round). So let’s summarize: a talented shooting guard, Ilyasova and a first rounder for a less-talented shooting guard and worse draft pick. NAILED IT! Five years after Dwight Howard’s departure, the "Dwightmare" continues in Orlando.
  3. By missing the playoffs, Charlotte can avoid the inevitable throttling they’d take in the first round had they squeaked into the 8th seed. There’s no such thing as moral victories in the NBA, so I’m not one to celebrate making the postseason merely to get dusted in 4 games. If the Hornets make a late push and somehow slip into the playoffs, it’ll likely be a pretty low seed – one that could potentially pit them against the world champion Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hornets would be better served to start their offseason with a higher draft pick, rather than scraping their dismembered limbs off of the Quicken Loans Arena floor in downtown Cleveland. This team is not close to contending, so the focus should remain on building for the future. Missing the playoffs this year will actually enable the Hornets to do just that.
  4. The last time the Hornets had an All-Star they were called the Bobcats. Kemba Walker is the first player to represent Charlotte at the NBA’s midseason classic since Gerald Wallace in 2010. It’s a well-deserved honor for the former University of Connecticut Husky, who has posted career highs in virtually every shooting statistic this year. The Hornets’ floor general will get to show off his improved shooting touch in the JBL Three-Point Contest on Saturday night, where he’ll look to take down defending champion Klay Thompson and his perfectly-manicured goatee.


Christopher Kreider | @krydr1