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How Long Until The Charlotte Hornets Are A Playoff Team?


The Charlotte Hornets may make the playoffs, but how long until they’re considered a real “playoff team?”

There’s no doubt that the Charlotte Hornets are not considered a playoff team at this point in time. They aren’t really discussed when big network analysts on ESPN discuss who will be heading deep in the playoffs and contending for the Finals. Even though they can certainly meet the requirements to make it in this year, there’s a lot of pieces missing in order for them to be considered a “playoff team.”

Teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, and Oklahoma City Thunder are all real playoff teams. When we hear these teams’ names, we automatically think of games deep in May and June. We think of their starting lineup contending deep in the fourth quarter in games six and seven. We think of the Conference Finals, and for some of these, we can even picture them in the league wide finals.

The Hornets? Absolutely not. It would be considered a miracle by most of us, to even think of the Hornets winning in the first round this year. Even the most optimistic of Hornets fans feel this way about the Hornets playoff chances.

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As far as Charlotte basketball goes, it’s been a rough ride. The regular season has been around for a while, but the postseason? It’s been extremely short-lived. The Hornets have not advanced in the playoffs since their reinstatement as the Charlotte Bobcats. The last time they moved on in the playoffs was when they were the Hornets in the 90s.

Now that they’re the Hornets again, of course, there’s a higher sense of pride from everyone who is a Charlotte basketball fan. Being the Hornets once again certainly brings a higher sense of pride. Being the Hornets again is huge, but they still have yet to prove themselves to the NBA.

So, just how long will it be until the Hornets are a playoff team? It’s going to be a few seasons. Next year, they have a shot, but it seems to be small.

Let’s look at one of the league’s best two players, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. They’re a dynamic duo on the Thunder, but how long did it take them to be a playoff team? Kevin Durant couldn’t do it on his own. It wasn’t until the Thunder drafted Russell Westbrook that they made their debut in the playoffs, and then, they were not a playoff team.

It wasn’t until Durant’s fourth season and Westbrook’s third, that they were really considered a playoff team. They lost in the conference finals to the Dallas Mavericks, but were quickly proving themselves to the NBA. The next year, they would make it all the way to the finals, but lose to the Miami Heat.

These runs required weapons. Westbrook, Durant, Serge Ibaka, and James Harden were all huge role players for the Thunder.

The point here, is that even one of the league’s highly regarded playoff teams, the Thunder, required a lot of weapons before they were considered a playoff team. These weapons are something the Hornets don’t currently have. They’re getting there, but certainly, they need some more.

The Hornets looked for a weapon in their pickup of Lance Stephenson, but his performance has been disappointing. Al Jefferson has been huge, but his age is a question of whether or not he can be considered a real weapon for the team.

Kemba Walker is the only sure weapon that the Hornets really have going into next season. The draft is the place where the Thunder got their biggest stars, so looking there is going to be huge for the Hornets. Free agency is also an option, but the uncertainty is an unsettling. Stephenson’s “bust year” makes Hornets fans want to stay away from the market. However, the Hornets may need to in order to become that playoff team.

They do have some young players who will be transitioning into real playoff weapons very soon. Cody Zeller is improving every year, and quickly becoming a star in the league. Gerald Henderson keeps proving himself to the team, and can be categorized as a regular season weapon. He just needs to keep things going in the playoffs. The Hornets’ youth looks promising, and may be able to turn the Hornets into a playoff team.