Charlotte Hornets: Epitome of the NBA’s Mediocrity Struggle


ESPN’s, Zach Lowe, recently released an article entitled “Good Charlotte? The Hornets and the Sliding Scale of NBA Mediocrity.” He made points about how the Hornets are basically stuck in their position of contending for a low seed in the playoffs and continually getting the draft picks in the middle of the first round. The team can not attract major free agents and are left to target “B-level” free agents to sign with their team.

It is a tough position to be stuck in and many teams in the NBA have the same problem as the Charlotte Hornets. It is not just the Hornets that are stuck in this spot.

With the release of Lowe’s article, many Charlotte Hornets website’s and fans had their opinions on the matter. Some took shots at Lowe for how he singled out and “attacked” Charlotte. But many agreed with the ESPN writer. Many became more enraged with the Hornets organization and blew off their built up steam on owner, Michael Jordan, and GM, Rich Cho. After many difficult seasons in Charlotte and the team not showing much improvement or having young star players to build on. Fans have become tired of the Charlotte Hornets constant mediocrity.

Now do fans have every right to be upset at Michael Jordan, Rich Cho, and the Charlotte organization?

Of course they do. Fans are allowed to feel whatever way they want to about any team that they want.

Zach Lowe’s piece garnered a good amount of attention from basketball fans alike and a lot of people had their opinions. And since I am in a position where I can give my opinion, I feel inclined to do so.

First off, let’s start with what teams can actually compete for a championship in the NBA. In my opinion, only teams with at least one superstar can win a championship. So if you do not have a LeBron, Durant, CP3, Harden, Curry, or even an older superstar in Duncan, you are not going to be able to successfully compete for a title. So that means that more than half of the NBA will probably not win a championship in any given season.

If this is so, then why don’t all teams just tank, become very noncompetitive, sign a bunch of D-League players until they get a star player through the draft as the Philadelphia 76ers have done?

The NBA could have 15 teams that are tanking at the same time. Not that this route always works. It has for the Oklahoma City Thunder but it could fail, maybe as it has, or could, in Charlotte.

More from Swarm and Sting

But not every team without a superstar or two could tank. Teams must remain competitive in the NBA. And if your team is not completive each season then your ticket sales will probably dip and you may lose fans. The 76ers ticket sales have gone down. Lakers ticket sales have gone down with Kobe Bryant going down with injury.

So what is a small market team like Charlotte to do?

It is easy to say that tanking is the way to go but would fans really be happy with that?

Everyone wants their team to at least be remotely competitive. And that is what the Hornets are trying to do. They sign, trade, or draft the best players that will help them to at least remain relevant and competitive in the NBA. Now will they or any team ever win a championship by doing this? Probably not. But If you’re not in the top 5-7 teams in the NBA then you aren’t very likely to win.

Now the Hornets have tried to build through the draft and put together a contender. But with failed top picks like Michael Kidd-Gilchrest, Cody Zeller, and Noah Vonleh. Vonleh was a fail because he was traded. Zeller doesn’t look to be a star in the making and the team seems to think so too because they felt the need to take big men in the past two drafts.

More from Hornets News

I don’t want to rule out Frank Kaminsky yet because he has yet to play a game in the NBA but in my opinion he will not be a superstar in this league. He could be a quality player in this league for many years but I just do not se him as a superstar. And by missing on many of these recent top draft picks, the Hornets could be set back years in their plan to compete for a title.

So what should a team that is in Charlotte’s position do? Do they continue to remain competitive enough to make the playoffs but not compete for a title? Do they tank in the hopes of getting a top 5 pick and drafting a future star?

It is hard to say what teams should do that are stuck in the position of being a middle of the pack team with continued mediocrity for years.

The best move for a small market team is to probably tank and see if you can hit on a top draft pick. But you can’t have half of the NBA trying to do that. Michael Jordan and the Charlotte organization have chosen their path. Now they are stuck. It may take years for them to get out of where they are and once again try to rebuild.

In my opinion Charlotte is merely doing what any team should do that is in their position. Try their best to remain competitive. Compete for a playoff spot and try to build off of the team that you have through mid round draft picks and B-level free agents.