Reason to have hope for the Charlotte Hornets

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 16: Dwight Howard
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 16: Dwight Howard /

Despite not having the start to their season that they were hoping for, there is still some hope for the Charlotte Hornets.

30 games into the season the Charlotte Hornets sit at 11-19. According to, the Hornets have just a 27% chance of making the playoffs.

Needless to say, it’s been a very disappointing season thus far. Before the season started, they were projected with an 84% chance to make the playoffs. Hope now seems bleak. The team’s recent win over the Porzingis-less Knicks is NOT a reason to have hope. Beating the Knicks by 18, at home, against them without their clear-cut best player should happen. It’s a good sign that the team seemed to be clicking on all cylinders, but let’s not over exaggerate.

It seems the vast majority of Hornets fans would like the team tank this season for a high draft pick. And to that I say, I don’t blame you. Aside from Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard, the team isn’t playing particularly well. Even with those two, neither of them are playing their best basketball. Tanking certainly seems like the best option. However, for any fans out there that have any amount of hope left for this team, I will tell you the reason to keep your hopes alive, at least for now.  

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Although the team has lost 13 straight one-possession games, many of those that they should have won, their poor record shouldn’t be entirely unexpected. The Hornets currently rank 4th in opponents win % at .524. They’re currently only behind Indiana, Memphis, and Philadelphia in this category.                                                                                                                                                                 

To add to their already difficult schedule so far, their next five games get no easier. In their last five games before New Year’s Eve, the Hornets face off with Toronto, Milwaukee twice, Boston, and Golden State.  That’s a combined win % of .680.

IF the team can get through this next difficult stretch by winning two of the games, then, here’s where the hope arises.

In their 18 games following that stretch, starting on New Year’s Eve against the Clippers, their schedule gets significantly easier. So much easier in fact, that during those 18 games their combined opponent win % is just under .400.

Even beyond those 18 games, their remaining 47 games will be much easier on them. They will have already played Houston, Golden State, San Antonio, and Minnesota twice. Those are the top four teams in the West, that the team won’t have to face down the stretch.  

The Hornets will have already played their four games against Milwaukee. They also will only have to play one more game against Boston and Cleveland each. This means many more games against bottom-feeders lie ahead.

Out of the eight possible games, the Hornets could have against the bottom four teams in the West, seven of them will have yet to be played. The Hornets still get to play the Nets and the Hawks three times. While the Nets technically have the better record currently, nobody is going to argue that they’re the better team. Regardless of it’s a home or away game, the Hornets should beat that team.

For all the reasons to be positive, there are still reasons to be negative. The Hornets still don’t actually have a backup point guard it seems. For a couple games, MCW seemed that he would at least be playable and hold down the fort with Kemba off the floor. Clearly, I was wrong. MCW shows flashes of great defensive play, but offensively he’s been abysmal.

On the other the end of the spectrum, the team’s other option at point guard can’t play defense. I’m talking about rookie Malik Monk. He’s shown he’s not ready to play defense at an NBA level, while also still having a questionable shot selection. However, one way for him to get better is with experience, so playing him so little could hurt his development.

Whichever option the Hornets go with, it’s unlikely they’ll get consistent production from both ends of the floor this year. If it was up to me, I’d go with the rookie that has shown he can score when he’s hot. It’s also worth noting that Monk may be more comfortable at the two anyways.  

Beyond the point guard situation, it also seems that the Hornets are stuck with the injury bug this season. Batum’s elbow may still be bothering him. Kemba has accumulated a few minor injuries throughout the season so far. Perhaps the best backup center in the league is out for several more weeks. It’s hasn’t hit the team as hard as it could have, but it’s definitely contributed towards their lack of success to an extent.

So back to the main point, yes there is hope. Very slim hope, but hope nonetheless. If the Hornets game gets through this five-game stretch coming up without completely falling apart, who knows what could happen. There are teams in the Eastern Conference that are bound to regress.  Potentially the Pacers, but specifically the Pistons I’d expect to cool off a little from their hot start.

Kemba and Dwight both may end up being All-Stars, it’s only a matter of time (hopefully) until a team with two All-Stars can string together some wins. All those tight losses? The odds are in the Hornets favor to turn it around eventually. Among those few reasons to hope, the team’s schedule should, above all else, be your reason to believe.

If you still think tanking is the Hornets best option, I still don’t blame you. Logically speaking it IS the smartest option. But for some fans, they just want to see this team in the playoffs. To see what they can do. For anybody like that, you should still have some hope for this team.

Next: Dwight Howard is exactly what Charlotte needed

A lot of that hope, however, hangs upon this tough five-game stretch approaching. If the team drops all five and morale comes crashing to the floor, it’s over. If they can hang their heads high after these games, they may very well run through the weaker half of their schedule.