Charlotte Hornets: The possibility of tanking into 2020

Charlotte Hornets James Borrego (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets James Borrego (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

As the Charlotte Hornets push closer to the end of the season, what can we expect from the often defeated and depleted Hornets squad in the future?

The Charlotte Hornets, at the peak of their great play, reached fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Riding the hot hand and excelling with our own three-time All Star guard Kemba Walker, Charlotte was solely in control of their destiny and even looked like a possible threat to break the curse of never getting past the first round.

Yet, the buzz quickly faded and the hot Hornets team that burst on the scene resembled the Hornets of late.

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While Walker continues to break franchise records and pour in multiple 20-point nights, the team has fallen to 10th place in the East. The disappointment of a losing record combined with the possible departure the franchise’s best player equal to a highly miserable fan base who has already seen years of failure and mediocrity.

Add in the salary cap hell that the team recently endures and the added frustration is enough to cripple the hope of an already damaged franchise. Yet, with the Hornets, one sliver of hope remains.

The present ceiling for the team has been reached. Walker has made three All Star appearances while giving his all and shouldering a heavier load than most NBA stars, and much can be said for or against the New York native to return, but the rest of the team has vastly underperformed.

With the exception of Jeremy Lamb and Miles Bridges, the Hornets are a team destined for failure. High priced contracts and subpar play have marred the team for what seems like a decade, and the message to fans has been that the team is capable of holding off a rebuild and contending for the playoffs.

Year after year after year.

Now, the team has begun to unravel, and years of questionable decisions have made the unfortunate team almost completely powerless.

Want a summarization of how bad the team has been? The Charlotte Hornets have lost to EVERY team in the Eastern Conference. More specifically, the team has lost to the Washington Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, AND the New York Knicks. All teams currently standing below them in the NBA rankings.

So, what does a team that can’t win against the elite and splits games against the bottom end do? The team can’t seem to trade players without losing too many future assets (first round picks, Malik Monk, and Miles Bridges), so the only option for a team strapped for cash and no help in sight is to pack up all playoff dreams and tank for the future.

Walker could go either way, and with his records and success in Charlotte, no one could fault him for whichever decision he has made.

Lamb has improved and become a great player in his own right and Miles Bridges is the future of the franchise, yet beyond the 3 men is only uncertainty. Even Monk, who was once a prized high draft pick has seemed to fizzle out and has been subsequently removed from the lineup most nights.

Hot. Andre Drummond should be an offseason target. light

The rest of the roster has constantly underperformed, so why not cut bait and start new? Should we? Can we? Tanking into 2020 is a definite possibility.