As the NBA is wrapping up the regular season, fans can only wonder how the Charlotte Hornets would’ve performed.
Watching the return of NBA Basketball has been fantastic, and the NBA should be applauded for their approach so far, as news filters, through that players continue to remain COVID-19 free whilst in Orlando. However, one of the more hypothetical stories I cannot shake however, is how the Charlotte Hornets would have fared in the Bubble?
It has been interesting to watch new storylines develop throughout the first handful of meaningful games, which all may or may not have occurred without these artificial conditions. The emergence of Michael Porter Junior and TJ Warren, the fight for the 8th seed in the west, the return of Jamal Crawford, and the resurgence of Carmelo Anthony, to name a few.
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The fight for the 8th seed in the East is a little less competitive than that of the West. Only three teams are fighting for that spot realistically, The Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, and the 9th place Washington Wizards with two of the three getting a spot.
The Wizards have lost key pieces through injuries, and at times the average fan may be forgiven for not knowing many if any of the Wizards line up. Sadly any fight for the 8th seed from Washington seems to have faded away, but the question of how the Hornets would have competed is an interesting one.
The Hornets at the time of lockdown were playing some pretty good basketball. Chemistry was growing, and the players were bought into Coach Borrego’s system, and things appeared to be trending upwards.
That’s not to say, at times, the Hornets didn’t look misplaced, disjointed, and the young team that they are, but there were flickers of a bright future. Fast forward to the Bubble, and I believe that the Hornets would have given a better account in the bubble than that of the Wizards and, as such, perhaps made the Nets or Magic sweat for 8th a little more than they are currently doing.
Pair that with the fact that Brooklyn hasn’t exactly taken a full-strength squad down to the bubble themselves, and you have the makings of a potential playoff push for the Purple and Teal.
Teams that have thrived so far in the bubble have been younger ones. That could be time to get their legs back, youthful energy, or just the thrill of hooping again, young teams looking ready.
Just a few nights ago, the surging Phoenix Suns pulled off a huge win over the clippers and are looking as good as any of the teams in the west and currently remain undefeated in seeding play.
When you think about that Hornets core all desperate to play, being relatively healthy and full of ambition, it would have been exciting to have seen if the Hornets would have been better placed than Washington to compete?
Being level headed, I am not suggesting the Hornets would have gone 8 and 0 in seeding games, but when you really think about it, would the Hornets have made it interesting? I certainly think so.