In recent years, an article implying that the Charlotte Hornets have what it takes to be legitimate playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference would have been comical. Known around the league for their mediocrity, the Hornets have had a tough time putting the right pieces together to be successful.
You could put some of the blame on the fact that they operate in a smaller market and may not be the most appealing free-agent destination or that it’s due to the front office overpaying for average players and tying up their books for the future. You could even go as far as labeling some of their lottery picks within the last decade as “busts.”
But this team is just — different. You feel it when you watch them play. You see how much fun the team has sharing the court with one another. You hear the buzz around the league about the Hornets that hasn’t been there for as long as most of us can remember.
With the regular season winding down and the playoff race is getting tighter in the East, Charlotte is right in the mix. They have managed to position themselves right where they need to be as the play-in tournament looms. To overcome being plagued by injuries to key players and not slip too far in the standings is something to be proud of.
Barring any drastic changes, the Hornets will more than likely find themselves in the play-in tournament fighting to earn a spot in the playoffs. If they make it out of the tournament and into a seven-game series, they will have a chance of earning their first series win in 19 years. What does Charlotte need to happen in order to make it become a reality?