The Sacramento Kings handily defeated the Portland Trail Blazers 120-80 on Wednesday and the franchise clinched a playoff spot for the first time in 16 years, putting an end to what was the association’s longest playoff drought.
While belated Kings fans chanted “Light the beam!’ inside the Moda Center, Hornets fans around the world began to come to a sad realization. Having been out of the playoffs since 2016, The longest playoff drought in the league now belongs to Charlotte.
While the Hornets have had one of the league’s top defenses since the All-Star break, this new NBA record brings about harsh memories of subpar draft day decisions and coaching woes for the Queen City.
While drafting LaMelo Ball was Michael Jordan’s redeeming draft day moment, Ball’s young career has been a roller coaster. His high-paced style and artistic playmaking abilities have helped Charlotte’s offense blossom, but long-lasting injuries have sidelined him for the majority of the last two seasons.
The skies are not completely gray for Hornets fans though. The rebuilding of the franchise is slowly but surely starting to work. Mark Williams ranks among the league’s top defensive rookies this season and young players like P.J. Washington are improving their games at a steady pace.
Despite a heap of injury issues and talks of the team potentially being sold by Michael Jordan, the Hornets are still finding a way to win games. Although these wins have pushed them out of the Wembenyama sweepstakes and into what I call “no man’s land”, it’s certainly nice to see the development of young players like Kai Jones and JT Thor play out over this stretch of the season.
The league’s longest dry spell may be in Charlotte for now, but the future still looks promising for a roster that may soon be able to send the drought elsewhere.