Charlotte Hornets fans had roughly a minute, (or the time it takes Dominic Toretto to complete a mile-long drag race) to allow daydreams of Victor Wembanyama in a Hornets uniform to dance in their heads. Their hopes were furiously dashed when it was announced the Hornets had the second pick and not the first.
The reaction from Hornets’ fans would’ve indicated that they had been left out of the top 10 altogether. While it wasn’t the number one pick that fans wanted, the Hornets were statistically supposed to pick fourth. The lottery might not have been an unqualified success, but it certainly wasn’t a failure (word to Giannis Antetokounmpo). So why the mass melancholy?
It’s history. There’s a certain feeling of “almost” that has haunted this franchise’s NBA draft history. Sure, the team has drafted three different Rookie-of-the-Year award winners. And the best player in franchise history, Kemba Walker, was the Bobcats’ ninth selection in the 2011 NBA draft.
But the franchise’s draft history hasn’t always been so rosy. There was the painful, like Kobe Bryant’s decision to not only refuse to play for the franchise but then blame it for not wanting him. There was the inexplicable, like Alexis Ajinca selection in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft. And then, there was…2006.
But there has been one more recurring theme for the Charlotte Hornets that their fans have had to live through on draft night, the unexpected curse of the number two pick.
Yes, that sounds like an extremely first-world problem. If a team gets the second pick, only one other squad has a more valuable asset. But the problem isn’t with having the second pick, it’s with having the second pick when only the first one really matters.
A list of the heartbreaking number two overall picks for the Charlotte franchise in the NBA draft.