3 biggest disappointments of Hornets' season to this point

Washington Wizards v Charlotte Hornets
Washington Wizards v Charlotte Hornets / Jared C. Tilton/GettyImages
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Despite the fact that the Hornets are rolling into the All-Star break on a heater, and have pretty much looked like a modern-day ‘Dream Team’ over their last three games, it’s safe to say the first half of the season has been a disappointment. Frankly, that’s putting it mildly.

The Hornets were deluding themselves and some fans into thinking this was a playoff team. Or at the very least, a team that would at the very least be competing for a play-in spot. This was not supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league or a team that was all but out of the playoff picture before Christmas.

So to say this season has been underwhelming so far would be a massive understatement. Furthermore, the recent, albeit brief run of good play has been a direct result of the owners deciding to blow up the team and go for a complete teardown and rebuild.

This, the team we now have, that has gone 3-0 is just what was leftover and was supposed to be a bad team that’s going through an overhaul. And yet they look miles better than the team ever did, even with the three players who were traded away, traded in theory, to make the team worse in the present, but better in the future.

So how did we get here? Where did it go so wrong? There were many contributing factors to the Hornets' 13-41 start to the season, a plethora of reasons why the team sits in 13th place in the Eastern Conference. But these have been the three biggest disappointments in the Hornets 2023-24 season thus far.

Effort and energy

Easily one of the most disappointing things about the Hornets this season is the way they looked on the floor. Too often the team just didn’t look like they were locked in and focused on winning. I know it’s a long season, and as the team goes south it can be easier to let down. But for this to be the case seemingly right out of the gate was brutal.

I’m not calling out any players specifically, but just look at how the team played for the first 51 games of the season, then look how they’ve played in the last three. The difference is jarring, and that it required gutting the team to see this much energy, effort, and enthusiasm is kind of pathetic.

Steve Clifford was brought in to coach defense, and there were almost no signs of it at any point this season until recently. I don’t think Cliff suddenly forgot how to coach so I’m going to pin this one mostly on the players, and generally it starts with veterans and trickles down.

Before the trade deadline, this was a very immature team and it showed on the floor. There needed to be connectivity, they never seemed to be playing as a unit. There were mental breakdowns left and right, and it looked like guys didn’t care at times.

It’s just disheartening to watch the Hornets every night and be forced to come away from the games wondering why they can’t at least win the 50/50 balls, outhustle the other teams, and control the things they can control. As a fan, this was extremely disappointing, especially when the players should have been fired up to prove to the league they were a playoff-caliber team.