The Five Stages of Grief as a Charlotte Hornets fan

Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets
Brandon Miller, Charlotte Hornets / David Jensen/GettyImages
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Stage 1: Denial

The Charlotte Hornets open the season with a 3-5 record.

We begin our journey on October 25th - opening night in the Spectrum Center. Spirits were high following an impressive win against the Atlanta Hawks. P.J. Washington led the team with 25 points, Terry Rozier added 24, and the Hornets held Trae Young to 4/19 shooting. Toppling a division rival in the season opener is always a step in the right direction. The Charlotte Hornets were 1-0.

Narrator: "This would be the only time during the entire season that the Hornets had a record above .500."

The following seven games showcased a myriad of red flags that would continue to haunt this squad throughout the year. The number one issue for the Charlotte Hornets through this early season stretch was a lack of defensive identity. Following their victory over Atlanta, the Hornets lost by double digits at home to a less-than-stellar Pistons team. Over their next five games, Charlotte allowed 124 points or more to every opponent, losing four times to teams currently out of the playoff picture.

Cue the excuses. "The team isn't fully healthy!" True. "Miles Bridges will be back next week!" Also true. "It's only been eight games." Okay, fine. 3-5 isn't the worst thing in the world. Let's chalk it up to a slow start and turn a blind eye to the underlying issues that were clearly evident in each game. There's nothing like a seven-point win against the Wizards to wash that bad taste out of your mouth!

This is the first stage of grief: denial. The Hornets have to be better than this. They returned five of their top players from a 43-39 season two years ago, found a legitimate starting center, and added the #2 overall pick to the team. Most Hornets fans refused to believe this team could find themselves near the bottom of the standings again. Through eight games, Charlotte supporters ignored the warning signs and clung to a false, preferable reality that this team would fight for a playoff spot in the spring.