Should Hornets fans be rooting for losses?

New Orleans Hornets v Charlotte Bobcats
New Orleans Hornets v Charlotte Bobcats / Streeter Lecka/GettyImages

As Hornets fans get ready for the second half of the NBA season to get going, they find themselves in all too familiar territory. With 28 games remaining, the team is all but eliminated from playoff contention, and heading towards the draft lottery for the eighth season in a row.

The best path forward for Charlotte is to get the best draft pick possible, which would logically come with losing as many games as possible. But the team has actually played well their past few games and maybe even turned a corner.

So is it more important to stack up losses and shoot for the highest draft pick, or to build some positive momentum and winning culture in a lost season? This is the philosophical question facing Hornets fans entering the final months of the 2023-24 season.

The full answer is complex and nuanced but my short answer is for fans to follow their hearts. Hornets fans have been through a lot and experienced a lot of downs and low points. They’ve seen the team do poorly and end up near the top of the draft. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t.

These fans have also experienced a lot of losing. So much so that nobody could blame a fan for wanting to see the team win a few games. Even if it ultimately hurts the draft pick by a spot or two, that may be a small price to pay for the joy of victory.

Also, building winning habits and a winning culture could be far more important than whatever player is drafted to the team in the 2024 draft. This franchise needed a makeover and hopefully, that’s what they got at the deadline. The early returns have been promising, but if the team can keep playing like this, winning with defense, hustle, and effort, that would be a huge boon for the future.

Those are the kinds of things that can carry over to the future and help the team gain momentum going into next year and beyond. That could alter the entire course of the franchise and no fan should feel the least bit guilty about rooting for that to happen.

Beyond that, the lottery odds have been flattened in recent years and it’s less advantageous than ever to be worse. The difference in odds for the first pick from having the worst record in the league to the sixth worst record is only 5%. And again, it all comes down to pulling out ping-pong balls - there is no guarantee of anything.

So live in the moment, go for victory, and play to win the games. Chances are, even going full boor, the Hornets will likely finish in the bottom 5 or so and end up with a good draft pick. And if the basketball gods exist, they will reward teams that don’t tank and play hard no matter what. If the Hornets can have karma on their side too for a change, why not?