Charlotte Hornets still waiting for the good times


Having undoubtedly the greatest NBA star of all time as their franchise owner, fans of the Charlotte Hornets could be forgiven for expecting more from their favorite basketball team. Yet after ten years of Michael Jordan at the helm as owner, while the economic and sponsorship value of the franchise has continued to rise, fortunes on the court for the team have been less than impressive.

NBA attendance figures published by ESPN show that in mid-November, the Hornets ranked 27 out of the 30 teams, with 15,633 crowds on average and filling just 81.9 percent of capacity at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte. Only the Washington Wizards, Detroit Pistons and Minnesota Timberwolves, ranked lower in both attendance figures and percentage of venue capacity filled at games.

Such a fall in attendances is hardly surprising. The Hornets have made the postseason playoffs just three times in the last ten years, losing in the first round on each occasion. This season, even the most loyal fans have conceded that the current campaign is one of transition and rebuilding, highlighted by the latest NBA betting odds for the Hornets. The team is currently priced at +25000 for the Championship, +10000 for the Eastern Conference and +5000 for the Southeast Division.

Such odds reflect the Hornets having little to no chance of making the postseason playoffs, again. Largely this is down to losing some of their best players from last year’s roster, particularly in the shape of Kemba Walker, their marquee man who achieved some of his best career stats last season. Walker departed for the Boston Celtics and a bigger deal, while the Hornets also lost Jeremy Lamb to the Indiana Pacers, their second-leading scorer.

Rubbing salt into the wounds for fans already disappointed with the loss of their star man, after he’d spent eight seasons in Charlotte, the Hornets replaced Walker in a sign-and-trade with Terry Rozier from the Boston Celtics, handing the 25-year-old point guard a $58 million contract over three years.

According to reports published by NBC Sports, based upon the opinions of various NBA coaches and scouts, Rozier was considered the third-worst offseason move. That said, he is considered to be a player with good potential for the future, if he can produce the level of consistency required, such as his Player of the Game performance against the Grizzlies.

While the jury is still out on players like Rozier cutting over the course of a season, fans are still waiting for the good times to arrive with Jordan as franchise owner. Results so far have only increased the levels of frustration, amongst the faithful fans who still religiously attend games at the Spectrum Center. The results don’t lie and a 4-7 losing record from the opening 11 games is hardly impressive, however, the Hornets could still make the playoffs.

It might seem optimistic at best, especially on the back of a dismal run of defeats in November, yet the Hornets are still within touching distance of the playoff spots in the NBA Eastern Conference. Given how distinctly average other teams have been this season, after 11 games, several other teams have been just as inconsistent as the Hornets, who still have enough talented young players on the roster to capitalize.