Charlotte Hornets GM Boldly Claims Team Is Playoff-Bound This Year

Mitch Kupchak really believes in his young core.

BYBen Mock
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The Charlotte Hornets have a fascinating history. They began life as the Charlotte Hornets in 1988 and were a fine, if uninspiring, team. The problem with setting up a basketball team in North Carolina is that college basketball is king. How is a pro team meant to compete for fans with blue bloods like Duke and UNC? The OG Hornets had some decent players like Dell Curry. However, they best they did was two trips to the second round of the playoffs. The team left for New Orleans in 2002. Basketball returned to the city two years later, with the Charlotte Bobcats joining the league in 2004. They were terrible, best remembered for their 7-59 recorded during the strike-shortened 2011-12 season. But In 2014, the New Orleans Hornets became the Pelicans and the Bobcats became the Hornets again.

The Hornets haven't reached the playoffs since 2015. The team essentially wasted the best years of Kemba Walker's career. They have also missed on a lot of draft picks. Sure LaMelo Ball is pretty good. But James Boutknight (#11, 2021)? How about trading Jalen Duren away? Sure, Mark Williams had a pretty good rookie year. However, this team has stumbled at every obstacle for years now. But their GM's optimism cannot be faulted.

Mitch Kupchak Proclaims Hornets Playoff Bound

Kupchak has been the GM in Charlotte since 2018. You might have forgotten this but this man's first-ever draft move for the Hornets was to draft Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and then trade him for Miles Bridges. SGA is coming off an all-star and All-NBA First Team season. Bridges is coming off a domestic violence policy suspension. Regardless, while speaking to the media earlier today, Kupchak said "I think we can be a playoff team this year."

Read More: Micheal Jordan sells the Hornets

Yes, the Hornets have a young exciting roster. LaMelo Ball and Brandon Miller are likely going to be a must-watch duo. However, this is a team that finished 14th in the East last year and won 27 games. A few things are going to have to happen for Kupchak, who may or may not be fighting for his job, to be right. Firstly, all their young talent is going to have to absolutely ball out with no margin for error. Secondly, they are going to have to avoid injuries like the plague. Thirdly, they are going to need multiple teams in the East to slip up. Maybe the Hornets can sniff around the Play-In. However, even that will hinge on teams like Detroit seeing their youth movement fail to live up to the hype.


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About The Author
Benjamin Mock (they/them) is a sports and culture writer working out of Philadelphia. Previously writing for the likes of Fixture, Dexerto, Fragster, and Jaxon, Ben has dedicated themselves to engaging and accessible articles about sports, esports, and internet culture. With a love for the weirder stories, you never quite know what to expect from their work.