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The Charlotte Hornets' past 48 hours have been pretty absurd from an outsider's perspective. The 2022 NBA draft was this past Thursday and, unfortunately, seemed like a rather lackluster performance by giving up the #13 pick for a late 1st rounder next year and four 2nd round picks. I'm happy with getting Mark Williams at the 15th spot, but it feels like they could have done so much more with both those picks instead of giving the 13th pick away for 2nd-round talent that will probably fill the Greensboro Swarm roster. But it wasn't the worst outcome, and they filled a spot that desperately needed help. I figured sometime next week; we would have heard Mike D'antoni would be hired as the head coach, according to many rumors on social media. We were finally ready to leap into expecting 50-win regular seasons and some playoff runs. Instead, we find out the Hornets just made the ludicrous move to hire Steve Clifford to replace recently fired James Borrego, who was hired back in 2018 to replace Steve Clifford in the first place. How else can any Hornets fan react to this other than just laugh at how comical this is or resort to alcoholism? Either way, the most essential currency (hope) in sports feels like it's 99% gone for this franchise.
Typically, when a new head coach is hired that wasn't my first choice, I would probably say, "I should probably give the guy a chance, we haven't seen what he can do yet, and maybe he'll surprise us," But the Hornets literally gave him that chance back in 2013, all the way to 2018 and he averaged a .477 winning percentage. It's not like his time with the Orlando Magic was all that much better either; yeah, he made the playoffs twice with them but got bounced out of the first round, only winning one game in both series. And the only other two times he made the playoffs were with the Hornets, and guess what, they got bounced out in the first round in both those series as well. I was under the belief that getting rid of Borrego was that they were going to find that next guy who could take Charlotte to that next competitive level of where the Celtics, Bucks, and 76ers are. But bringing back Steve Clifford feels like we're stuck in this infinite cycle of being that last team in or out of the playoffs and forever having #15 picks in the draft. You almost have to give a sliver of credit to the Hornets. They might not care how wildly bad this looks, or they're desperate and incompetent, which might be why the original coaches they interviewed saw the writing on the wall keeping a distance from this franchise.
The sad part about all this is it felt like the Charlotte Hornets were on the right trajectory. Yeah, they still had a ways to go. Still, with a generational talent like LeMelo Ball and some young star players Miles Bridges (Which as of June 25th, he deleted all the Hornets info to all his social media bio. So add that to this hellish offseason), James Bouknight, and now Brady Manek, and other players, they could potentially replicate what the Golden State Warriors did in the early 2010s. At this moment, it feels like they're about to repeat everything they did during that whole decade. The Hornets might as well make this whole thing as fun as possible and re-sign Kemba Walker, who just became a free agent and have some of those little flashes of the past. He might be worth having for the right price.
The only thing I'm holding out hope for was this commercial can still be a reality considering Charlotte wins the championship sometime around 2030 in this commercial at the 48 second mark (just ignore that it was the Bobcats, it's still Charlotte)
Maybe, not likely, but maybe, I’m wrong and Steve Clifford has the talent he always needed to get the Hornets where he envisioned them. But until then, don't expect many wins or any significant leaps forward; it'll be easier that way for you.