Are Hornets ready to change city’s woeful postseason history? That’s their 2020-21 seasonal goal

By Richard Walker

Local pro basketball fans certainly are aware of Charlotte’s woeful history.

Third-year forward Miles Bridges says he and his current Hornets want to to change that.

Bridges said as much in a Thursday zoom news conference with his answer to a question about whether or not Charlotte should expect to make the 2021 NBA playoffs as they prepare to start training camp on Friday:

“Definitely. We haven’t had a good organization for a long time. Let’s be honest about that. We want to change that.”

Bridges’ optimism is shared by those in the organization and by his teammates.

In fact, two of the team’s most veteran players – centers Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller – talked about their hopes for returning to their personal “good ol’ days” in their zoom news conferences.

The No. 7 overall pick in the 2011 draft who was acquired in a draft night trade with the Sacramento Kings, Biyombo’s rookie year came in NBA’s all-time worst finish of 7-59.

“I heard about the (2010) playoffs when I came here and I wanted to be a part of that,” Biyombo said of hearing about Charlotte’s 2010 postseason appearance that was its first since the franchise moved to New Orleans in 2002. “So, for me, it will be fulfulling for us to have a successful year.”

Biyombo did help the organization make the playoffs in 2014 before helping the Toronto Raptors to the 2016 Eastern finals.

Zeller helped the franchise into the playoffs in his rookie year of 2014 and again in 2016 when Charlotte lost a seven-game Eastern Conference first round series to the Miami Heat.

“I think that (the playoffs) is where we’re headed,” Zeller said. “It could be a little too early to say that. But when look at our team on paper, we should be in the mix.”

Charlotte’s postseason pro basketball history is historically bad.

How bad?

Only the Hornets, Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies organizations of the current 30 NBA teams have failed to advance to a conference final. Not surprisingly, each franchise has moved from one city to another:

… Charlotte left for New Orleans in 2002 before the expansion Bobcats (renamed Hornets in 2014) were born in 2004.
… The Clippers have actually moved twice, once from Buffalo to San Diego in 1978 and from San Diego to L.A. in 1984.
… The Grizzlies moved from Vancouver to Memphis in 2001.

Charlotte has advanced to the NBA playoffs 10 times in franchise history – seven times from 1993 to 2002 before moving to New Orleans and three times (2010, 2014 and 2016) since returning to the city.

The Hornets have 23 all-time playoff victories and have won only four postseason series, the last coming in 2002.

“We don’t want to be a team in the bottom of the East anymore,” Bridges said. “Everybody’s just thirsting to get out there and play basketball.”