CHARLOTTE, N.C. (CHARLOTTE SPORTS LIVE) – It’s NBA All-Star Weekend, and there is no Hornet anywhere near Salt Lake City.
Not a single player made the All-Star team or has a part in the rising stars competition or All-Star Saturday night.
At 17-43, Charlotte has the second-worst record in the eastern conference. Yet general manager Mitch Kupchak insists things aren’t all gloom and doom.
“This is one of those years where you really can’t look at it and say, ‘well, this is who we are, so let’s plan accordingly,'” he said during a recent teleconference with the media. “I’m not sure this year really shows where this team is in its growth.”
While dismissing his comment is easy, a closer look indicates Kupchak is not entirely off. Just before the break, the Hornets picked up two big wins, one featuring the play of rookie Mark Williams’ young NBA career.
The development of Williams and the other young players will be something to keep an eye on down the season’s stretch, but that’s not the only thing to look out for.
While charlotte is short on wins, they’re not short on storylines.
Lamelo Ball, for instance, is eligible for a five-year extension that could be worth more than $200 million this offseason.
Then there’s still the question of where Miles Bridges fits in with the team after the league concludes its investigation into an offseason domestic violence incident.
“I don’t know when the investigation is going to end, but when the investigation ends, we’ll have more information, and we’ll go from there,” Kupchak said.
But without a doubt, the biggest question is how Charlotte proceeds after the All-Star Break: To tank or not to tank.
“We are looking at a lottery pick. What if we draft a player that’s a wing player?” Kupchak contemplated.
Or what if they draft the best big in the world in Victor Wembanyama?
“We’re in a good spot, but we are a small market team, and you’ve just got to look at the world a little differently,” Kupchak said.
Granted, there are no guarantees, but with a game-changing player up for grabs, Kupchak has every reason to be excited.