Mistakes happen. We sleep in a little too late or we forget to do a project. But for us, mistakes are simply, just that – mistakes. For the thirty NBA teams, mistakes cost them, potentially, tens of millions of dollars, a playoff appearance, or even a championship. They have been riddled throughout history. It can be draft picks (Blazers fans know what this is like), it can be free agency (can I get an amen from Knicks fans?), or it can be virtually anything else (in the case of the Kings, EVERYTHING ELSE). Thus, we present the worst mistakes from each NBA team over the past ten years.
The Charlotte Hornets Biggest Mistake in the Past Ten Years
Over the past years, the Charlotte franchise gained Michael Jordan as an owner, has had eight lottery picks, ten first round picks, and three picks within the top five. But, what haven’t they had? An All-Star player.
2007 NBA Draft
In 2007, Charlotte missed out on Joakim Noah by one pick. Their pick, Brandan Wright, never played for the then Bobcats as he was acquired by Golden State on draft day in a trade for Jason Richardson. He has been on six teams since being drafted and is currently a member of the Memphis Grizzlies. The pick for Charlotte made sense at the time, as Wright played his college basketball at the University of North Carolina.
2008 NBA Draft
Fast forward to 2008, when head coach Larry Brown urged the team to draft D.J. Augustin instead of Brook Lopez. Augustin lasted until 2012 but made no major impact, while Lopez has proven to be a well-rounded center for the Brooklyn Nets. Augustin has since been on eight teams and will play with the Orlando Magic this upcoming season. Their next pick in the 2008 Draft was Alexis Ajinca. Who came after him in the draft? Courtney Lee, Serge Ibaka, and now Charlotte Hornet Nicolas Batum. Ajinca played only 37 games for the team before being traded. Ibaka starred on Oklahoma City and now is with the Orlando Magic. Lee has made a stop in a Hornets uniform and a run in the 2015-2016 playoffs alongside Batum.
2011 NBA Draft
In 2011, with the seventh overall pick Jordan and his team chose Bismack Biyombo. They knew it was a big risk, but they took it anyways. Biyombo didn’t do much for the team and is now with the Magic. He did help the Toronto Raptors make it to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time during the 2015-2016 season. But when they made their selection, All-Star and NBA champion Klay Thompson was still on the board. Later in the draft, they took Kemba Walker at ninth with Thompson still on the board as well. Walker has worked out better than Biyombo, as he helped them reach the playoffs this season with an average of 20.9 points per game.
2012 NBA Draft
In 2012 Charlotte selected Michael Kidd-Gilchrist second overall. He wasn’t a bad pick and still plays for the team, averaging 9.1 points per game in his career. However this season he was limited to just seven games due to a separated shoulder. The players still on the board at the time were Bradley Beal, Dion Waiters, Damian Lillard, and Harrison Barnes. Barnes has a championship under his belt now from his seasons with the Warriors. Lillard is an All-Star with playoff experience now as well. Maybe this wouldn’t be such a disappointment if Kidd-Gilchrist hasn’t been injured as much as he has. Beal has had success in Washington with a trip to the playoffs in 2014-2015.
The Past Few Years
The past few years have been a little better with players like Cody Zeller in 2013 and Frank Kaminsky III in 2015. Zeller has averaged 7.4 ppg over three seasons while making way to start 60 of the 73 games he played in 2015-2016. Kaminsky came in after his second trip to the NCAA Championship game and played in 81 games this season. He averaged 7.5 ppg and 4.1 rpg. But, there is still plenty of room to improve.
The Hornets don’t necessarily have one glaring mistake that has caused doom for the franchise. Instead, they have had a series of missed opportunities with high lottery picks, which has led to plenty of losing seasons in the Queen City over the past decade.
Be sure to stick with us the next few weeks as the Last Word on Sports basketball department analyzes the biggest mistake of every NBA franchise from the past ten years.
Oct 23, 2014; Charlotte, NC, USA; Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) during the first half of the game against the Indiana Pacers at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports