Ranking the 10 championship-less NBA teams by closeness to title

Kevin Durant #35 celebrates with Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns, title (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)
Kevin Durant #35 celebrates with Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns, title (Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) /
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LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets
LaMelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets – Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

. . Charlotte Hornets. 10. team. 170.

The Charlotte Hornets are a franchise in great flux. After their revival as the Bobcats in 2004, the team has seen many of its biggest draft picks go bust and just last week saw Michael Jordan exit as owner, leaving questions about the direction of the Hornets.

Not only has Charlotte never won a title, they haven’t even come particularly close in the last two decades of play. The team has only made the playoffs three times since their return and won a grand total of three games across those three series.

Just because the Hornets are the furthest team from the promised land doesn’t mean the cupboard is entirely bare. For starters, the team had the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft this week, which they used on Brandon Miller.

They also have one of the most exciting players in the NBA in LaMelo Ball, who is living up to expectations. He fractured his ankle this season and only played in 36 games, but when he’s on the court, he’s dynamite.

Outside of Ball and the pick of Miller, it’s not clear what the building blocks are in Charlotte. There are some young players who have intriguing upside, like PJ Washington, but whether or not they can actually be starters or leaders on a championship-caliber team remains unclear.

Charlotte also doesn’t seem to be a destination drawing a lot of interest from free agents. Some of the biggest paydays issued by the Hornets have gone to players that seemed like good gets at the time, but ultimately didn’t pan out for whatever reason (see: Hayward, Gordon).

Charlotte appears poised to spend the next few years trapped in mediocrity, perhaps making a trip or two to the playoffs, but with little to show for it. If the Hornets can nail a few more draft decisions, however, they can get this train back on the track.