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Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets still seeking first playoff win

Apr 30, 2014, 4:33 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Charlotte Bobcats - Game Four Getty Images

In 2010, the Charlotte Bobcats were excited just to make the playoffs.

The Bobcats started as an expansion team in 2004-05, and it took six years just to reach the postseason. There, they were swept by the Orlando Magic.

“They know how to play playoff basketball,” then-Bobcats coach Larry Brown said. “We haven’t figured it out yet.”

The Bobcats still haven’t figured it out.

Tonight could have been Game 5 of the Bobcats-Heat series. Instead, Charlotte was swept by the Heat, dropping its playoff record to 0-8.

The Bobcats will change their name and try again next season as the Hornets for that playoff victory. But even if it comes that soon, it would be 11 years since the franchise’s inception.

Of course, the NBA’s size and playoff structure has changed, and it’s arguably harder now than ever to win a postseason game.

How does Charlotte’s 10-plus-year wait compare historically?


Franchise First season First playoff win Years until first playoff win
ATL 1950 1950 1
DEN 1977 1977 1
GSW 1947 1947 1
LAL 1949 1949 1
NYK 1947 1947 1
PHI 1950 1950 1
SAC 1949 1949 1
BOS 1947 1948 2
CHI 1967 1968 2
DET 1949 1950 2
HOU 1968 1969 2
MIL 1969 1970 2
PHO 1969 1970 2
SAS 1977 1978 2
DAL 1981 1984 4
LAC 1971 1974 4
WAS 1962 1965 4
NOP 1989 1993 5
CLE 1971 1976 6
MIA 1989 1994 6
ORL 1990 1995 6
TOR 1996 2001 6
POR 1971 1977 7
BRK 1977 1984 8
OKC 1968 1975 8
MIN 1990 1998 9
CHA 2005 2014 10+
UTA 1975 1984 10
IND 1977 1987 11
MEM 1996 2011 16

If the Hornets win a playoff game next year, they’d tie the Pacers for the second-longest wait for a franchise’s first playoff win (11 seasons). If it takes any longer, there’d be only one more franchise that took longer.

At least the Grizzlies, who needed 16 years, give Charlotte a little buffer.

  1. ihavenonickname - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    most interesting part of that list: if you look at the bottom 10 teams, how many championships have been won between them? I believe its just 1 from the blazers.

    I guess its a pretty significant list actually

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:37 PM

      Well, Miami has a couple as well, they are tied with the 9th and 10th team listed. But yeah, most of the championships are won by the teams at the top.

  2. ranfan12 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:45 PM

    It’s a shame, because it looked like they had at least 1 win coming with a healthy al jefferson.

    • antistratfordian - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:23 PM

      Did it? The Bobcats had lost 16 consecutive games to the Heat before the series started. I don’t think that was going to change.

      • ranfan12 - May 1, 2014 at 12:42 AM

        thats a good point, but i’ve seen stranger things happen in the playoffs

  3. cantonb0und13 - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:10 PM

    Off topic but…

    Why do people continue to love Durant sooooo much??? I don’t know understand why everyone has a man crush for Durant… He been awful for TWO STRAIGHT POSTSEASON! He admitted that T. Allen is getting into his head… Really “MVP” honestly can’t stand Durant. This dude had bunch of talent since day one of his career. Stop making excuses.

    • void96eater - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:14 PM

      Just you wait. The pressure will start to mount on him as he gets to his late-20s.

  4. gmsalpha - May 1, 2014 at 10:38 AM

    All it takes is one or two fortunate bounces of the lottery ping pong balls and with the right selections, a team can shoot to the top. I’ll always think of the Spurs the year Tim Duncan was available. He’s been their rock ever since, and San Antonio didn’t even have all that good a chance at the #1 pick that year. Had they not gotten Duncan, they’d almost certainly have zero championships.

    It doesn’t take a lot. But you have to get a little lucky, and find not only a fantastic player, but one who is perfectly fine playing for a small market team his entire career in a place like San Antonio.

  5. katra2logic - May 1, 2014 at 12:29 PM

    Most of the teams which took longer to win their first playoff game came into the league much later. They started out with a weaker core and had more teams to pass over even to make the playoffs than the teams who were in the league pre-expansion days. Too bad the author does not take into account logic and meaningful statistical analysis, he might be actually saying something then…

    • Dan Feldman - May 1, 2014 at 12:37 PM

      “Of course, the NBA’s size and playoff structure has changed, and it’s arguably harder now than ever to win a postseason game.”

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