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Swarm Update: Has Greensboro Fulfilled Its Purpose This Season?

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The Greensboro Swarm were founded to support the Charlotte Hornets. Have they followed through?

NBA: Indiana Pacers at Charlotte Hornets Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

The Greensboro Swarm are not going to make the playoffs this season, but no one expected them to in their inaugural season. What the team’s management hoped for was steady progress from day one, and a mechanism to assist the parent Charlotte club’s quest for success.

The team has objectively done so, although the degree to which they met that goal is hard to quantify.

For the former, the Swarm are playing better basketball now than they did at the beginning of the season. Despite frequent roster turnover, the team has improved in the system and are able to hang with almost any team in the league.

Greensboro went 1-9 to start the season, but since are 13-17, including a 7-6 mark over their last 13 home games. The East-leading Raptors 905 lost to the Swarm and barely eked out another pair of wins, while the Atlantic-leading Maine Red Claws only pulled away late in a recent game in Greensboro.

It’s a small sample size, but over their last three games the Swarm have won two of three, including an 11-point victory over the Westchester Knicks in the most unlikely of circumstances. After playing a hard-fought game against the Maine Red Claws in Greensboro, the Swarm left NC at five the next morning to head to Westchester for only their sixth road win all season.

There is absolutely work to do, as the Swarm want to compete for titles in the newly-christened G-League as well as in the NBA. But this team started with nothing, and built a team with more wins than a fifth of the league.

The organization has also followed through on its onus to provide an area of development for the Charlotte Hornets. Throughout the season Aaron Harrison and Christian Wood were frequent participants in Greensboro games, moving freely between the two nearby cities.

Of the three players assigned to the Swarm by Charlotte, all three are still with the team and contributing. Center Mike Tobey was called up to the Hornets on two consecutive 10-day contracts, and after his stint was up he rejoined the Swarm.

Tobey practiced and played in the same system used by Charlotte. Although he had no NBA experience, he was able to step into high-pressure games and play minutes because he understood where to be on defense. Similarly, Christian Wood has been able to acquire game experience with the Swarm without sacrificing repetitions in the Charlotte system.

This is the goal of the Swarm, to provide an opportunity to play minutes while preparing to make an impact for the Hornets. Whether the players are officially Hornets or Swarm, Charlotte can and has utilized their affiliate team to develop talent.

There is still a lot of improvement ahead for Greensboro, both in their on-court product and in the diverse ways they can support their parent club. But for its first season, the team has done a strong job of fulfilling its mandate.