So here we are at the Hornets…They haven’t been bad for any extended stretch (except maybe at the very beginning….) but they haven’t ever been top tier contenders…Without further ado, the Hornets!
(1) 2008 New Orleans Hornets (56-26)
This is their first year back from the New Orleans/OKC location after Hurricane Katrina. This probably is the best team, led by the best Hornets player, Chris Paul (21-4-12-3 steals). David West was a great second scorer, with his 21-9, while Peja Stojakovic averaged 16-4 for them. Tyson Chandler had 12-12.
(2) 1997 Charlotte Hornets (54-28) vs. (23) 2005 New Orleans Hornets (18-64)
We move away from Paul, and we check out this 1997 team…It is pretty good, Glen Rice had 27-4, Anthony Mason had 16-11-6 (wow…), and Dell Curry had 15-3. Vlade Divac (who came over in the Kobe trade), had 13-9-4, Muggsy Bogues got 8-2-7 from his 5-3 body, and they even got an appearance from Tom Chambers for 12 games…They got swept by New York though…
This season got them Chris Paul…but only because Milwaukee/Atlanta/Utah passed him up for Bogut/Marvin Williams/Deron Williams…The next pick was Charlotte, who picked Raymond Felton…imagine if New Orleans liked Felton better…Charlotte would be the 50-some win team rather than New Orleans….Nobody really good was here…Baron Davis got shipped out to Golden State…Lee Nailon had 14-4 and PJ Brown had 11-9….
(3) 1998 Charlotte Hornets (51-31) vs. (22) 1990 Charlotte Hornets (19-63)
A worse version of 1997…pretty worse…Rice had 22-4, David Wesley had 13-3-7, Anthony Mason had 13-10-4, Matt Geiger had 11-7, and Divac had 10-8-3.
Year two of the Hornets was one game worse than the previous. They did have a lot of former legends…Not at the top, that was reserved for Armen Gilliam (19-9), Rex Chapman (18-3…in only 54 games though…), and Dell Curry (16-3). Others include Kelly Tripuka (16-4-3), Muggsy Bogues (9-3-11…no joke! In 81 games too!), Jerry Sichting (only 34 games), Robert Reid (formerly of Houston…he had 6-2), and Kurt Rambis (traded to Phoenix with second rounders for…….Armen Gilliam!). Some big names…not a really good team though…
(4) 1995 Charlotte Hornets (50-32) vs. (21) 1989 Charlotte Hornets (20-62)
Zo had a good year (21-10 and 3 blocks), but it’s his last on the Hornets as he was traded to Miami for essentially Glen Rice…). Larry “Grandmama” Johnson had 19-7-5 (he had two years left in Charlotte…he would go to New York…Remember during one of the awful Knicks-Heat battles how he fought Mourning ((not that any of their punches landed)), and Jeff Van Gundy ((NY Coach)) grabbed onto Mourning’s leg…and strings of hair on top of his already bald head were sticking up? One of my favorite moments of Knicks-Heat battles…It’s weird how they were teammates 3 years before ((I think it took place in 1998…correct me if I am wrong..)…I think they mentioned it on the telecast…), and Hershey Hawkins and Dell Curry both gave 14 points…Bogues had 11-3-9, and 41 year old Robert Parish latched on for a ride. He had only 5-4.
Year one of the Hornets…Kelly Tripuka had 23-4-3, Rex Chapman had 17-3-2, Robert Reid had 15-4, and Bogues had 5-2-8. Kurt Rambis had 11-9, and Dell Curry had 12-2 in 48 games.
(5) 2000 Charlotte Hornets (49-33) vs. (20) 1991 Charlotte Hornets (26-56)
Under 50 wins we go! Eddie Jones had 20-5-4 to lead this team, while Derrick Coleman (who came here in 1999) had 17-9. David Wesley had 14-3-6, Elden Campbell had 13-8, and Anthony Mason had 12-9-5. Baron Davis entered his rookie year from UCLA, and had 6-2-4 off the bench for Charlotte this year.
Armen Gilliam (20-9 in 25 games) was traded for Mike Gminski (11-8)…Johnny Newman had 17-3, Rex Chapman had 16-3-4, and JR Reid, Dell Curry, and Kendall Gill all added 11 points. Kelly Tripuka (7-2-2) had played his last year, but they got a productive year from Bogues (7-3-8). Larry Johnson came to them in the next draft #1 overall…
(6) 2009 New Orleans Hornets (49-33) vs. (19) 1992 Charlotte Hornets (31-51)
Another high level season from Paul, as he had 23-6-11-3, which is an incredible year. David West had 21-9, and Peja added 13-4.
Kendall Gill had 21-5, Larry Johnson had 19-11-4 in his NBA debut, and Johnny Newman had 15-3-3 in 55 games and Muggsy had 9-3-9….The real important thing about this year is that it netted them Alonzo Mourning…which led to their first playoff berth in 1993.
(7) 2003 New Orleans Hornets (47-35) vs. (18) 2010 New Orleans Hornets (37-45)
First year in New Orleans! Jamal Mashburn had his 4th straight and final 20+ point season on the Hornets…he’s retired after the year, despite 22-6-6 averages. Baron Davis (17-4-6) played only 50 games, and his play slipped now that he was in New Orleans. David Wesley had 17-2-3, PJ Brown had 11-9, and Jamaal Magloire had 10-9, and was getting ready for an all-star season the next year….
Chris Paul (19-4-11), had some injuries this year (and arthroscopic surgery…) which limited him to 45 games (and he took a slight step back for 2011…). David West had 19-8-3, Marcus Thornton had 15-3, Peja had 13-4, Darren Collison (Paul’s replacement for when he was out) had 12-3-6, and Emeka Okafor had 10-9.
(8) 2001 Charlotte Hornets (46-36) vs. (17) 2006 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (38-44)
Jamal Mashburn was the leading scorer (20-8-5), and was helped by David Wesley (17-3-4). Baron Davis had 14-5-7, Elden Campbell had 13-8, and PJ Brown had 9-9.
This is one of the two NO/OKC teams that were around after Katrina…This one was a twenty win improvement over the previous year, so it isn’t a total failure, but the year after the second OKC year they got a 17 win improvement…so it much have had SOME impact…Nothing really great happened this year…Paul debuted with 16-5-8, and they had David West as their leading scorer (17-7). Speedy Claxton had 12-3-5…not much happening here (other than plans to get Seattle ((RIP)) to come down here…).
(9) 2011 New Orleans Hornets (46-36) vs. (16) 2007 New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets (39-43)
Another meh year (though they DID give LA some trouble in the playoffs…)…Paul had 16-4-10, West had 19-8, and Okafor had 10-10.
Chris Paul had 17-4-9 in year two, and his main scoring option is David West (18-8). Peja plays only 13 games, but they are fine, as the get 14-5 from Desmond Mason, and 10-12 from Tyson Chandler, who is now free from Chicago….
(10) 1993 Charlotte Hornets (44-38) vs. (15) 2004 New Orleans Hornets (41-41)
Great year, as it is the first of the Zo/Grandmama pairing…Zo had 21-10 in his rookie year, and Larry Johnson had 22-11-4 in year two. Kendall Gill had 17-5-4, Dell Curry had 15-4, and Muggsy Bogues had 10-4-9.
Reserve center on the East All-Stars! Jamaal! Magloire! He had 14-10 (that’s it!!!!!!!) and made it too the all-stars! After we finish this team, we have Charlotte all the way…On this 2004 team, Baron Davis had 23-4-8, and Mashburn (21-6) played only 19 games. Wesley had 14 points, and PJ Brown had 11-9.
(11) 2002 Charlotte Hornets (44-38) vs. (14) 1996 Charlotte Hornets (41-41)
The last year in Charlotte…Mashburn’s 22 points were there only 40 games. Baron Davis had 18-4-9, David Wesley had 14-2-4, Elden Campbell had 14-7, and PJ Brown had 8-10.
Glen Rice joined Charlotte in the Alonzo trade, and he had a successful 22-5-3 year. Grandmama wouldn’t be here for next year, despite his 21-8-4 averages (he’s traded to the big apple…). Kenny Anderson (15-3-9) came over mid year in a trade from New Jersey, while Dell Curry added 15 points as well…Robert Parish latched on for another ride…He had 4-4 this year, and would be taking garbage minutes in Chicago next year.
(12) 1999 Charlotte Hornets (26-24) vs. (13) 1994 Charlotte Hornets (41-41)
So the average team is above .500 for the Hornets. But it wasn’t a playoff team…Glen Rice was traded to LA for Eddie Jones (17-4-4)…and they got Elden Campbell from it (15-9)…Wesley had 14-3-6….not much to say…
The last Hornets team…I have one interesting trivia fact for the Hornets before I go…they led the league in attendance…not once, not twice, not three times, not four, not five, not six, not seven, but eight times in Charlotte…including their first year (20-62)…Anyway, our last team was a decent team…though Johnson (16-9-4) played only 51 games, and Mourning (22-10) played only 60. Dell Curry had 16-3-3, Hershey Hawkins had 14-5, and Muggsy Bogues had 11-4-10.
That was the Hornets…though Paul is their best player; their best years were in Charlotte, where an assortment of players led them, from Zo, to Grandmama, to Rice, and to Mashburn and Davis…
Ladies and gentlemen, your Charlotte/New Orleans/New Orleans-Oklahoma City Hornets! Next, Harry Gallatin, Willis Reed, Clyde Frazier, Bernard King, Patrick Ewing and the two-champed Knicks!