Top 50 Charlotte Hornets

Entering the National Basketball Association as an expansion team in 1988, the Charlotte Hornets have had an interesting history, though not necessarily a successful one. Many speculated that the city could not support professional basketball, this despite North Carolina being a haven for the college game.

The pundits were proven wrong as though they played like an expansion team, the attendance was huge and they led the NBA in that category during their inaugural season. Charlotte suffered through the aches and pains of being an expansion team, but finally they made the playoffs and has a few good players which gave them national attention, though when they slipped back, the attendance wasn’t there and they fell to the bottom in that category and management moved the team to New Orleans following the end of the 2001/02 season.

While that might seem like it would doom professional basketball in Charlotte, the state had already shown it could support hockey (the Carolina Hurricanes) and football (the Carolina Panthers) the NBA wanted to give it another try and in 2004, the Charlotte Bobcats were born, though again feeling the pains of expansion.

Meanwhile, back in New Orleans, the team sought to come up a team that reflected their own region. For the 2013-14 season, they were renamed the Pelicans, and the city of Charlotte looked to get back their old name, which after one year they had. This is where it becomes very interesting for our purposes.

The new Charlotte Hornets absorbed the history of the old Charlotte Hornets, which splits the career of many “Hornets” whose best years are divided between New Orleans and Charlotte for our Top 50s.

This list is up to the end of the 2014/15 season.

Note: Basketball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics and post-season accolades.
As of this writing, Jeremy Lamb had played for the Charlotte Hornets for the past four seasons at a reserve role at the Shooting Guard position.  Lamb’s career originally began with the Oklahoma City Thunder where he bounced back and forth multiple times with their D-League affiliate but he eventually found his role and after being traded to Charlotte he began to excel at it.
With seven years on (as of this writing) there is still a lot for left for the second overall pick of the 2012 to prove in the NBA. Thus far, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, the champion from Kentucky has seen a marginal improvement from his rookie season (where he was a Second Team All-Rookie selection), however, a shoulder injury will sideline him for the 2015-16 season. He would return but it appears that he may never see…
While P.J. Brown would spend five seasons with the Hornets, only two of which were in Charlotte, which as you know for basketball history according to the NBA, only equates to two campaigns for this endeavor.
While Boris Diaw improved his overall game with the San Antonio Spurs (helping them win a NBA Title in 2014), the Frenchman did have a couple of good seasons in Charlotte before he ran afoul of management due to not being in the best physical condition. Diaw set personal bests in Points Per Game, and Rebounds per Game as a Bobcat, which is what got him to this elevated rank, but realistically, he is in…
A well respected Power Forward and product of Old Dominion, Kenny Gattison would be one of the more tenured players in Charlotte history playing 390 of his near 500 Games with the Hornets. Gattison was not the best player on his team, but his natural leadership and desire to the little things that didn’t show up on a stat sheet made him an asset to his team.
Arriving as a Free Agent, Brevin Knight was allotted the most playing time in his career and had the only two campaigns of his career where he exceeded 10 Points per Game. The Point Guard kept his distributing numbers high and would lead the NBA in Assist Percentage in the Bobcats inaugural year.
Like a few others on this list, Jamal Mashburn lost a few ranking spots due to his Hornets tenure being split between Charlotte and New Orleans. Despite that fact, Mashburn made his 116 Games in Charlotte count. In Charlotte, Mashburn would average over 20 Points and 7 Rebounds per Game producing over 10 Win Shares as the scoring leader of the team.
A seven footer from Salem, Massachusetts, Matt Geiger spent the best three years of his NBA career with Charlotte. Geiger, while non-descript to many had a soft image yet still averaged 10 Points per Game in Charlotte, and stepped up his defensive presence more than he got credit for.
Beginning his professional career with the Charlotte Hornets, Kendall Gill was a spectacular dunker who made the First Team NBA All-Rookie Team. Gill would become an effective scorer for Charlotte and in his sophomore season would average more than 20 Points per Game. Gill was a balanced player, who for whatever reason has fallen through the cracks in Charlotte basketball folklore.
While D.J. Augustin has shown flashes of brilliance over his career, it has always been countered with ample mistakes. Still, when he was on, Augustin showcased solid shooting, especially from the free throw line as a Bobcat (he would finish in the top ten in the NBA three times in Free Throw Percentage) and averaged over 10 Points per Game while donning Bobcat orange.
Drafted in the first round out of Duke, Gerald Henderson spent his first five seasons in a Charlotte uniform. Henderson would become a decent enough scorer but his overall game did not develop strong enough with the Hornets to have a higher ranking.
A two time Third Team All NBA player and one time All Star when he was playing for the New Jersey Nets, Derrick Coleman still had a lot left in the tank when he arrived to Charlotte in his early 30’s. Coleman no longer had a double-double average, but could still explode for great games on both ends of the court.
How did Jason Richardson rank so high when he only played one season and change with Charlotte, and was unable to take them to the playoffs? The answer is that while he couldn’t take the team to the post season, Richardson did put together one of the better offensive seasons in franchise history and for an organization that hasn’t had that many, it is enough to elevate him in this rank.
While Johnny Newman was an NBA journeyman, his three year and change run with the Charlotte Hornets, was the most productive of his career. Newman would have two straight seasons averaging more than 15 Points per Game for the organization.
Ok…let us begin with the obvious. Dwight Howard will be a first ballot Hall of Famer and he should be. 
From the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bismack Biyombo is a big man who was adept at rebounding and blocking and as of this writing is in his second stint with the Hornets.  To date, Biyombo has averaged 5.8 Rebounds and 1.4 Blocks per Game for Charlotte and what he might lack in talent he makes up for in determination.  He is currently in his second run with the Hornets.
During his collegiate career at the University of Wisconsin, Frank Kaminsky was the consensus College Player of the Year in 2015.  Drafted ninth overall, Kaminsky has to date (and as of this writing) played all four of his seasons with Charlotte.  Usually used off of the bench, Kaminsky has shown decent production with a pair of 10 plus Points per Game seasons.
Arriving in Charlotte as a two time All Star, Kelly Tripucka finished his career as a Hornet and did so with some impressive offensive numbers as he would average 22.6 Points per Game in his first season in Charlotte. He would decline quickly, put he provided the scoring threat in the inaugural season that Hornets fans craved.
In his sophomore season, Scott Burrell would become the starting Point Guard for the Charlotte Hornets and in the process would finish third in balloting for the Most Improved Player in the NBA. Like so many, injuries would take him out of the starting lineup but the Point Guard’s 1994/95 season was decent enough to place him on a list like this, on a team with the limited history of the Charlotte Hornets.
The stay of Josh McRoberts in Charlotte was a brief one but he was known for his defensive acumen and ability to pass from the paint. The product of the Duke Basketball factory was a coveted role player through his career and his play in Charlotte certainly increased his stock among league executives.