The Charlotte Hornets have had more than their fair share of players who could get them buckets. Here are their 15 greatest scorers in franchise history.
North Carolina has always been a hot bed for basketball. With it being the focal point of the ACC with four member institutions in the state, it was only a matter of time before the NBA got a franchise in the Carolinas.
While the Carolina Cougars did play in the ABA, it wasn’t until 1988 when the Charlotte Hornets finally took to the court. With purple and teal, pinstriped jerseys, the Queen City quickly became Buzz City. Players like Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues, Dell Curry, Larry Johnson and Alonzo Mourning made the NBA very cool in Charlotte in the early to mid-1990s.
However, the beloved Hornets would sadly relocate to New Orleans in 2002 on account of stadium issues and poor ownership. Two years later, the NBA would return to the Queen City in the form of the expansion Charlotte Bobcats.
The Bobcats were largely a laughing-stock during their 10-year existence. Once the then-New Orleans Hornets decided to shed the moniker in favor of the Louisiana state bird Pelicans, Charlotte owner Michael Jordan opted to bring the buzz back to the hive. Beginning in 2014-15, the Hornets returned to Charlotte and has been the team’s rightful nickname ever since.
While winning in the playoffs has largely evaded Charlotte NBA basketball, they do have 29 years worth of history in the Carolinas when you account for both incarnations of the Hornets, as well as the lackluster Bobcats.
One thing that the Hornets/Bobcats have done very well in their nearly 30-year history is get buckets. They have had several All-Stars, as well as guys who could seemingly score at will.
Without further ado, here are the 15 greatest scorers in the history of Hornets/Bobcats in Charlotte. It should be noted that Hornets’ history in New Orleans is not included in overall point totals, as well as scoring averages for this post.
- 8.8 PPG, 5,531 points, 10 seasons
- Franchise leader in minutes played (19,768)
- Franchise leader in assists (5,557)
- Franchise leader in steals (1,067)
Muggsy Bogues just cracks the top-15 largely on longevity with the Hornets alone. Bogues was a star in Winston-Salem for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons before being a first-round pick by the then-Washington Bullets in 1987.
While he might have only lasted one year in the nation’s capital, Bogues would be an original Hornet by virtue of the 1988 expansion draft. In college, Bogues was adept about both distributing the basketball, as well as picking the other team’s pocket.
At only 5-foot-3, 136 pounds, Bogues remains the smallest player to have ever played in the NBA. Not only did he play in the NBA, he flourished in the league for 15 seasons with four franchises. 10 of those seasons came with the Hornets in Charlotte.
Truth be told, Bogues was never a great scorer. He only averaged double figures in three seasons from 1992-93 to 1994-95, with his best mark being 11.1 points per game. Interestingly, he averaged the same amount of points per game (8.8) as he did assists per game in his 10-year stint with Charlotte.
Bogues largely got his points inside the perimeter, largely biding his time for him to get the best of looks on account of his size. Frankly, he would rather get his teammates involved than to do the heavy-lifting in terms of scoring for the Hornets.
Overall, Bogues amassed 5,531 of 6,858 career points in Hornets uniform. While that total isn’t close to the best mark in franchise history, Bogues does hold several Charlotte basketball records. Those include minutes played (19,768), assists (5,557) and steals (1,067).
Bogues may very well have more career assists than points score with Charlotte. However, he was at least wise about the shots he took. He was a career 46.6 percent shooter with the Hornets, making 47.7 percent of his shots on 2-point attempts. Keep in mind that he played in an era that wasn’t reliant on the 3-ball as it is today. Bogues only shot 28.2 percent from distance with Charlotte.
However with Bogues got to the charity stripe, he would usually come through for the Hornets. He made 81.8 percent of his free throw attempts with Charlotte. Though not a jaw-dropping number, he could decide games at the free throw line if fouled late in contests trying to close out the opposition. Bogues was never an above-average scoring threat, but his with the team has him in the top-10 of scoring all-time in Charlotte hoops history.