Charlotte Hornets: 20 greatest player seasons in franchise history

Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Kemba Walker. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /
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Alonzo Mourning, Charlotte Hornets
Alonzo Mourning, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NBAE via Getty Images) /

9. Alonzo Mourning, 1993-94

  • NBA All-Star
  • 21.5 PPG, 10.2 RPG, 3.1 BPG, 1.4 APG
  • 3.8 Offensive Win Shares, 2.5 Defensive Win Shares
  • 6.3 Win Shares, 1.3 Value Over Replacement Player

A lot is made of Alonzo Mourning’s three years with the Hornets. He made the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1992-93 after being drafted second overall in the 1992 NBA Draft out of Georgetown. Mourning hit that unforgettable buzzer beater to sink the Boston Celtics as a rookie. He was also a two-time NBA All-Star in the purple and teal.

However, his Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame career is largely built on his time with the Miami Heat, the team Charlotte traded him to after the 1994-95 NBA season for Glen Rice. One cannot deny that Mourning was at his best playing down in South Beach, as opposed to his trio of seasons spent in the Queen City.

Overall, Mourning’s best season with the Hornets came in year two for him in 1993-94. This would mark the first of seven career NBA All-Star appearances for him. He averaged 21.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.1 blocks and 1.4 assists per game for the Hornets.

This led to 3.8 offensive win shares and 2.5 defensive win shares for the Charlotte center, bringing his season total to 6.3. Despite it being his best year as a Hornet, it only netted him a paltry 1.3 value over replacement player. With so many elite big men in the game at this time (Hakeem Olajuwon, Patrick Ewing, David Robinson, Shaquille O’Neal, etc.), maybe this number is deflated a bit, given the era in which Mourning played?

No, Charlotte did not make the Eastern Conference Playoffs that season. This is strange, as Mourning was an All-Star, Dell Curry won NBA Sixth Man of the Year and Larry Johnson was in the midst of his prime. Regardless, Mourning is still remembered fondly for his brief time with the Hornets organization.

It’s weird to think that the iconic moment from his career came as a rookie and before he was even an All-Star. He might have become an NBA champion, a defensive powerhouse and one of the five greatest players in Heat history in the years to follow. That being said, Mourning’s 1993-94 campaign perhaps best summarizes his time with the Hornets. If only he and Johnson could have gotten along…