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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Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats
Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats. (Chuck Myers/MCT via Getty Images) /

8. Al Jefferson, 2013-14

  • All-NBA Third Team
  • 21.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 1.1 BPG
  • 3.1 Offensive Win Shares, 4.7 Defensive Win Shares
  • 7.8 Win Shares, 2.5 Value Over Replacement Player

Al Jefferson went straight from high school to the pros as a first-round pick by the Boston Celtics out of Prentiss, Mississippi in the 2004 NBA Draft. Jefferson would be an NBA All-Rookie Second Team player for the 2004-05 Celtics.

After three years in Boston, he was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Kevin Garnett deal. Three years later, Jefferson would go to the Utah Jazz for Kosta Koufos and a pair of first-round picks. After being dealt twice, Jefferson was finally able to choose where he wanted to go, signing a multi-year deal with the Bobcats in 2013 NBA free agency.

Opting to go to Charlotte in 2013 was the best move of Jefferson’s decade-plus NBA career. In his first season with the Bobcats, Jefferson would be a huge part in Charlotte making a surprising Eastern Conference playoff appearance.

He averaged 21.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per game. This helped him achieve 3.1 offensive win shares and 4.7 defensive win shares, bringing his season total to 7.8. While this was the highest win shares total of his NBA career, it only mustered him a 2.5 value over replacement player for 2013-14.

So besides being one of the greatest free agent signings in Charlotte hoops history, what made Jefferson’s 2013-14 NBA season so memorable in the Queen City? Well, he was named All-NBA Third Team at the center position. Jefferson was the sixth Hornet/Bobcat to be named to an All-NBA Team and stands as the organization’s most recent player to receive that league-wide honor.

It’s interesting to think about how much the game has changed in the last five years. 2013-14 was the last year of the Bobcats, as Charlotte took back the Hornets moniker in 2014-15. A traditional, low-post, back-to-the-basket center like Jefferson no longer has significant value in the NBA.

Jefferson would spend three seasons with the Bobcats/Hornets before signing a multi-year deal with the Indiana Pacers in 2016 NBA free agency. After two years in Indianapolis, Jefferson would be released and hasn’t played in the NBA since.

While he was never an All-Star, Jefferson was a valuable starter in the league for nine years from 2006 to 2015. His best year in the NBA arguably came in Charlotte uniform. Jefferson’s All-NBA honor might have come as a surprise, but the franchise certainly got its money’s worth during his first two years in Charlotte.