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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Anthony Mason, Charlotte Hornets
Anthony Mason, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

7. Anthony Mason, 1996-97

  • All-NBA Third Team
  • NBA All-Defensive Second Team
  • 16.2 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 5.7 APG, 1.0 SPG
  • 11.4 Win Shares, 5.2 Value Over Replacement Player

Anthony Mason might be best known for providing frontcourt muscle on the Pat Riley New York Knicks of the early to mid-1990s. However, he wouldn’t make an All-Star Game playing in The Big Apple. That came years later as a member of Riley’s 2000-01 Miami Heat squad. Between the Five Boroughs and South Beach, Mason was a Hornet and a very good one at that.

Mason first came to Charlotte in 1996 when he was traded for Hornets star forward Larry Johnson. Johnson had been a two-time All-Star, a Rookie of the Year and an All-NBA player in Charlotte, but ultimately didn’t have staying power with the Hornets.

Frankly, Mason only spent three seasons over four years with the Hornets. That being said, he did put together one of the better years in franchise history immediately upon his arrival in 1996-97. No, Mason did not make the NBA All-Star Game, but his impact on the hardwood cannot be overlooked.

Mason averaged 16.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game with the Hornets. Charlotte made the Eastern Conference Playoffs and Mason earned a spot on the All-NBA Third Team for his best season as a professional.

Mason put together an 11.4-win share season for the Hornets. 8.0 came on the offensive end, while the other 3.4 were of the defensive variety. While his All-Star year in Miami would net him a career-best 11.6 win shares, Mason value over replacement player of 5.2 was the best of his 13 seasons in the NBA over 14 years.

Overall, Mason had both great touch and vision that year. He shot 52.5 percent from the field and 74.5 percent from the line. Both marks are well above his career averages of 50.9 and 70.9, respectively. It was also Mason’s best year in all five major statistical categories. In essence, he was at the peak of his powers.