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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Glen Rice, Charlotte Hornets
Glen Rice, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images) /

4. Glen Rice, 1997-98

  • All-NBA Third Team
  • NBA All-Star
  • 22.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 2.2 APG
  • 9.3 Win Shares, 2.3 Value Over Replacement Player

Making his second appearance on this all-time list is Glen Rice. Coming off his second career NBA All-Star appearance, Rice made it three in a row as a member of the 1997-98 Hornets. This would also mark the last year he played ball for Charlotte.

Rice was more of the same dominant scoring wing with the Hornets in his final season with the club. He averaged 22.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. Rice amassed 9.3 win shares and a 2.3 value over replacement player.

Charlotte would win its first-round playoff series over the Atlanta Hawks, but fell to the eventual champion Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in five games. In three years with the Hornets, Rice averaged 23.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and a steal per game. Even an average year for him with the Hornets was still electrifying. Rice was that good in Charlotte.

He made his last of three-straight NBA All-Star Games. Rice made his second career All-NBA squad, this time of the Third Team variety. Sadly, this would mark the beginning of the end for Rice’s NBA career, as he exited his prime after the 1997-98 campaign with the Hornets.

Rice would be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers during the strike-shortened 1998-99 NBA season for fellow sharpshooter Eddie Jones. Rice shot well above 40 percent in his three years with the Hornets, but never reached that threshold again in his final six NBA seasons split between four teams.

Never again would Rice average over 20.0 points scored in a game, as he would become largely a bench player and an often injured one at that in his 30s. Clearly, the Hornets got their money’s worth in swapping Rice for Jones at the turn of the century, even though Jones’ time in Charlotte was merely a season and change.

That being said, Rice is arguably the greatest player in Hornets history. Yes, he spent just three years with the club, but they were all All-Star seasons. Rice was an outstanding 3-point shooter and a guy Charlotte could count on for a big bucket. The Hornets didn’t have this reliable of a scorer until Kemba Walker found himself recently in his mid-to-late 20s.

Overall, Rice is probably never going to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Being on a three-time All-Star does hurt him. However, being a two-time All-NBA Team member and the star player of the 1989 National Championship team at Michigan could make for a compelling case one day. Regardless, Rice absolutely crushed it during his three seasons with the Hornets. Nobody made more of his time in the purple and teal than did Rice.