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 by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

1. Glen Rice, 1996-97

  • All-NBA Second Team
  • NBA All-Star
  • NBA All-Star Game MVP
  • 26.8 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.0 APG
  • 10.8 Win Shares, 2.7 Value Over Replacement Player

We’ve already touched on him twice, but there is no doubt that Glen Rice’s 1996-97 campaign is the best player season in Hornets history. Rice only spent three years in the Queen City, but they were all magical. He made the NBA All-Star Game each year and kept Charlotte playoff relevant in the post-Alonzo Mourning/Larry Johnson era.

Rice was traded to Charlotte in 1995 in a package involving Mourning. Though a former national champion at Michigan, Rice was a good, but not quite an All-Star during his first half-dozen seasons in South Beach. That all change upon arriving in Charlotte.

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After making the All-Star squad for the first time in 1995-96, Rice backed that up with his landmark professional season. He averaged 26.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. This netted him 10.8 win shares and a value over replacement player of 2.7.

Sure, that last number isn’t anything spectacular. Do keep in mind that Rice was more of a one-way player, utterly dominant as a jump shooter, but certainly able to hold his own defensively. But what made this Rice’s best professional season and the greatest in the history of the Hornets/Bobcats?

Well, he not only made the All-Star Team, but he won MVP of that glorified exhibition contest. He had 26 points on 10-of-24 shooting, including 4-for-7 behind the arc. Even though that game didn’t count for anything, what really made Rice’s 1996-97 great was that he made the All-NBA Second Team.

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Rice became the second, and most recent, Hornet to be Second-Team All-NBA. The only other player to do that was Larry Johnson back in 1992-93. While their time in Charlotte only overlapped a year, Charlotte was able to get its two best player seasons over a four-year span from 1992-93 to 1996-97. Rice edges out Johnson in that department thanks to a better scoring average, more win shares and winning the NBA All-Star Game MVP.