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 Lou Capozzola/NBAE via Getty Images) /

15. Alonzo Mourning, 1994-95

  • NBA All-Star
  • 21.3 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 2.9 BPG, 1.4 APG
  • 4.3 Offensive Win Shares, 5.1 Defensive Win Shares
  • 9.4 Win Shares, 2.5 Value Over Replacement Player

Alonzo Mourning is the only Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer to appear anywhere on this list. He was a seven-time NBA All-Star, a two-time All-NBA player and a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year. Unfortunately for Hornets fans, the bulk of his NBA success came with his second team in the Miami Heat.

That being said, Mourning was a star player coming out of Georgetown University in the 1992 NBA Draft. Charlotte used the No. 2 overall pick on Mourning, going between Shaquille O’Neal to the Orlando Magic at No. 1 and Christian Laettner to the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 3. Mourning would spend his first three NBA seasons in Charlotte, beginning his quest towards Springfield.

He would be named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team in 1992-93. While he didn’t win NBA Rookie of the Year that spring, he had his signature moment in the league that first year with Charlotte. Who could ever forget his game-winning shot to eliminate the Boston Celtics from the 1993 NBA Playoffs?

Mourning made his first trip to the NBA All-Star Game as a second-year pro in 1993-94. He backed that up with another strong year in 1994-95. That was his second NBA All-Star Game appearance, averaging 21.3 points, 9.9 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.4 assists per game. Charlotte made the Eastern Conference Playoffs, but lost to the Chicago Bulls 3-1 in their first-round series.

Mourning had 4.3 offensive win shares and 5.1 defensive wins shares, bringing his season total to 9.4 with the 1994-95 Hornets. This helped him garner a 2.5 value over replacement player in what was his final season with Charlotte.

Sadly, he and fellow star Larry Johnson couldn’t figure it out, as their lack of cohesiveness led to Mourning being traded to the Heat in a package that included Glen Rice. Mourning would play 11 of the next 14 NBA seasons with the Heat, retiring after the 2007-08 NBA season as a lock for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Overall, Mourning’s NBA legacy is strong, as one of the better defensive-minded big men of his era. Overcoming a kidney illness mid-career and winning an NBA Finals as a member of the Heat cements his legacy as one of the greatest players in Miami history. However, Mourning stands as a reminder of trading away a great player before he even reached his prime in Charlotte’s eyes.