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) /
8 of 21
Larry Johnson, Charlotte Hornets
Larry Johnson, Charlotte Hornets. (Photo by Lou Capozzola/NBAE via Getty Images) /

14. Larry Johnson, 1991-92

  • NBA Rookie of the Year
  • NBA All-Rookie First Team
  • 19.2 PPG, 11.0 RPG, 3.6 APG, 1.0 SPG
  • 8.9 Win Shares, 3.7 Value Over Replacement Player

We’ve touched on Larry Johnson already. As one of the best players in Hornets history, it should come as no surprise he’s on this all-time list for a second time. We will now discuss his most excellent rookie season of 1991-92.

Johnson would be the Hornets’ No. 1 overall pick in the 1991 NBA Draft out of UNLV. He won a national championship with the Runnin’ Rebels in 1990 and made another Final Four appearance in 1991 before bowing out to the Duke Blue Devils.

Johnson was arguably the best player on those dynamic UNLV teams coached by Jerry Tarkanian. Charlotte deciding to take him No. 1 overall turned out to be a great decision. Johnson averaged 19.2 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.0 steals per game as a rookie. He not only made the NBA All-Rookie First Team, but was named NBA Rookie of the Year.

This was the first of two double-doubles Johnson averaged in his 10-year NBA career. His 11.0 boards per contest would be the best rebounding mark of his decade in the league, split evenly between the Hornets and the New York Knicks.

Johnson amassed 8.9 win shares as a rookie, earning a 3.7 value over replacement player as a first-year pro. That would be his third-highest season total for win shares, as well as his fourth-highest value over replacement player in his NBA career.

Overall, this would begin the brief stardom of Johnson as a member of the Hornets. He would make two NBA All-Star Games and an All-NBA team before being traded to the Knicks for Anthony Mason ahead of the 1996-97 NBA season. His star power quickly faded, but the Hornets surely crushed it with their No. 1 overall pick in 1991 by choosing Johnson out of UNLV.