Where does the duo of Rozier and Graham rank among the best duos in Charlotte Hornets history?

Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Charlotte Hornets Devonte' Graham and Terry Rozier. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets Baron Davis. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones/Allsport /

Following the breakup of the Chicago Bulls in the late ’90s, the Eastern Conference was wide open for anyone not from the Windy City. Behind a pair of electric players, the Charlotte Hornets were on the cusp of becoming one of those teams.

After making the playoffs five out of their last seven seasons, the Charlotte Hornets only managed to win 26 games in the 1998-1999 season. If you’ll remember, though, that was the season of the NBA lockout, with each team only playing 50 games. So, despite winning over half of their games, they only managed to finish just outside of the playoff race, one game back of the eventual Eastern Conference champions, the New York Knicks.

After a slow start in that shortened season, the Hornets made a move to acquire Eddie Jones, a versatile scorer who had played well for the soon to be dominant Los Angeles Lakers. Part of that deal involved parting ways with All-Star Glen Rice, who was already unhappy with the direction of the team. So, the two were swapped with a few other pieces being involved. The trade worked out relatively well for both teams.

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Jones helped the Hornets win 22 of their remaining 35 games, but as alluded to before, it wasn’t enough to help them reach the postseason. That summer, Charlotte held the third overall pick in the NBA Draft, using it to select Baron Davis, a tough-nosed little point guard out of UCLA. He wouldn’t immediately pay dividends, but as any Hornets fan knows, he did eventually make his mark.

The 1999-2000 season saw the Hornets improve, finishing with 49 wins and Eddie Jones making his first All-Star team. They were ultimately eliminated in the first round and that summer, made a deal that would give the team arguably their most successful set of seasons.

In the summer of 2000, the Hornets traded Eddie Jones and Anthony Mason (who was out the entire previous season with a bicep injury) to the Miami Heat for Jamal Mashburn and P.J. Brown. Alongside the up and coming Baron Davis, solid veterans like Elden Campbell and David Wesley, and a couple of key role players, Mashburn quietly led the Hornets to a 46-36 record, good enough for sixth in the Eastern Conference. In the playoffs, they took down the aforementioned Heat in three games and nearly made it to the Eastern Finals, playing a grueling seven-game series against Ray Allen and the second-place Milwaukee Bucks.

Optimism was running high in the Queen City as this was their third Eastern Conference Semifinals appearance in just 13 seasons. The team would make it a fourth the next season, despite Mashburn nearly missing half the season. Baron Davis picked up the slack, however, as he was selected for his very first All-Star game.

The two would continue to have success together… just in a different city. Just as they were getting eliminated from the 2002 playoffs, the NBA approved a move presented by Hornets owner, George Shinn, to move the team to New Orleans. This didn’t sit well with fans, but Charlotte would rebound a few years later.

The tandem of Davis and Mashburn continued to have success in New Orleans, reaching the postseason the next two seasons. They, along with several other players from that stretch, were traded away during various points of the 2004-2005 season, thus ending their tenure together.

Although they only played a few years together in Charlotte, Mashburn and Davis led the team to two straight first-round wins and nearly made it to a Conference Final. If you’re counting their two playoff appearances in New Orleans, that’s four straight in a Hornets uniform. I think that alone makes them worthy of this list. Next, we’ll cover something a bit more recent.