New Orleans HorThe New Orleans Hornets or formerly knwon as the Charlotte Hornets is an NBA team that competes in the Southwest Division of the Western Conference.
The Hornets was created in 1988 and was still based in Charlotte, North Carolina. In season 2001-02, the Hornets transferred to the New Orleans and their home arena is the New Orleans Arena.
History – The Early Years(1989-1998)
In the 1985, the NBA planned to make additions in their teams and later on expand their league with four more teams, the Miami, Orlando, Minneapolis-Saint Paul and Charlotte. David Stern,the NBA Commisioner, told George Shin who is an entrepreneur who wants an NBA Franchise, that he will be granted to have the 24th franchise of the NBA. They are choosing whether to name the team as Spirit or Hornets until it was finalized and decided that Hornets will be its official name.
The first roster of the Hornets was led by Kelly Tripucka, the former guard of the Detroit Pistons. He instantly contributed an offensive force for the team and lead the Charlotte in scoring in the first two seasons.
They also added Mugsy Bogues, the shortest player to ever played in the NBA which is also known for his long-distance shooting. Rex Chapman also joined the club, a sharpshooting rookie. Dick Harter was their first head coach. The first ever Hornets game was against the Cleveland Cavaliers and lost by 133-93. Their first win ever was four days after against the LA Clippers. They finished their first season with a 20-62 record, as expected for an expansion team.
The next season was almost the same, they struggled throughout the season and end it with 19-63 record and results to the replacement of Gene Littles as the head coach. In the 1990-91 season,they got Larry Johnson from the draft and they improved through the season and records 26-56 win-loss standing which is a seven game improvement from the previous but they still fired coach Littles and replaced Allan Bristow.
In the draft lottery in 1992, they got Alonzo Mourning as the second overall pick. As the two talented players, Johnson and Mourning, playing together, they were a great force in the NBA along with Kendall Gill.
Their progression with their roster improved their standing into a winning season record of 44-38 and made it to the playoffs as the 5th seed. They shocked the Boston Celtics in the first round and moved on in the second round to face the New York Knicks. They were defeated in the second round in five games.
The next season became worse as their key players suffered from injuries. They finished it with a 41-41 standing but they failed to qualify for the playoffs. In 1994-95 NBA season, they were under coach Michael Adams.
They end the season with a better 50-32 record that gave them playoff berth. They lost to the Chicago Bulls in the first round. In the off-season, they got Glen Rice, Matt Geiger and Khalid Reeves in exchange for Alonzo Mourning.
In their roster, the All-Star guard Kenny Anderson was added for the injured Bogues. Their squad was very competitive, finishing the season with 41-41 standing but did not made it to the postseason. Bristow resigned and replaced by Dave Cowens as the head coach.
In 1996, Anderson disagreed to resign with the hornets and Johnson was moved to the Knicks in exchange for Anthony Mason. They acquired Vlade Divac from the Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant from the draft.
The season turned out to be a better season, as their players get their comfort zone and played some of their career-highs. They finished the season with the franchise-best 54 wins and 28 losses. They made it to the playoffs but lost to the Knicks. The next season was also successful as they added David Wesley and Bobby Phills. With their deep roster, they entered the playoffs again and reached the second round until they got defeated by the Chicago Bulls.