The Charlotte Hornets history, through two franchises, may not be the greatest group of players to ever grace the court, but it's still Charlotte's. Every fanbase has their own personal connections to certain players, and just cause this one is known for losing in the last decade does not mean they're exempt from that connection. No city loves Gerald Wallace as much as this one, and no group of fans have a larger debate over their own history as much as this group. Some fans want to say that the 90's Hornets are no longer a part of Charlotte while others will say you can't tell the story of basketball in this city without it. As a result you get all kinds of personal connections to players, from individual fans, that vary wildly. Ask a group to make a team of all time greats and more often than not they'll give you a similar list. Tell that group they can do it with their favorite players, or use any kind of parameters they want, and that list changes. That's why we did this project. It allowed us to reminisce about players that might not get talked about as much while still having some healthy debate about the legacy of a few others.
Now, lets get down to the wildcard picks.
Who is your first wildcard pick and why?
Chris Barnewall - Emaka Okafor was my first pick, because I couldn't find a way to put him in at Center over guys like Alonzo Mourning and Al Jefferson. Even though he did play some PF in Charlotte everybody knows his best years were spent as a Center where he pretty much averaged a double-double. Many will always see Okafor as the guy that got taken behind Dwight, but he was still one hell of a player.
Nick Denning - Jason Richardson. His one season in Charlotte was so freaking good, and then Larry Brown traded him because Larry Brown hated offense, and fun, and god I hate what Larry Brown did at the cost of making the playoffs /rant. Richardson could have been one of the great Charlotte players in team history, at least from a statistical standpoint. The Bobcats would have probably found a way to continue being bad even had he not been traded, but I'd like to think Gerald Wallace and he would have formed quite a partnership.
Tucker Warner - First wildcard pick is Baron Davis, who I really wanted to name among the point guards, but couldn't quite find room for him.
Russell Varner - Muggsy Bogues, because A. he has to be on the team in some way, shape or form. B. I would probably be burned at the stake if I left him out.
Austin Peters - Bryce Drew. He is the head coach for Valparaiso University and my current boss so I'm obviously obligated to pick him.
Corey McPherron - Jamario Moon only played in eight games, but I really liked him in those games. Good numbers for limited minutes. I also love a good community college to NBA story.
Who is your second wildcard pick and why?
Chris - Gerald Wallace was my pick due to the sheer fact that leaving him off a list of all time Charlotte greats would feel like a slap in the face of many fans. They loved that guy and everything he did. On top of that he was pretty good too.
Nick - Stephen Jackson, I understand I'm contradicting myself after bashing Larry Brown in the previous question, but Jackson was so fun to watch before he lost interest in the team thanks (probably) to Larry Brown (so suck it Larry). "Pressure? I make love to pressure" will always be the best quote in franchise history, and he played out of his mind in 2009-10.
Tucker - Second is Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who probably already deserves to be on the second-team, but I want to see him reach his potential first.
Russell - Jason Richardson, based solely on his 2007-08 season.
Austin - Hersey Hawkins played his college basketball at Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where I was born and raised. Hawkins is a local basketball legend.
Corey- Hakim Warrick played a lot better than Matt Carroll and threw down some sweet dunks.
Was this pick players that got left out from earlier positions, or personal favorites that you really wanted to get on the all time team?
Chris - They were players that I had to leave out of earlier positions, but I personally felt were a requirement to be on the team.
Nick - Both. Longer stints in Charlotte would have probably earned both spots at the SG position, since that position is historically pretty weak. Alas, they didn't last long in Charlotte, but they were successful while they were here.
Tucker - A little of both-- I feel like we wouldn't be telling the complete history of Charlotte basketball without either Baron or MKG, so they needed to be on here somehow.
Russell - Yes.
Austin - Neither. I saved the two best players in franchise history of my wildcards.
Corey- Favorites from two really crappy years who made those seasons a little less terrible to me.
What was your hardest pick among all the positions?
Chris - Probably small forward where I had a really difficult time deciding what player I was going to leave off the all-time team all together. I knew that Okafor and Wallace were going to make my wildcard team so that left only two to pick from a large list of worthy candidates.
Nick - I'm going to steal Russell's answer by placing mine above his, but it was backup point guard. Choosing Kemba over Muggsy was difficult.
Tucker - The fourth big man (Vlade), just because I'm sure there are people who won't be happy with me for that selection.
Russell - Backup point guard (Kemba Walker vs. Muggsy Bogues).
Austin - Probably backup point guard as well. Kemba has been super fun to watch since he stepped into the league but nobody else has played the game at a short height than Mugsy.
Corey- So many odd choices for the wildcard spots.
Who is the worst player to ever play for Charlotte? Who is the best?
Chris - I have never actively disliked watching a player as much as I disliked watching Byron Mullens. He's my worst just because of how much playing time he got, the way he played, and everybody could tell that it never going to get any better. The best is probably Alonzo Mourning. He might have only been around for three years, but those were an incredible three years.
Nick - To be the all time worst player in franchise history is pretty tough, given the crap the Bobcats put out on the court. Going to toss this up between Cory Higgins and Dominic McGuire. Higgins, because he wasn't an NBA talent and made the roster because his dad was well, you know, and McGuire, because who the hell was he anyways? Best player has to be either Glen Rice (who I left off my list by accident) or Alonzo Mourning. Both fantastic players who brought years of success to Charlotte.
Tucker - Jake Voskuhl.
Corey - Alexis Ajinca covers both.
Russell - Corey, why did you have to remind me that Alexis Ajinca was a thing? Worst: Ajinca. Best: Larry Johnson.
Austin - Kwame Brown and Alonzo Mourning.