Quick Intro: New Orleans Hornets History
A quick intro on the New Orleans Hornets' History begins in 1988, the inaugural season. Only the story doesn't start in New Orleans, it starts in Charlotte, the team's first home.
The Hornets struggled in their first several years, but did manage to draft several players who were well known throughout the NBA. Muggsy Bogues, the shortest player in NBA history at 5'3", Kendall Gill, and Larry Johnson were all members of the team. By 1992, the team was finally ready to make an impact, they won the lottery that year and drafted Alonzo Mourning. That year they made the playoffs for the first time, and things were looking up for them. Over the next several years, there were changes to the team, including trading Mourning and Johnson, but the team stayed competitive. In perhaps the greatest draft mistake since Sam Bowie was taken ahead of Michael Jordan, the Hornets drafted Kobe Bryant in 1996 but traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. As they continued to stay in playoff contention, it seemed the championship Bulls always got in the way, preventing the team from finding further success.
By 2002, the city of Charlotte had grown tired of the Hornets management, and the team decided to move to New Orleans, bringing NBA basketball back to Louisiana for the first time since the Utah Jazz moved. They were successful in their first season but eventually were moved to the Western Conference where they struggled. After posting their worst record in franchise history, with just eighteen wins, they did get fortunate enough to draft Chris Paul.
After Hurricane Katrina hit before the 2005 season, the Hornets were forced to move to Oklahoma City. They were unable to reach the playoffs in either year they played there, but Paul did emerge as one of the best point guards in the NBA. By the next season, the Hornets were back in New Orleans, and the team returned to the playoffs, beating Dallas in the first round and then losing to San Antonio. In 2008, the Hornets returned to the playoffs, but lost in the first round to the Nuggets. In the 2009-2010 campaign, they failed to make the playoffs, largely because Chris Paul was injured.
The Hornets are another expansion team that has found moderate success, but has been unable to get over the hump and go deep into the NBA playoffs. Both of the other cities they have played in, Charlotte and Oklahoma City, have NBA teams now.