The New Orleans Hornets will have a new and improved roster when the 2012-13 season begins. The team has made numerous changes, highlighted by the additions of rookies Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers. As a Hornets fan, I am expecting Davis and Rivers to help the Hornets turn the franchise around and believe the rookies will be two of the best in Hornets history.
Below is a look at some of the top rookies to play for the Hornets since the franchise began in Charlotte in 1988.
Chapman entered the league during the Charlotte Hornets' first season in 1988-89. He averaged 16.9 points and 2.3 assists per game as a rookie. Chapman played well for four seasons, averaging 16.9 points and 2.9 assists, before heading to the Washington Bullets.
Reid became a Hornet in the team's second season and played all 82 games that year. He averaged 11.1 points and 8.4 rebounds. His numbers declined later, and he posted averages of 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds through four seasons.
Johnson was the first overall pick in the NBA Draft in 1991. He had an excellent rookie season, scoring 19.2 points and grabbing 11 rebounds per game. From 1991-96 Johnson averaged 19.6 points, 9.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists.
Mourning was the second overall draft selection in 1992 and followed Johnson to have a tremendous rookie year himself. Mourning scored 21 points per game while pulling down 10.3 rebounds. His averages over three seasons in Charlotte were 21.3 points, 10.1 rebounds and 3.2 blocks.
The Hornets had a terrible season in 2004-05, but Smith was one of the team's bright spots, scoring 10.3 points per game. His second year was not as impressive, though, and Smith was in Denver for his third NBA season.
The best Hornets rookie in years, Paul averaged 16.1 points and 7.8 assists per game in his first season. Of course, things only got better from there as Paul, now one of the elite players in the league, scored 18.7 points and dished out 9.9 assists per game over his six seasons in New Orleans.
Mike Patton grew up in New Orleans cheering for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Cubs, and LSU Tigers. He is a fan of all New Orleans teams, including the Hornets and the UNO Privateers. Follow Mike on twitter @MikePattonGBS.