Charlotte Hornets: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
In 1987, George Shinn was awarded ownership of a new NBA franchise, to begin play as the Charlotte Hornets in 1988. While they had no true stars on the court, the veteran-laden expansion team played before massive crowds at the massive Charlotte Coliseum, despite going 20-62 in their first season.
The team languished with no real identity in 1989-90 and 1990-91, winning just 19 and 26 games, respectively. The 26-56 record helped the Hornets earn the first overall pick in the 1991 NBA draft, where they would select star forward Larry Johnson out of UNLV. The 1992 Hornets still struggled, but Johnson emerged as a star, averaging 19 points and 11 rebounds as he won the Rookie of the Year Award.
After going 31-51, people did not bet on the Charlotte Hornets to pick at the top of the 1992 draft, but they lucked out in the lottery and were able to select Georgetown center Alonzo Mourning with the second overall pick. With both Johnson and Mourning averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, coupled with shooters Kendall Gill and Dell Curry, the Hornets went 44-38 and qualified for their first ever postseason. The Charlotte Hornets odds were long, as the underdog against the Boston Celtics, but they won their first ever playoff series 3-1. If you bet on the Charlotte Hornets in the next series, however, you would be disappointed as they lost to the Knicks in five games.
Expectations were high for the 1994 team, but the Charlotte Hornets odds for a playoff run collapsed as noth LJ and Mourning were injured and the team lost 16 of 17 games at one point, finishing 41-41. In 1995, both Johnson and Mourning made the All-Star Game, and the team won 50 games, making the playoffs. Some experts even bet on the Charlotte Hornets to knock off the Chicago Bulls, playing with newly-returned star Michael Jordan. The Hornets managed to win Game 2 after losing in overtime in overtime in Game 1, but the Hornets failed to convert at the end of Game 4 and they lost by one point to the Bulls.
After the season, the Hornets dealt star center Alonzo Mourning who was feuding with their other star, Larry Johnson. If someone in 1995 bet on the Charlotte Hornets failing to ever reach the heights they achieved with both stars they would have been correct. The Hornets gained Glen Rice in the Mourning trade, but still managed to miss the 1996 postseason.
In the 1996 draft, the Charlotte Hornets odds could have changed forever when they drafted a shooting guard out of high school, but coach Dave Cowens preferred veteran players and the team traded the rookie, Kobe Bryant, to the Lakers for veteran center Vlade Divac. While Kobe would become a legendary player who won five titles with the Lakers, Vlade and and newly acquired power forward Anthony Mason did pay dividends as the team won 51 games and a playoff series before falling to old nemesis Michael Jordan and the Bulls. The Charlotte Hornets odds of winning their first ever title increased as they continued their run as a solid team, making the playoffs from 2000 through 2002, only to get knocked out in the first or second round of the playoffs. The franchise has still never made a conference final.
After the 2002 season, the team relocated to New Orleans. Although the players on the Hornets roster were now New Orleans Pelicans, that is considered a separate franchise and basketball in Charlotte ceased for two seasons. The NBA decided to get back into the Charlotte market, and new owner Robert L. Johnson became the first modern African-American owner in major American sports.
The relaunched team was named the Charlotte Bobcats and they drafted Emeka Okafor out of UConn where he had just won a college title, and while Okafor averaged a double-double as a rookie, the team struggled immensely, winning just 18 games. Overall, in ten seasons as the Bobcats, the franchise never won a single postseason game, making the playoffs twice, in 2010 and 2014, only to get swept both times. The true bottom came in 2012, when the team went a shocking 7-59.
The highlight of the franchises’ run as the Bobcats came in 2010, when Johnson sold the team to new owner Michael Jordan. For the 2013-14 season Jordan decided to change the franchise’s name back to the Charlotte Hornets, a move that was met with resounding approval. Fans who wanted to bet on the Charlotte Hornets becoming a perennial playoff team again were disappointed as the team went 33-49 in their inaugural season.
However, in 2015-16 the Charlotte Hornets odds changed, as the team led by Kemba Walker, Al Jefferson, and Nic Batum won 48 games for the first time this century, before losing a seven game series to the Heat. Unfortunately, fans wanting to bet on the Hornets in the playoffs have not been able to, as the team has missed four consecutive postseasons, failing to have a 40 win season in that span. As the 2020-21 season begins, there is hope in the form of rookie LaMelo Bell and pricey new acquisition Gordon Hayward, as the Charlotte Hornets odds for making the playoffs are better than they have been in several years.
13: Bobby Phils