The New Orleans Pelicans, thanks to a creative rewrite of history, are the NBA’s youngest franchise. Who have been their 25 best players?
Thanks to some creative rewriting of the NBA’s history books, the New Orleans Pelicans are officially the NBA’s youngest franchise, dating back to 2002 when the Hornets moved from Charlotte to the Big Easy.
Owner George Shinn moved the franchise to New Orleans after the city of Charlotte refused to build a second publicly funded arena for the team in less than 15 years.
The Charlotte portion of the Hornets’ history was added to that of Charlotte’s new NBA entry, now known as the Hornets since 2014. The New Orleans team took on the Pelicans nickname in 2013.
The Hornets represented New Orleans’ second chance in the NBA, after an expansion team awarded in 1974, the Jazz, relocated to Salt Lake City after just five seasons.
New Orleans also had a short-lived team in the American Basketball Association, the Buccaneers, who played three seasons before relocating to Memphis.
The team moved into the New Orleans Arena upon arrival in the city and all was OK until the late summer of 2005.
When Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans, the arena was damaged and the club relocated to Oklahoma City, where it was called the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for two seasons playing at the Ford Center (now called Chesapeake Energy Arena), returning to New Orleans to open the 2007-08 season.
Shinn left the franchise soon thereafter, putting the team on the market and eventually selling it to the NBA for $300 million in December 2010.
The team played as wards of the Association for more than a year, until New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson bought the franchise from the NBA for $338 million in April 2012.
In 2013, the team was renamed the Pelicans. The New Orleans Arena, meanwhile, was renamed the Smoothie King Center prior to the city hosting the NBA All-Star Game in February 2014.
The franchise is 528-604 in 14 seasons, a .466 winning percentage that ranks 21st among the 30 active franchises in the NBA.
The team record for wins was set in their return season in New Orleans, 2007-08, when the Hornets were 56-26 and won its only playoff series.
The franchise has made the playoffs six times in 14 seasons, losing in the first round five times and in the second round once.
The lone 60-loss season came in 2004-05, when the Hornets were 18-64.
Since moving to New Orleans, the franchise has had four general managers, with current GM Dell Demps the longest serving, having assumed his duties in July 2010.
The franchise has never had an Executive of the Year award winner.
There have been six coaches, with Byron Scott the winningest, going 203-216 from 2004-2010 and posting an 8-9 playoff mark.
Scott was named NBA Coach of the Year in 2007-08.
Alvin Gentry assumed the coaching duties last season and led the injury-riddled club to a 30-52 record.
The Hornets had the No. 1 overall pick in 2012 and selected Kentucky’s Anthony Davis. The only other time New Orleans picked in the top five of the draft was 2005, when they selected fourth.
Here are the 25 best players in the history of the New Orleans/New Orleans-Oklahoma City Hornets and the New Orleans Pelicans. Players had to have appeared in 125 games and averaged a minimum of 20 minutes per game for the team to qualify for this list.
NOTE: The 150-game standard used with most teams did not yield a list of 25 players.
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