NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -
With Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and others poised to become the future of the franchise, it feels like a fine time to rank the top 10 to do it in New Orleans. Besides, who doesn’t like a list to debate over?
1. Chris Paul (2005-2011)
It was close between Paul and the runner-up on the list, but he’s the OG. He (along with #3 on the list) is one of the first big names DRAFTED by the franchise and the only rookie of the year they’ve had. CP3 still holds the franchise records for assists and steals, and even though things didn’t end like New Orleans fans would have liked, Paul put the squad on the back and on the map. 15 years later to this day, it’s hard to name another player that elevates his teammates like Paul does.
2. Anthony Davis (2012-2019)
Another superstar player. Another sour ending with his time in New Orleans. But it was a fun ride until the last six months. Anthony Davis consistently added to his game each and every season and became virtually unstoppable. AD leads the franchise in points scored, rebounds and blocks. In fact, he leads by a considerable amount over David West, who played 64 more games in New Orleans than Davis did.
What’s truly interesting is how history strings these big names together. Without CP3 bailing, the team doesn’t hit the bottom and probably doesn’t land AD. Without AD bailing, do they still get Zion? They certainly don’t get Ingram or Lonzo. We’ll see what’s to come, but with AD, there’s always that question of what could have been if there was enough (healthy) talent around him.
3. David West (2003-2011)
He wasn’t as explosive or as flashy as the top two on the last, but he was every bit as effective. With a consistent jumper and attitude to grind in the paint, West finds himself 2nd in franchise history in field goals made and rebounds. West exploded with the arrival of Chris Paul and averaged more than 17 points per game for six straight seasons in the Crescent City, easily the best stretch of his career.
West, CP3 and AD are top three and it’s not close.
4. Jrue Holiday (2013-present)
This is where you might be able to start debating, but to me, Holiday is pretty firmly at 4th on the list. He’s second in assists behind Paul, and earlier this year, surpassed Peja Stojakovic for the most three-pointers made in team history.
But more than that, Jrue is committed to the team and wants to be here. Despite the history of star players leaving the team and despite seeing his running mate Anthony Davis leave last season, he is New Orleans true. Holiday made that clear when his name came up in trade talks back in February.
Jrue’s become a staple defensively, and when he’s on offensively, he’s one of the most physical and athletic guards in the league. We’ll see what the future holds with him as his contract nears expiration, but he’s the veteran presence this team needs to continue trending upward.
5. P.J. Brown (2002-2006)
Brown was on the back end of his career by time came to New Orleans by way of the team leaving Charlotte, but he remained as consistent as ever. Some of his best numbers came from age 33-36 with the Hornets. As a dedicated defender and rebounder, simply looking at his stats, Brown might go overlooked. But a lot of what he gave the team didn’t show up on paper.
6. Tyson Chandler (2006-2009)
When CP3 went to the Clippers, LA became “lob city.” But we all know it started in New Orleans with Tyson Chandler. The connection was there right away, and both thrived with it. The same tenacity on the boards and as a shot-blocker that keep Chandler in the league today at 37-years old are what made him such a vital part of the Hornets success. Because he was only in New Orleans for a few seasons, he’s not high on the all-time lists, but the stat that doesn’t lie is the franchise leader for “rebounds per game.” More than AD. More than West.
7. Ryan Anderson (2012-2016)
He’s a staple of the Monty Williams era and one of the most fun shooters to watch when he gets hot. Anderson sits just behind Peja as 3rd all-time in three-pointers made. He’s another that spent just a limited amount of time in New Orleans, but did have a key role in one (very brief) trip to the playoffs.
8. Baron Davis (2002-2005)
I originally had him at #7, but Davis gets most of his credit making this list from being fun to watch. He was only in New Orleans for about two and a half seasons after spending several in Charlotte, and it was no secret that he couldn’t wait to get back to California. But still, Davis and his dunks pumped a lot of energy into the arena.
9. David Wesley (2002-2005)
Like Davis, his time in New Orleans was short, but as a kid going to a lot of Hornets games, he was fun to watch play. Despite spending less than three seasons in New Orleans, he’s still 10th in field goals made. He also gets bonus points for his continuous role in the Pelicans’ television coverage.
10. Peja Stojakovic (2006-2011)
If this were strictly by the numbers, Peja would be higher on the list. It was also hard to leave off guys like Jamaal Magloire and Emeka Okafor, but Peja’s impact as a sharpshooter can’t be ignored. In less than 220 games played (less than Anderson’s 230), Stojakovic poured in 553 threes.
He was also a signficant part of the franchise’s winningest squad in 2007-08 when his 231 threes made were the second-most in any single season of his career.
Got a list of your own? Let’s compare and debate. Besides, what else do you have to do right now?