The Hornets' leading scorer last year was Lee Nailon, with 14.2 points per game, marking the first time in franchise history that no player averaged 15 points.
Record: 18-64 (15th in West) Points scored: 88.4 (30th in NBA) Points allowed: 95.5 (10th) Coach: Byron Scott (second season with the Hornets)
They've already suffered their worst loss, but many more are to follow
The Hornets have discovered one advantage to having young players: It's made their move to Oklahoma City after Hurricane Katrina a little bit easier. "I think I'm the only one that's had a difficult time," says power forward P.J. Brown, a 13-year veteran, father of four and lifelong Louisiana resident. "For most of the guys, it was like coming to a new city. No one had any roots in New Orleans." Brown, who had evacuated with his family from Slidell to Lafayette, La., when Katrina hit on Aug. 29, says his house was flooded and its roof damaged. Looters also broke into his home and swiped TVs and DVD players.
Brown and his teammates must make the best of their new home in Sooner country, where they will play 35 of their 41 home games. (The other six will be in Baton Rouge.) In the two weeks after the move was announced, the team sold 8,500 season tickets to Ford Center. It helps that the price is right: Each game has 4,000 tickets for $10 available.
The fans in Oklahoma will get to know players who are still getting to know one another. "We weren't able to have them in town early for conditioning and training like we normally would have," says the Hornets' new G.M., Jeff Bower. "But we're grateful that our team played in the Las Vegas summer league. And everyone's adjusted very quickly." The starting backcourt will have a rookie (Chris Paul, the No. 4 pick out of Wake Forest) and a 20-year-old second-year player (J.R. Smith). Brown, one of only three Hornets with more than five years of NBA experience, knows this callow team will have some rocky nights. "We just have to keep going and stay positive," Brown says. He has a lot of experience in doing just that. --Bill Syken