As we have already seen in the “Pelicans by the Numbers” series there are a few numbers in New Orleans Pelicans history that have typically been worn by good but not great role players. The trend started with the number 2 which was worn by players like Darren Collison, Dan Dickau and Jarrett Jack, peaked with the number 5 worn by Elden Campbell, Marcus Thornton and Jeff Withey and now continues with the number 8.
The First to Wear #8: Steve Smith (2003-2004)
The Most Recent to Wear #8: Luke Babbitt (2014)
Outside of Josh Childress at the start of last season the number 8 has always been a fairly reliable performer for the Pelicans/Hornets and it all started with Steve Smith in 2003-2004. Smith played in 71 games for the Hornets in 2003-2004 and while he didn’t play a ton in those games, he only averaged 13.1 minutes per game he did his job and knocked down 40 percent of his threes on the season.
From there the number moved to Bobby Jackson who continued its production off the bench by averaging 10.6 points per game in 56 games in the 2006-2007 season. After 46 games the next season during which he averaged 7.1 points per game, Jackson was moved in a trade to the Houston Rockets to help in acquiring Bonzi Wells, putting the number 8 into storage for a bit.
In 2010 Marco Bellinelli arrived and took 8 out of circulation and immediately returned it to its Smith bred roots of knocking down three pointers as he averaged 39.5 percent from three-point land on over 600 shots in his two years in New Orleans. The highlight of Bellinelli’s New Orleans career though was his first season in town when he averaged 10.5 points per game on 41 percent shooting from three in 80 games for the playoff bound Hornets.
After Bellinelli left in free agency after the 2012 season Roger Mason moved into the number 8 and shooters role and continued its success of knocking down shots from behind the arc when he knocked down 41.5 percent of his threes in 69 games. After a four game stint with Josh Childress at the start of this past season took the number outside of its comfort zone and inside the arc, Luke Babbitt arrived to save the day, knocking down 37.9 percent of his threes to end the season.
The number 8 doesn’t have a long historical history for the Pelicans but it does have a solid reputation. Over the course of its use it has been placed on a player with a well-defined skill of knocking down three-point shots, as the number has a career 38.5 percent three-point percentage. Not bad for something never worn by a star.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans