As with most numbers worn many times in New Orleans Pelicans history the number 11 has a long but awful history in regards to on court play. The luck continued this season when Jrue Holiday took over the number and was promptly injured less than halfway into his first season in New Orleans blue. Once healthy a single season of average play from Holiday should vault him into the top spot in the list of players to wear 11 which says more about the list of players before him than it does of Holiday.
The First to Wear #11: Shammond Williams, 2004
The Most Recent to Wear #11: Jrue Holiday, 2013-2014
Number 11 got its start with a 16 game stint in 2003 by Shammond Williams who was acquired in a trade with the Orlando Magic for Sean Rooks. Williams averaged 14.9 minutes per game over that time and added nothing of real value when he was on the court, shooting 34.6 percent from the floor and 19.2 percent from three-point land. The poor play resulted in Williams leaving the NBA after the end of the season and heading to Russia for two seasons before one final 30 game stint with the Lakers in 2006-2007.
After Williams, second round pick Marcus Vinicius took a two-season tour in the 11 that included a lot of sitting on the bench watching. Vinicius played a grand total of 26 games and 172 minutes over the course of those two years, before finally being sent away as part of the Bonzi Wells trade to never be heard from again.
Jason Hart got the next shot in the 11 jersey in February of 2010 after signing a ten-day contract with the Hornets. Over those ten days Hart played just 17 minutes, finishing his career in New Orleans 1-1 from the field with five assists and four fouls to his name.
Two more short season rentals followed Hart as David Anderson joined the Hornets as part of the Jarrett Jack acquisition from the Raptors and appeared in 29 games for the team. Anderson again mostly watched from the end of the bench appearing for just 7.7 minutes per game over that time as a big body for the team. Jerome Dyson continued the here-today-gone-tomorrow tradition of the number 11 after Anderson, appearing at the end of the 2011-2012 season for a nine game tryout with the Hornets. Dyson played ok over his 20 minutes per game over that time averaging 7.4 points per game but it wasn’t enough to convince the Hornets to give him a shot as he has still yet to see the NBA since that time.
In 2013-2014 Jrue Holiday was supposed to be the player to change around the fortune of the number 11 jersey in New Orleans but things took a bad break with a stress fracture in his right leg knocking him out for the season in mid-January. Holiday, who was supposed to be a building block for a young Pelicans team, played ok during his healthy games, averaging 14.3 points and 8.4 assists on 44 percent shooting from the field and 39 percent shooting from three to lead the team at point guard. But the injuries took their toll late in 2013 and Holiday looked like a shell of himself before finally missing time.
As long as everything stays normal Jrue Holiday should change the course of the number 11 in New Orleans history. The Pelicans look committed to the 24-year old point guard after trading two lottery picks for him so and Holiday looks like an above average player at his position with plenty of room to grow. If that happens it will become even easier to forget the cascade of nobodies that wore the number 11 in the past and fondly remember it as the number worn by the Pelicans second stud.