As has been the case with most numbers in the “New Orleans Pelicans by the Numbers” series the history of the number 32 isn’t pretty. Unlike many of those other numbers though, 32 has had a fair chance as four different players have worn it and all but one have donned it for over a half a season.
The First to Wear Number 32: Courtney Alexander, 2002-2003
The Most Recent to Wear Number 32: Jerryd Bayless, 2010
The history of the number 32 got off to an inconspicuous start when Courtney Alexander donned the number for his last NBA stint in the 2002-2003 season. Alexander played in 66 games that season, averaging 7.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 20.6 minutes per game for the Hornets off the bench, giving them a solid backup guard. In the playoffs though Alexander saw his minutes drop to just 7.8 a game and after the team was eliminated he left the NBA for good.
After a year off the number 32 returned when the team acquired Casey Jacobsen in a trade with the Phoenix Suns. Like Alexander, Jacobsen did all of his work with New Orleans off the bench, appearing in 44 games for the team. In 22.3 minutes per game Jacobsen averaged 7.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists for New Orleans who headed back to the lottery after a 18-64 season.
Jacobsen would leave for Europe in the offseason, leaving the number 32 open for Julian Wright, the Hornets draft choice in the 2007 NBA Draft. Wright never lived up to the potential he flashed in college with his best year in New Orleans coming in 2008-2009 when he averaged 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in just 14.3 minutes per game. For his entire three seasons in New Orleans Wright stood as a promising blend of length and athleticism but he was never able to combine it into actual NBA production and after the 2009-2010 season the Hornets decided they had seen enough and sent Wright away to the Toronto Raptors.
The number 32 got its fourth and final iteration before the start of the next season though when the team traded a first round pick to the Portland Trailblazers to acquire Jerryd Bayless. Bayless would stay in New Orleans just under a month though as the team immediately traded him with Peja Stojakovic to the Toronto Raptors for Marcus Banks, David Anderson and Jarrett Jack. During his month with the team Bayless was underwhelming, averaging 4.5 points per game on 34.7 percent shooting, awful numbers for a player who is just a volume scorer.
When Bayless left he once again left the number 32 open and no player has stepped into it since that time. For now though it just remains another number in the franchise record books that some Pelican will eventually be able to take and make his own.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans