Like many numbers in New Orleans Pelicans history the number 35 didn’t get off to a great start. What it does have though is one decent season going for it, something that most numbers in team history can’t come close to saying. The years with Kirk Haston and Matt Freije though? Those are something other numbers can understand.
The First to Wear Number 35: Kirk Haston, 2002
The Most Recent to Wear Number 35: Chris Kaman, 2011-2012
The Number 35 in Between: Matt Freije, 2004-2005
The number 35 was worn for the first time in the 2002-2003 season by Kirk Haston, a first round pick from the season before that the team gave one last chance too. As it turned out though, Haston just wasn’t cut out for NBA play. Haston, whom the team drafted with hopes of being a stretch big man before it was popular just found himself unable to get off the bench as he played just 4.8 minutes per game in 12 games during what would turn out to be his final season in the NBA. In those minutes Haston just didn’t do anything, shooting 11.8 percent from the field and proving he wasn’t an NBA player. Finally on October 29 the team accepted their mistake and just waived Haston, who bounced around the D-League and Spain before retiring.
Matt Freije then got the next shot at the number in the 2004-2005 season and like Haston it didn’t go well. Freije was able to get on the floor more than Haston but things were similarly ugly as he averaged just 4.0 points in 19.2 minutes per game thanks to a horrific 29.1 percent from the field. Like Haston though the team decided to move on from a mistake early and cut Freije after just 23 games.
Finally in 2011-2012 Chris Kaman joined the roster in the Chris Paul trade and finally gave the number 35 one season to not be remembered as horrific. In 29.2 minutes per game that season Kaman averaged 13.1 points and 7.1 rebounds for the team though the numbers look much better on the surface as Kaman shot just 44.6 percent from the field before leaving to join the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent.
Like many numbers in New Orleans history the number 35 has an ugly story on the court. Between two awful players getting short stints in it and Kaman getting a long run of pretty mediocre play the number 35 was probably better off not being worn by anyone in team history. At least it won’t be remembered long-term for being a disappointment though.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans