As the “New Orleans Pelicans by the Numbers series” inches towards its conclusion things get uglier and uglier. Just in the last six numbers we have seen multiple draft busts, a bunch of random bench warmers and only a single long-term rotation player in Ryan Anderson. That trend of awfulness continues with the number 41, a number worn just once in franchise history by a player that was supposed to help take the team over the top and instead started the crumbling.
The First to Wear Number 41: James Posey, 2008-2010
The Most Recent to Wear Number 41: James Posey, 2008-2010
The Number 41’s in Between: None
James Posey was supposed to be the piece. When he joined the Hornets in the summer of 2008 he was looked at as the player that would help the Hornets be able to finally become a legitimate contender after they fell to the San Antonio Spurs in seven games in the Western Conference semifinals the prior season. What Posey turned out to be though was a big mistake that cost the team in the long run after he failed to live up to his contract due to age and a loss of athleticism.
It started in Posey’s first year in New Orleans when the veteran wing averaged just 8.9 points in 28.5 minutes per game thanks in large part to some awful shooting. Posey shot just 41 percent from the field that season thanks in large part to his inability to finish inside the arc. The main culprit was a struggle from mid-rang as Posey shot just 34.5 percent on shots between 16 feet and the three-point line despite. Posey also struggled at the rim where he shot just 54 percent from there, not a great number for a wing. Along with his not great offensive numbers Posey also lost his ability to defend at a above-average level which made it hard for him to make the impact he had throughout his career.
The next season things got even worse though. Posey dropped to just 22.5 minutes per game and his shooting plummeted to just 36.5 percent from the field due in large part to a drop in three-point percentage. After shooting 36.9 percent from three in his first year in New Orleans, not great but not awful, Posey made just 33.5 percent in 2009-2010. Combining that with the decline in defense made Posey borderline unplayable as the season wore on and it showed as his minutes dropped.
As it turned out that 2009-2010 season would be the final of the number 41’s first use in New Orleans as Posey was sent away to the Indiana Pacers with Darren Collison in a four-team trade that landed the franchise Trevor Ariza. As with many numbers in Pelicans franchise history the number 41 starts and ends with a disappointing veteran acquisition and now leaves fans with a frustrating memory more than anything else.
Tags: New Orleans Pelicans