Mar 29, 2014; San Antonio, TX, USA; New Orleans Pelicans center Alexis Ajinca (42) shoots the ball over San Antonio Spurs forward Tim Duncan (left) during the first half at AT&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans by the Numbers: Number 42

As the “New Orleans Pelicans by the Numbers” series winds to a close with the last six numbers things are going to continue to get ugly. Of those final six numbers, only two produced real contributors and one of them was then number 42. Number 42’s recent history wasn’t great but its start was with one of the better players in New Orleans franchise history, giving it a solid foundation to build off of.

The First to Wear Number 42: P.J. Brown, 2002-2006

The Most Recent to Wear Number 42: Alexis Ajinca, 2014

The Number 42 in Between: Lance Thomas, 2011-2013

The number 42 got its start during the first season of professional basketball’s return to New Orleans when P.J. Brown wore it for 78 rough and tumble games. The season actually was one of, if not the, best seasons of Brown’s career as he averaged 11.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in 33.4 minutes per game for the Hornets while shooting a career high 53.1 percent from the field. Brown continued to be an enforcer in the middle for the team in the next two seasons, his final with the franchise before moving onto Chicago, and averaged 10.8 and 10.5 points and 8.6 and 9 rebounds per game for the team over those two years.

After Brown left the number stayed dormant for a few years before Lance Thomas took it over as a high energy role player for the team in 2011. The highlight of Thomas’ New Orleans career came in his first season with the team when he played in 15 minutes per game over 42 games and averaged 4 points and 3 rebounds as an undersized power forward for the team. Ultimately though the lack of actual NBA skills caught up to Thomas and his NBA career ended early after the 2013 season which again left the 42 open.

That 42 was filled again this past season by mid-season import Alexis Ajinca. Ajinca played well in his time with the team that gave him a chance to revive his NBA career. Ajinca averaged 5.9 points and 4.9 rebounds per game for the Pelicans after playing 17 minutes a game while using his long limbs to give the team a bit of rim protection. Ajinca’s play led to the team seemingly giving him another shot to earn a rotation spot this season which will continue the legacy of the number 42.

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