Should David West be the first player to have played for the New Orleans Hornets/Pelicans franchise to have his jersey retired? West played a franchise record 530 career games for the New Orleans Hornets. West also is the all-time franchise leader in minutes played at 17160 and is at the top of near the top of several other categories.
West is second all-time in the Pelicans franchise scoring list behind Anthony Davis with 8690 points. While he never played a game for New Orleans after the team rebranded from the Hornets to the Pelicans, he did play a significant role in New Orleans’ basketball history.
The retired 6-foot-9 forward was a 2-time All-Star while playing in New Orleans, averaging more than 20 points per game in both 2008 & 2009. West was also on the greatest New Orleans basketball team since the NBA returned to Louisiana in 2002, a title this year’s team is hoping to take.
David West was the New Orleans franchise first draft pick at the 2003 NBA Draft after their relocation from Charlotte, North Carolina.
The 2007-08 New Orleans Hornets won 56 games and finished 2nd in the Western Conference. Largely thanks to West & Chris Paul’s performances New Orleans was able to defeat Dirk Nowitzki’s Dallas Mavericks before ultimately losing in seven games to the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs. West averaged 21.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.9 blocks during the 2008 playoff run.
David West ultimately left the struggling Hornets for the Indiana Pacers and later the Golden State Warriors where he won two NBA championships before retiring from the NBA in 2018. While David West will not be remembered like a Kobe Bryant with the LA Lakers or Tim Duncan with the San Antonio Spurs, he did establish himself as an All-Star in New Orleans and set several franchise records that remain to this very day.
Some may argue that Chris Paul or Anthony Davis should be the Pelicans first jersey to be retired since Pete Maravich’s #7 was retired in 2002. David West however had a longer career in New Orleans than either Paul or Davis did. He played in New Orleans for eight seasons and rarely clamored for the spotlight and glamour. He was a quiet and effective star for the Pelicans organization when the team was still in its infancy.
So should he be the first to be recognized with a jersey in the rafters?