We are inside of two months until the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, when the league’s many new superstar pairings will finally be unveiled. What better way to pass the time than to count down these final 55 days by arguing over who wore each jersey number best until we reach No. 00.
There are currently 46 days until the season opener on Oct. 22. So, who wore No. 46 best?
Aron Baynes adopted No. 46 for his last two seasons with the Boston Celtics after winning a title wearing No. 16 with the San Antonio Spurs and switching to No. 12 with the Detroit Pistons. In Boston, the center from Down Under enjoyed the two most productive years of his career, averaging 5.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while anchoring a top-flight defense alongside frontcourt-mate Al Horford. The question is whether he will wear No. 46 after being dealt to the Phoenix Suns.
Dennis Bell wore No. 46 for all three of his seasons with the New York Knicks, which resulted in a grand total of 175 points over 63 games. Unfortunately, he joined the Knicks as a fifth-round pick in 1973, the summer after they won their second and final championship. Is this sort of about their decades-long title drought?
Jay Murphy donned No. 46 for the first two seasons of a four-year career, changed numbers when he was traded from the L.A. Clippers to the Washington Bullets in 1986, and saw his career-high scoring average soar from 2.9 to 3.4 points a game.
Tod Murphy was the heir to Murphy’s No. 46 jersey with the Clippers, wearing the number in L.A. as a rookie in 1987-88, before leaving for Spain, switching numbers and returning for four more less-than-glorious seasons wearing Nos. 4, 9 and 41.
Bo Outlaw, please save us from the dearth of great Nos. 46. Alas, Outlaw was a No. 45 man for every season of his 15-year career but one — his lone full campaign with the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, when he was forced to wear 46 because Steven Hunter took his beloved 45. Outlaw had the lowest scoring average of his career that season, a dismal 0.7 points per game, and failed to score in his only playoff game for a team with title aspirations. The NBA’s late 40s number curse continues.
The Jersey Champion
Baynes, almost by default. He started at center on a surprising Celtics team that won 55 games and pushed LeBron James to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals in 2018, even if he was notoriously posterized several times along the way. Bonus points for the man bun and the fact that he just screamed at his injuries.
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