Current Best NBA Player by Jersey Number

Matt JonesAnalyst IAugust 22, 2011

Current Best NBA Player by Jersey Number

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    Editor's Note: Click here to get an updated list of the best NBA players by jersey number!

    What does a jersey number mean to an athlete? Why do they choose it? Who are the best NBA players to wear each one?

    Players of all ages have a million different reasons for picking the jersey number that they have. Once the right number is chosen, it becomes difficult to change as it soon becomes part of one's identity.

    Regardless of the reason, jersey numbers have become something very important in sports. Originally designed to merely distinguish between players on the court, the jersey and its number have evolved into an important part of the game for the individual player, the team and its fans.

    Replica jerseys of popular players are worn by fans in every NBA arena in the country. They are made into T-shirts, hand bags, backpacks and even hats.

    The best ones in the history of each team hang from the ceiling of many arenas. Those honor the best players are retired and will not be used for that team again.

    So which players stand out at each jersey number that was used in the NBA last season?

    This list will examine the players who wore each number from 00 to 88 and answer the question as to who is the best at each one.

    For many of the jersey numbers, it was easy to determine the best player. Some were one of only a few to wear that number, some were just superstars, and some have had a great career and are known for their jersey.

    While some may be obvious, there will be some on this list that may surprise you. Check out the following slides to see who is the best player in the league with each number.

    As usual, please let me know what you think, which is your favorite jersey, player or number and who is the best in history with that number.

    If a number is skipped, it means that there was not a player who wore that number last season.

No. 00 Spencer Hawes, Philadelphia 76ers

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    When you think of the No. 00, you think of a big man.

    Like most who have chosen that number, Spencer Hawes is a center who is not necessarily on the court for his offensive abilities. Even though he is there to take up space in the lane, Hawes is the best player with that number last season.

    Although he did average better numbers a couple of seasons ago in Sacramento, at seven feet tall, one would hope he could grab a few more rebounds, and block a couple of more shots per game.

    Hawes makes the list in part because only three players wore 00 last season.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 21.2 minutes, 7.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists

    Other players who wore No. 00 last season: Darrell Arthur, Mike Bibby (Two games with the Washington Wizards)

No. 0 Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    Even though the jersey numbers of these players add up to exactly nothing, there were some good players that wore the big oval last season, and one of them was not Agent Zero.

    Russell Westbrook is one of the most talented young point guards in the league, and he and teammate Kevin Durant led the Thunder deep into the playoffs.

    He may not have picked up an NBA Championship like Shawn Marion did last year but is easily the best player to have sported the goose egg last year.

    I wonder when the last time was that his point total for a game matched his jersey number. I am sure it does not happen very often.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 34.7 minutes, 21.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists

    Other players who wore No. 0 last season: Shawn Marion, Mike Bibby, Aaron Brooks, Drew Gooden

No. 1 Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls

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    Whether they would admit it or not, in order to wear the No. 1, a player has to have a pretty big ego. Just think of players in any sport that have that number and then think of the ego's they have that match.

    Chicago's Derrick Rose not only wears the number for the Bulls, he was able to back it up last season by playing well enough to become the league MVP and lead his team on a long playoff run.

    To pick a player at this number was a bit tough because there are other All-Stars who also think they are the best. Rose gets the nod and should be a great player in the league for many years to come.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 37.4 minutes, 25.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 1 last season: Amar'e Stoudemire, Dorrell Wright, Gilbert Arenas, Chris Bosh, Trevor Ariza, Nick Young.

No. 2 John Wall, Washington Wizards

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    If second place is the first loser, what does that say about the players who have chosen to wear No. 2?

    John Wall of the Washington Wizards comes in as the best player who has number two on his shirt. He was the first overall selection in the draft a year ago for a reason and is the anchor of a now quickly rebuilding Wizards team.

    His speed and athleticism help him to stand out among point guards, and it will not take long until he is one of the elite in the league. He is a great young player who will have a long and successful career.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 37.8 minutes, 16.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.3 assists

    Other players who wore No. 2 last season: Darren Collison, Derek Fisher, Joe Johnson, Raymond Felton, Wesley Matthews.

No. 3 Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat

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    After trying to form a super team during last offseason by adding LeBron James and Chris Bosh, the Miami Heat quickly learned that three is a crowd as it took them several games to get things straightened out.

    Since the time that he came into the league, Dwyane Wade has been one of the most dominant scorers, and one of the best to wear No. 3.

    Even though he and the Miami Heat fell just short of winning an NBA title this season, Wade and his team should go on to win a few championships in the next few years.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 37.2 minutes, 25.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists

    Other players who wore No. 3 last season: Chris Paul, Brandon Jennings, Gerald Wallace, Omer Asik, Ty Lawson, George Hill.

No. 4 Luis Scola, Houston Rockets

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    Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro.....

    Even though he was drafted in 2002, it took Luis Scola a few years to make it into the NBA. Since that time, he has been a solid big man for the Rockets.

    In each of his NBA seasons, Scola has improved his per game averages in points, assists, and blocked shots. After losing Yao Ming to injury and now to retirement, Scola remains the dominant big man in Houston. He is a key part of the team that will help the Rockets not to have to be in rebuilding mode for long.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 32.6  minutes, 18.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists

    Other players who wore No. 4 last season: Antawn Jamison, Marcin Gortat, Kenyon Martin, Luke Walton, Chauncey Billups.

No. 5 Kevin Garnett, Boston Celtics

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     Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics is the best current player to wear the No. 5.

    After switching his jersey from the 21 that he wore in Minnesota, he has put together a nice career with the Celtics. He was able to win a title with Paul Pierce and Ray Allen and helped Boston return to dominance in the Easter Conference.

    There are some other good players who wore the same jersey number as Garnett, but he makes this list due to his athleticism, leadership and play on both ends of the court.

    He will have to contend with the Miami Heat in the East but could add one more championship before his playing days are over.

    Who knows? Anything is possible.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 31.3  minutes, 14.9 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists

    Other players who wore No. 5 last season: Carlos Boozer, Josh Smith, J.R. Smith, Josh Howard, Martell Webster.

No. 6 LeBron James, Miami Heat

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    As one of the best current players to wear any jersey number, I am sure that this one was not a difficult one to predict.

    The "Chosen One" who changed his number to six when he left for Miami is not only the best to wear that number this season but for a very long time. If it were not for Bill Russell or Julius Erving, James would be easily considered the best to wear No. 6 all-time.

    After enduring huge amounts of criticism for losing to the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals, a seemingly more humble James has gotten back to work by working out with Houston Rockets legend Hakeem Olajuwon.

    Maybe for James and the Heat, his hard work will pay off, and he can get the title he has been chasing since coming into the league.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 38.8 minutes, 26.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists

    Other players who wore No. 6 last season: Tyson Chandler, Landry Fields, Andrew Bogut, Arron Afflalo.

No. 7 Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks,

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    If you see three lucky No. 7s come up in Las Vegas, it is a very good thing.

    When the New York Knicks saw this No. 7 just before the trade deadline last season, it was a very good thing as well.

    After being traded to New York and starting with a fresh jersey number, Carmelo Anthony instantly helped the Knicks to become relevant again in the Eastern Conference.

    Now playing alongside Amar'e Stoudemire, the two will make a great duo in the league. If the Knicks are able to add a player like Chris Paul or Deron Williams when they become free agents, they will be better able to challenge the big three of the Celtics and the Heat in the East.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 36.2 minutes, 26.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists

    Other players who wore No. 7 last season: Lamar Odom, Brandon Roy, Andrea Bargnani, Ben Gordon.

No. 8 Deron Williams, New Jersey Nets

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    Eight is great.

    After the surprise trade that sent him out of Utah, All-Star and fan favorite Deron Williams was able to find a new home in New Jersey. Although it remains to be seen if he will stay with the Nets when he becomes a free agent, he is the best player to be known by No. 8.

    Even though he is arguably the best point guard in the league, he has made the most news this offseason by making plans to play in Turkey if the lockout continues.

    I wonder if Besiktas will allow him to wear the number eight and how you say it in Turkish.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 37.9 minutes, 20.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 10.3 assists

    Other players who wore No. 8 last season: Monta Ellis, Danilo Gallinari, Michael Beasley, Jamario Moon.

No. 9 Tony Parker, San Antonio Spurs

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    Six players who wore number nine last season averaged more than 10 points per game. With some of the rising stars sharing this number, it was a tough call to make.

    Tony Parker makes the list in this spot not only due to his play this last season but for leading his team to a great record in the Western Conference when the Spurs were not expected to be that good.

    If you add last seasons level of play to his three All-Star appearances and his three NBA titles with San Antonio, Parker becomes the best candidate for this position.  

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 32.4 minutes, 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists

    Other players who wore No. 9 last season: Rajon Rondo, Serge Ibaka, Luol Deng, Gilbert Arenas.

No. 10 David Lee, Golden State Warriors

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    The jersey No. 10 has the distinction of being the only one to have a music album named after it. In the early '90s, Pearl Jam named their Album 10 in honor of Mookie Blaylock.

    Last season in the NBA the best No. 10 belonged to Golden State forward David Lee.

    Even though his offensive production dipped a little bit, Lee played well with his new team, and he will only continue to improve as he gets more comfortable in the Bay Area.

    Lee will most likely continue his high level of play and could return to being a league All-Star as he was in 2010.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 36.1 minutes, 16.5 points, 9.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists

    Other players who wore No. 10 last season: Chase Budinger, Samuel Dalembert, Eric Gordon, DeMar De Rozan.

No. 11 Brook Lopez, New Jersey Nets

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    Yao Ming, the most dominating player to ever wear No. 11, was not able to play more than a few games last season and was forced to retire at the end of the year.

    Had he been able to play in more games, he would have made this list.

    Brook Lopez of the New Jersey Nets is the best current player to wear the double ones. Playing in New Jersey, Lopez quietly put together a third good season in a row and has seen his statistics rise each year.

    Now that he has some help from All-Star point guard Deron Williams, there is a good possibility that his statistics will increase even more. If the Nets can find a way to keep Williams, he could make the other players in New Jersey better, and both can help the team to improve.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 35.2 minutes, 20.4 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists

    Other players who wore No. 11 last season: Chris Andersen, Mike Conley, Glen Davis, Jrue Holiday, Yao Ming.

No. 12 Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic

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    Everyone knows that Superman wears No. 12.

    With another obvious one here, Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic is easily the best No. 12 and will be one of the most sought after free agents in league history.

    Howard is a five-time All-Star, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and the only contestant to use a phone booth during a Slam Dunk Contest.

    After the lockout, Orlando had better figure out a way to keep Howard around. If that means adding players to support him, or paying him the maximum that they will be able to, they will have to do it, so they don't lose Howard the way that the Cleveland Cavaliers lost LeBron James.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 37.6 minutes, 22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    Other players who wore No. 12 last season: LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Martin, Evan Turner, Will Bynum.

No. 13 Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns

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    Don't try to tell Phoenix Suns fans that the No. 13 is unlucky.

    Steve Nash has been the best player wearing 13 on his jersey for a long time.

    After a couple of seasons in Phoenix and six years in Dallas, Nash returned to the Suns where he has had his best statistical seasons.

    At age 37, many expect Nash to start to slow down but the two-time league MVP and seven-time All-Star had one of his highest assist totals last year with 11.4 per game. He ranks sixth on the all-time assist list.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 33.3 minutes, 14.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 11.4 assists

    Other players who wore No. 13 last season: Tyreke Evans, James Harden, Joakim Noah, Mehmet Okur.

No. 14 D.J. Augustin, Charlotte Bobcats

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    So D.J. Augustin may not actually be the best player to wear the No. 14, but statistically speaking, he is about the same as everyone else.

    An argument can be made for several players, and no real superstar has chosen this number.

    For a player who some expect to lose his starting job to rookie Kemba Walker at some point during the next season, it is now or never for Augustin to improve his play and keep his job and continue to develop in the NBA.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 33.6 minutes, 14.4 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.1 assists

    Other players who wore No. 14 last season: Jameer Nelson, Jason Smith, Al Thornton, Ronny Turiaf.

No. 15 Al Horford, Atlanta Hawks

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    While Carmelo Anthony wore this number for 50 games with the Denver Nuggets last season, he is already on the list at No. 7.

    Of the players who were left after taking Anthony out of the running, Al Horford wins the distinction of being the best No. 15 in the league.

    Horford put up good numbers last season and has been able to improve in each of his NBA seasons. He is a two time All-Star and was named to the All-Rookie team.

    He quietly does a good job at the center position for a Hawks team that has several other good players and has several other offensive options.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 35.1 minutes, 15.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists

    Other players who wore No. 15 last season: Ron Artest, Derrick Favors, Vince Carter, Matt Bonner.

No. 16 Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers

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    Sweet 16 belongs to Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Even though only four other players even wore the No. 16 last season, Gasol is the best of them all.

    After being involved in two very lopsided trades in his career and being traded for his own brother, Gasol has found a home with the Lakers. He is responsible for helping Kobe Bryant to win two more NBA championships and is one of the most athletic offensive big men in the game.

    Gasol was the Rookie of the Year in 2002, and has been a four time All-Star. He is also the best player in league history that comes from Spain.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 37.0 minutes, 18.8 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists

    Other players who wore No. 16 last season: Peja Stojakovic, Marreese Speights, James Johnson, Francisco Elson.

No. 17 Andrew Bynum, Los Angeles Lakers

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    In 2005, the Los Angeles Lakers drafted a very big 18-year-old who had a lot of good basketball potential.

    After working with Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Andrew Bynum has not exactly set the world on fire with his play but is the best player that wore No. 17 last season.

    Having endured injury problems for several seasons, and playing in a crowded front court, Bynum did well last season to help the team where he could.

    Unfortunately for Bynum, Laker fans are still waiting for his play to match up to the potential that he has had since he has been in the league.

    Thanks to his contributions, he is a two-time NBA Champion, but I don't suppose that has anything to do with playing alongside Pau Gasol and Kobe Bryant.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 27.8 minutes, 11.3 points, 9.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists

    Other players who wore No. 17 last season: Anderson Varajao, Mike Dunleavy, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Ronnie Price.

No. 18 Omri Casspi, Sacramento Kings/Cleveland Cavaliers

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    The No. 18 is not a very popular one among NBA players. Over the years, there are a lot of players who have worn it, but none of them are superstars. Some of them are not even names that most fans would recognize.

    Last season was no different with only five players suiting up in 18. Omri Casspi gets the honor of the best current player in this number, but it is by a bit of default with none of them being that great.

    Casspi, the first Isreali born player in the NBA played last year for the Sacramento Kings, was traded in late June for J.J. Hickson and a future draft pick.

    Perhaps he can put up better numbers in Cleveland and be a part of the positive rebuilding process for the Cavaliers.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 24.0 minutes, 8.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 assists

    Other players who wore No. 18 last season: Anthony Parker, Roger Mason, Ben Uzoh, Sasha Vujacic.

No. 19 Beno Udrih, Sacramento Kings/Milwaukee Bucks

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    Like the previous number, 19 is not that popular of a jersey number among players today.

    Of the six players who wore it at all, only four wore it for more than 25 games last season.

    Former San Antonio Spur and two-time NBA Champion Beno Udrih comes in as the best of those six. He spent the last season in Sacramento with the Kings but was traded on draft night to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team trade for John Salmons and Jimmer Fredette.

    We will have to wait to see which number he chooses with the Bucks, but if he sticks with 19, he has a good chance of being the best at that number next season as well.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 34.6 minutes, 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists

    Other players who wore No. 19 last season: Wayne Ellington, Pape Sy, Louis Amundson, Raja Bell.

No. 20 Ray Allen, Boston Celtics

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    The No. 20 is a bit more popular of a number than the last two, but again, there are not that many great players who wore it.

    The best to wear No. 20 last season has got to be Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics. Not only is he one of the Big Three in Boston, he broke the all-time mark for three-point shots made last year when her surpassed Reggie Miller for first place.

    At age 36 and after 15 seasons in the league, Allen is still going strong. He is still a very good shooter and an outside threat that defenses must plan for. He is a 10-time All-Star and won an NBA title with Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 36.1 minutes, 16.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 20 last season: Raymond Felton, Manu Ginobili, Gordon Hayward, Quincy Pondexter.

No. 21 Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs

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    At No. 21, here is another player that should come as no surprise.

    Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs is one of the best power forwards in league history and the best current player at that number.

    Last season he and the Spurs exceeded expectations and ended the season in the top spot in the Western Conference. While some expect Duncan to be on the decline, he is still a great player in the league, a perennial All-Star and one of the good guys of the NBA.

    Duncan is a two-time league MVP and a four-time NBA Champion. With the career that he has had, he can truly say that he has done all that he possibly can in the NBA.  

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 28.4 minutes, 13.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 21 last season: Thaddeus Young, J.J. Hickson, Wilson Chandler, Greivis Vasquez.

No. 22 Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Despite only playing 54 games with the Memphis Grizzlies last season, Rudy Gay is still one of the most exciting young players and athletic forwards in the league.

    Due to a shoulder injury, Gay missed much of the regular season and the Grizzlies historic playoff run that saw the team win a playoff series as the eighth seeded team.

    Following the playoffs, some questioned whether or not Gay was needed on this team and if the Grizzlies would try to trade him away.

    No matter what the team decides to do with Gay, he is still the best player in the league that wears No. 22. If he can stay healthy, he should have a long and successful career.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 39.9 minutes, 19.8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists

    Other players who wore No. 22 last season: Taj Gibson, Thiago Splitter, Michael Redd, James Jones.

No. 23 Jason Richardson, Orlando Magic

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    Thanks to Michael Jordan, the No. 23 is perhaps the most recognizable and one of the most popular basketball numbers in the world.

    There was a time that every kid wanted to wear his number and "Be Like Mike."

    Despite the popularity of that number, only 10 NBA players chose to wear it this last season. Of those 10, Jason Richardson of the Orlando Magic is the best one to put it on.

    Richardson has put together a nice career despite bouncing around the league from team to team. He is scheduled to be a free agent when the lockout ends and could be on the move again. His athleticism and veteran leadership will make him a valuable player for many teams.

    Perhaps he is the type of player that the Magic need to keep in order to talk Dwight Howard into staying in Orlando for the long term.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 33.9 minutes, 15.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists

    Other players who wore No. 23 last season: Marcus Camby, Toney Douglas, Marcus Thornton, Louis Williams.

No. 24 Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers

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    If the players who represented No.s 6, 12, and 21 were obvious, No. 24 is an absolute no-brainer.

    As one of the top players ever to play the game, Kobe Bryant is clearly the best player to wear No. 24 not only last season but in any NBA season.

    Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion, a 13 time All-Star and has accomplished everything he can as a basketball player.

    Even though is statistics dropped slightly last season, so did his minutes per game to try to extend the career of the 32-year-old player. Regardless of his age, Bryant is still the most dominant player in the league and has several good seasons left in him.

    Perhaps when his career is finished he will end up being the best player of all time.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 33.9 minutes, 25.3 points,  5.1 rebounds, 4.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 24 last season: Paul George, Hilton Armstrong, Brian Scalabrine, Carl Landry.

No. 25 Al Jefferson, Utah Jazz

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    After spending three seasons in Boston and three seasons with the Timberwolves, the best No. 25, Al Jefferson, was as happy as he could be to be traded to the Utah Jazz before last season.

    Looking for a new start, the Jazz endured one of the most difficult seasons in team history.

    Jefferson had a good season individually, and was able to lead the team to wins on several occasions. Unfortunately injuries to other key players made things difficult, and Jefferson could not do it alone.

    Jefferson is a big part of the future direction of the Jazz, and if he can continue to average nearly 20 points and 10 rebounds, he will become a great leader of that team.

    As one of the most underrated big men in the league, Jefferson often flies under the radar and quietly puts up good numbers. If he improves on last season, he and the Jazz will get a lot more attention around the league.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 35.9 minutes, 18.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists

    Other players who wore No. 25 last season: Brandon Rush, Erick Dampier, Anthony Carter, Vince Carter.

No. 26 Kyle Korver, Chicago Bulls

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    Only two players dressed in No. 26 last season, and one of them has struggled to stay in the league.

    The better of the two, Kyle Korver, helped the Bulls make it to the playoffs and was a good support to the team off the bench.

    As one of the best three point shooters in the league, Korver has been an outside threat wherever he has played. A fan favorite, especially in Utah, Korver led the league in three-point shooting percentage by hitting over 53 percent of his attempts during his last season with the Jazz.

    His shooting numbers dropped a little bit in Chicago as he settled into a different team and role. Korver should continue to be a great shooter and one who opposing defenses must respect from outside. He will help open up the floor for Derrick Rose, Loul Deng, and Carlos Boozer.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 20.1 minutes, 8.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists

    Other players who wore No. 26 last season: Stephen Graham.

No. 27 Zaza Pachulia, Atlanta Hawks

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    The No. 27 is not one of the more popular jersey numbers in the league at this time.

    Only three current players wear No.  27, and none of them are considered great players in the league.

    The best of these is Zaza Pachulia of the Atlanta Hawks. Pachulia is a big center that is known for taking up space and averaging about four points and four rebounds per game.

    At 6'11", Pachulia will hang around the league for a while and has some good seasons coming off the bench ahead of him.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 15.7 minutes, 4.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, 0.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 27 last season: Jordan Hill, Johan Petro

No. 28 Ian Mahinmi, Dallas Mavericks

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    Two players wore No. 28 last season, and one of them ended up winning an NBA title.

    Even with the low offensive statistics and the limited number of minutes he played each night, Ian Mahinmi is the better player despite only playing in 56 games with the team.

    He barely beats out D.J. Mbenga who played in fewer games and averaged fewer points per game.

    Thanks to Dirk Nowiztki and Jason Terry, Mahinmi does have a championship ring for playing with the Dallas Mavericks last year.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 8.7 minutes, 3.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 0.1 assists

    Other players who wore No. 28 last season: D.J. Mbenga.

No. 30 Stephen Curry, Golden Sate Warriors

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    Six NBA players donned the No. 30 jersey last season, and an exciting young player was the best of all of them.

    Except for maybe David West, Golden State guard Stephen Curry is easily the best of the bunch.

    Matched with Monta Ellis, the two make up a high scoring duo for the Warriors.

    After being drafted with the seventh overall pick a couple of years back, Curry has quickly become a fan favorite in Oakland.

    Not only is he the best No. 30 in the league, he also wins the competition for the best NBA commercial that features a player as a young child.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 33.6 minutes, 18.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.8 assists

    Other players who wore No. 30 last season: Reggie Evans, David West, Troy Murphy, Brandon Bass.

No. 31 Jason Terry, Dallas Mavericks

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    It is well known that prior to the season Jason Terry got a tattoo of the NBA Championship trophy on his arm before he had even won a title.

    For that bold move alone and for he and the Mavericks backing up his prediction, he makes the list at the best player wearing No. 31.

    He would have made the list based on his play anyway, and he once again proved that he is the best sixth man in the league and an electrifying player off the bench.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 31.3 minutes, 15.8 points, 1.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists

    Other players who wore No. 31 last season: Shane Battier, Darko Milicic, Yi Jianlian, Nene Hilario.

No. 32 Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Over the course of NBA history, several of the best players ever to lace up the high tops have worn the No. 32. From Bill Walton to Karl Malone, and Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Kevin McHale, wearing 32 comes with a big responsibility and a lot of history.

    Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers is bold enough to wear that number and is the next in a long line of All-Star players to use it.

    Based on his play last year in his rookie season that saw him become an All-Star and the rookie of the year, he will be able to live up to the level of play of those who have gone before him.

    He is easily the best No. 32 in the league and only has potential to get better.

    Even if Griffin had not done anything else last season, he has made the Clippers relevant again, and that is no small accomplishment.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 38.0 minutes, 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists

    Other players who wore No. 32 last season: O.J. Mayo, Hasheem Thabeet, Richard Hamilton, Ed Davis.

No. 33 Danny Granger, Indiana Pacers

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    The No. 33 is another number that has been worn by some of the greatest players in NBA history. With players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird, Patrick Ewing, Shaquille O'Neal and Scottie Pippen, players who wear 33 now are in good company.

    The best player to have 33 last season was Danny Granger of the Indiana Pacers. Playing in Indiana, Granger is often a forgotten player, but he was able to lead his team to the playoffs despite ending with a losing record.

    The Pacers have a good group of talented players, and with the addition of George Hill through a trade on draft night, they are a team on the rise.

    Pacer fans hope that Granger can continue his strong play and continue to lead this team in the future.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 35.0 minutes, 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.6 assists

    Other players who wore No. 33 last season: Marc Gasol, Grant Hill, Ryan Anderson, Brendan Haywood.

No. 34 Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

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    The third of the Boston Celtics's big three now checks in on the list of best players by jersey number.

    Wearing No. 34 and having experienced the highs and lows of playing for the Celtics for the past 13 seasons, Pierce is a nine-time All-Star, an NBA Champion and an NBA Three-Point Shootout champion.

    He is one of only three Celtic players (Larry Bird and John Havlicek) to record over 20,000 points while just with the Celtics.

    Pierce is a guy whose toughness is never questioned. His play earned him the nickname "The Truth" from fellow number 34 Shaquille O'Neal, and his ability to return to the court after being stabbed 11 times is remarkable.

    If he and his other two amigos can find a way to get past the three in Miami, Pierce may have another title coming his way.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 34.7 minutes, 18.9 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.3 assists

    Other players who wore No. 34 last season: JaVale McGee, Devin Harris, Antonio McDyess, C.J. Miles.

No. 35 Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder

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    In a few seasons the No. 35 and the best player to wear it will not only be the best player in the league but will become the face of the NBA.

    Since coming into the league in 2007, Durant has been a great scorer, a dominant player and has shaped the success of the franchise in Oklahoma City.

    As a two-time All-Star, and the Rookie of the Year, Durant has gone on to lead the league in scoring average and total points for the last two seasons.

    Durant and his sidekick Russell Westbrook led the Thunder deep into the playoffs before losing to the eventual champion Mavericks last season.

    The Thunder are one of the most exciting young teams in the league that have the ability to challenge anyone for an NBA title.

    It will not be long until the road to the Finals goes through Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder on a consistent basis.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 38.9 minutes, 27.7 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 35 last season: Brian Cardinal, Chris Kaman, Trevor Booker, DaJuan Summers.

No. 36 Shaquille O'Neal, Boston Celtics (Retired)

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    I know I said that this is a list of active players, but with the No. 36, there is not much to choose from.

    After playing what turned out to be his last season in Boston, Shaquille O'Neal retired and left behind the game that he dominated for so many seasons.

    Due to O'Neal being one of the greatest players of all time and his retirement coming after last season, I will allow him to make the list.

    My only other option at this jersey number was Etan Thomas who only played in 13 games.

    Besides, any time "The Big Aristotle, Cactus, AARP" or whatever he is called, can get into a list, it is a good thing. 

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 20.3 minutes, 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 36 last season: Etan Thomas

No. 40 Kurt Thomas, Chicago Bulls

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    The No. 40 was used by only five players last season. Of them, there was a rookie that barely made the team, a guy who played in just two games with Portland and the fourth wheel of the Super Friends in Miami.

    The best player in No. 40 is one of the most experienced players in the league. Kurt Thomas last played for the Chicago Bulls but has spent time with eight other teams.

    Thomas has been in the league long enough to have endured the last lockout, be involved in a trade with Martin Mursepp and Jamal Mashburn and be in the top 100 of total games played all-time.

    Despite his low offensive statistics, he was a solid veteran player that helped the young Chicago Bulls last season. Maybe he will pick up an NBA title before he hangs up the sneakers.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 22.7 minutes, 4.1 points,  5.8 rebounds,  1.2 assists

    Other players who wore No. 40 last season: Udonis Haslem, Jeremy Evans, Jon Brockman, Earl Barron

No. 41 Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks

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    NBA Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki is not only the best current player with No. 41, he is the best international player and best overall player with that jersey.

    Of the four other players in this category this season, none of them came close to the 23 points per game scoring average that Nowitzki put up this season. None of them even averaged more than five points per game.

    After beating the odds and the Miami Heat in the Finals, Nowitzki helped to solidify his place in history as one of the greatest players the game has ever seen.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 34.3 minutes, 23.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.6 assists

    Other players who wore No. 41 last season: James Posey, Kosta Koufos, Darnell Jackson, Garrett Temple

No. 42 Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves

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    After a draft day swap of players, Kevin Love ended up playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves. He also chose jersey No. 42.

    In his third season in the league, Love was able to improve his statistics greatly and is known for the incredible double-double streak that he put together last season. He led the NBA by grabbing over 15 rebounds per game.

    Despite his high level of play, the Timberwolves continued to struggle and only won 17 games.

    Minnesota did draft in the second position in the most recent draft and picked up Derrick Williams who should help the team to improve.

    With a number 42 like they have, the team is off to a great start.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 35.8 minutes, 20.2 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.5 assists

    Other players who wore No. 42 last season: Elton Brand, Jerry Stackhouse, Morris Peterson, Alexis Ajinca

No. 43 Kris Humphries, New Jersey Nets

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    Two frontcourt players wore No. 43 last year. After Kendrick Perkins was shipped out of Boston after playing a few games with the Celtics, he changed his number to 5.

    That left New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries to proudly display the No. 43 for the remainder of the season.

    After being drafted by the Jazz, and bouncing around the league a little bit, Humphries enjoyed his best NBA season by averaging a double-double with the Nets.

    Most notably for Humphries is his recent marriage to model Kim Kardashian. In addition to basketball he has done well to fit into the reality show and may have a career in television when he is done playing.

    I would not be surprised if Humphries is somehow traded to the Lakers of the Clippers at the request of his wife who will no doubt want to live close to her family.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 27.9 minutes, 10.0 points,

    10.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists

    Other players who wore No. 43 last season: Kendrick Perkins

No. 44 Chuck Hayes, Houston Rockets

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    After it was evident that Yao Ming was not going to play much basketball this past season, Chuck Hayes was one of the players called on to take his minutes and play the center position.

    At 6'6", Hayes is already undersized as a power forward, but did a good job filling into any position he was asked to play.

    He is the player that wore No. 44 that had the best season last year, statistically speaking.

    The Rockets were able to add some big men in the draft to help them in the middle. Marcus Morris was drafted from Kansas, and Lithuanian Donatas Montiejunas was acquired in a trade.

    Perhaps these players will actually help Hayes to feel that he can play fewer positions, and his numbers will go up.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 28.1 minutes, 7.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 44 last season: Dante Cunningham, Kyrylo Fesenko, Anthony Tolliver, Solomon Jones.

No. 45 DeJaun Blair, San Antonio Spurs

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    Five players had the No. 45 last year, but only one of the played in more than 50 games.

    When DeJaun Blair dropped to the San Antonio Spurs on draft night in 2009, many around the league felt that the team had struck gold in the second round once again. 

    In his two seasons in the league, Blair has been a solid player who has shown improvement from year one to year two.

    Starting 65 games last year and averaging over 21 minutes per game will help him to continue to develop into the dominant player the Spurs will need in a few years when Tim Duncan calls it a career.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 21.4 minutes, 8.3 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.0 assists

    Other players who wore No. 45 last season: Cole Aldrich, Rasual Butler, Carlos Arroyo, Derrick Caracter

No. 47 Andrei Kirilenko, Utah Jazz

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    The No. 47 is an odd number to see on the back of a basketball jersey.

    In all of the history of the NBA only four players have ever been known to wear the number, and Andrei Kirilenko has worn it for the most seasons.

    The only other notable player to wear 47 is Hall of Famer Jerry Lucas who had it in 1970 when he played for the San Francisco Warriors.

    Last year, Kirilenko was the only 47, so by default, he was also the best.

    In the last year of a maximum contract that he never really lived up to, Kirilenko showed some signs of consistent play and leadership. He also battled injuries that left him to play in only 64 games.

    When the lockout ends, Kirilenko is a free agent, and it remains to be seen if he will stay with the Jazz or move on to another team.

    Either way, due to his unique nickname "AK47" and the wide availability of the No. 47, he should not be changing numbers any time soon.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 31.2 minutes, 11.7 points, 5.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists

    No other player wore No. 47 last season.

No. 50 Zach Randolph, Memphis Grizzlies

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    Like the No. 00, when you see No. 50, it is usually on a big man.

    Of the nine players who chose No. 50, all of them played either the center or forward position.

    Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies was by far the best of each of them. Not only did he average over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, he was a key player in the team that made the playoffs, beat the No. 1 seeded San Antonio Spurs and helped increase the excitement level of a fanbase who had waited for this for several years.

    Randolph, who is with his fourth NBA team has always put up good numbers and been a valuable player to each team he has been with.

    After agreeing to a four-year contract extension in April, Randolph will be around to enjoy more success with this young team on the rise.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 36.3 minutes, 20.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists

    Other players who wore No. 50 last season: Emeka Okafor, Tyler Hansbrough, Dan Gadzuric, Joel Anthony

No. 54 Kwame Brown, Charlotte Bobcats

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    One would assume that in a list like this it would be filled with players who were drafted in the first several picks over the years.

    Wearing No. 54 is a player who adds to that assumption and was taken with the first overall pick in the 2001 NBA draft.

    Unfortunately for Kwame Brown, he has played his whole career with the criticism of being one of the biggest draft busts in NBA history.

    Regardless of his past, he does make this list as the best player to wear No. 54. Playing for the Charlotte Bobcats, he appeared in 60 games and averaged right around his career numbers.

    Although his statistics continue to not be very good, he did average more points and rebounds than the other three guys on the list.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 26.0 minutes, 7.9 points, 6.8 rebounds, 0.7 assists

    Other players who wore No. 54 last season: Jason Maxiell, Patrick Patterson, Brian Skinner.

No. 55 Roy Hibbert, Indiana Pacers

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    No. 55 is another number that is often associated with a center.

    It should come as no surprise that 7'2" Roy Hibbert is the best to wear the double fives.

    In each of his three seasons in the NBA, Hibbert has been able to improve his overall game and has seen his statistics rise. Last year he was an important part of a Pacer team that ended a stretch without a playoff appearance to grab the eighth spot against the Chicago Bulls.

    Matched with Danny Granger and now George Hill who was acquired on draft night, the Pacers are becoming a team that could return to the playoffs for the second year in a row.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 27.7 minutes, 12.7 points, 7.5 rebounds,  2.0 assists

    Other players who wore No. 55 last season: Keyon Dooling, Reggie Williams, Eddie House, Luke Harangody.

No. 72 Jason Kapono, Philadelphia 76ers

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    Dan Dierdorf, Carlton Fisk, William "The Refrigerator" Perry and Ed "Too Tall" Jones all wore the No. 72.

    Unfortunately for them, none of them is eligible for inclusion on this list due to the fact that none of them played in the NBA, and none of them played last season.

    Philadelphia 76ers forward Jason Kapono appeared in 24 games and even started in two games for his team last year.

    While his recent statistics are almost too low to count, he can claim that he was part of an NBA Championship team with the Miami Heat in 2006.

    He can also say that he is the only player to ever wear the number 72 in an NBA game.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 4.6 minutes,  0.7 points, 0.5 rebounds, 0.2 assists

    No other player wore No. 72 last season.

No. 77 Vladimir Radmanovic, Golden State Warriors

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    An NBA jersey number in the 70s is not a common thing to see.

    For the first time in league history last year, two players wore the No. 77 in the same season.

    Prior to that, it has been worn by Gheorghe Muresan who was letting the world know how tall he was.

    As he had done in seven previous seasons, Golden State Warrior Vladimir Radmanovic proudly wore the No. 77.

    For the first time in his career, he was not the only player with 77 on his shirt, and he had to share the distinction with Sasha Pavlovic of the Boston Celtics. Pavlovic, however, only wore it for 17 games after signing as a free agent late in the season.

    While Radmanovic's statistics have declined, he has been in the league for 10 years and was the best player with his jersey number last year.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 15.8 minutes,  5.1 points,  2.9 rebounds,  1.1 assists

    Other players who wore No. 77 last season: Sasha Pavlovic

No. 85 Baron Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers

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    As strange as it is to see a jersey number in the 70s, to see one in the 80s is more bizarre.

    In league history, only seven players have ever had a jersey number that was any number from 80 to 89. Maybe there is an increase of this however, because four of those seven players wore a number in that range this past season.

    After being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Cleveland Cavaliers in February of this year, Davis became the best player ever to wear the No. 85 in an NBA game.

    So far, he is also the only player to wear 85 in and NBA game.

    After drafting Kyrie Irving from Duke with the first overall selection, Davis must now adjust to a new team and possibly a new role.

    Perhaps Davis' future in Cleveland depends how well Irving adapts to playing in the NBA. If Davis does leave, maybe he can try a number in the 90s with another team.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 25.3 minutes, 13.9 points, 2.4 rebounds,  6.1 assists

    No other player wore No. 85 last season.

No. 88 Nicolas Batum, Portland Trailblazers

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    Although it is unique, Nicolas Batum does not have the distinction of being the only player in NBA history to wear No. 88.

    During his second stint with the Boston Celtics, employee No. 8 Antoine Walker became employee No. 88 for several games.

    Batum does receive the honor for the best current player with the No. 88. Playing for the Portland Trailblazers, he has increased his scoring average and improved his game in each of the three seasons he has been with the team.

    Batum is a good enough player that if others had chosen that same number he may have been better than them anyway. Although he wins this award by default, he is also a deserving player that contributes to his team.

    Last Season's Offensive Statistics (per game averages): 31.5 minutes, 12.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists

    No other player wore No. 88 last season.

    Jersey information and statistics found at

    Follow me on twitter @JazzRSLExaminer or check out some of my other articles. Thanks for reading.

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