After not reaching the playoffs for several years since hiring Alvin Gentry. The Pelicans were looking towards another bad season. Which it was.
They would take Ls regardless of how good Davis was playing.
Anthony Davis is arguably the best big man in the league. Started swinging since game one.
Jrue Holiday never played like an all star he was in Philadelphia. Still solid though.
Everyone else was okay or awful.
Then All Star Weekend rolls around and the Pelicans trade Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, a first round pick, and a second round pick for Demarcus Cousins and Omir Casspi.
Although Casspi got hurt after the first game. Cousins and Davis on the court together looked very promising.
They got at least 40 points and 20 boards every game. Still needed to build chemistry on the court but they got better as time went on. Almost made the playoffs.
Due to the Pelican’s irresponsible spending the summer before. They were limited in building a championship team around The Brow and Boogie. Which put pressure on the front office because Cousins is an unrestricted free agent this year. He can easily leave, so they needed to make a playoff team ASAP to make a case for why he should say.
In the draft, the Pelicans moved up from pick No. 40 to No. 31 to draft Frank Jackson. Who will most likely develop into a decent back up point guard, maybe a starter due to his size and ability to play both guard spots. Not a bad choice considering the lack of depth.
Then the Pelicans trade Tim Frazier for pick No. 52. Then gave it up to the Indiana Pacers for cash consideration. Which was a head scratcher. Not a terrible move because they cleared up space but gave up a decent back up in a position they don’t have a lot of depth at.
Then they extended Jrue Holiday after not having the cap to get Kyle Lowry or George Hill. He’s still a solid starter. Just average considering how stacked the NBA is at point guard. Now he’s getting paid over 25 mil a year. So he needs to start playing like a true star. He needs to stay healthy too. Only 3 seasons breaking the 70-game threshold. But he competes on both sides of the floor and doesn’t need the ball to do damage. Plus, Davis likes him.
Then the Pelicans go and sign Rajon Rondo. May not be the all-star he once was but, he still faciliates better than most point guards. His numbers dropped last year but I blame the poor situation he was under. The Chicago Bulls’ organization seemed split on competing for a championship and rebuilding. They trade away pieces such as Taj Gibson for younger assets, but still make moves to improve the team. Rondo stepped it up in the playoffs though averaging a double-double and really made the team better. Then suffered an injury and the team came crashing down. Still valuable and for only 3.3 mil a year? I’m taking him. Plus, Cousins likes him.
Pelicans signed Darius Miller and Ian Clark who are low cost efficient players. Both are good 3pt shooters. Gives the team depth at the wing.
This team looked like a solid 7th or 8th seed. As long as they don’t get hurt.
The Pelicans started the season playing like an 8th seed team. Throughout the year they would win one game, lose another, win two games, lose two more. They’re longest win streak is four games.
Boogie and The Brow played really good together. Davis gets 26.9ppg, 10.7rpg, 1.3spg and 2.1bpg. Cousins got 25.2 ppg, 12.9 rpg, 1.7spg and 1.6bpg. They basically carry the team every game. If they both have an off game, the team will definitely lose.
Holiday has stepped it up this season. More consistent. He has been playing like a star. Solid on both ends of the floor. And facilitates the ball well when Rondo’s off the court.
Rondo has been facilitating real well this year and still plays solid defense. He’s had a some games where it seemed like every pass lead to a score.
The rest of the team has been lackluster. E’Twaun Moore is okay.
Definitely need more pieces to really be a force in the west considering all the talent.
Recently Cousins tore his achilles. Went through surgery. That killed the Pelicans chance at 8th seed. Davis can’t produce 40 points and 20 boards every game.
Then they finessed the Bulls and got Nikola Mirotic. He’s Ryan Anderson except Nikola can actually provide more than shooting. He’s not Boogie but he still gets you double digit points, some rebounds and is a good defender. That’s enough to push them towards a playoff spot.
I think the Pelicans are okay for now.
2018 Offseason(Missed the Playoffs)
Let’s say more injuries happen, or they just miss the playoffs.
I’m pretty sure Cousin’s is leaving. And will go somewhere that’s a contender, or at least near contention.
That means the Pelicans need to hurry up and build a winning team around Davis or he may leave in the future too.
So I expect them either to use the cap that got cleared up from expired contracts and add a few stars and/or role players to put around Davis. O they trade for picks, build through the draft and perhaps sign young talent.
If they decide to attempt to build a winner quick. Assuming they roll with Jrue Holiday at PG. I think they should go for players 3 and D players at the wing and a solid defender at the center position. Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are good fits. Especially Bradley. Holiday can drive it in and kick it out for the open three. Davis can draw doubles and kick it out to Bradley for the open three. Then on the other end, be a tough defender along side Holiday. Their versatility can allow them to switch off as well. It would work nicely. If they just want a pure shooter. J.J. Redick would do the trick. They still need depth at PG and the wing though. E’Twaun Moore is a decent back up at SG and will bring points off the bench. They can sign Nick Young or Seth Curry to get points off the bench too. But they need more. Especially at PG if they don’t re-sign Rondo. They can sign Tim Frazier again. Decent floor general and is already familiar with the team. Trey Burke is a nice option at back up PG too, has some upside as well. He’s had some good games with the New York Knicks this year. If not those two, they’ll probably get Michael Carter-Williams or Shane Larkin. At SF, Jeff Green and Michael Beasley look like nice options. Both are versatile. They have some options going this direction.
If they keep Rondo at starting PG, that means Holiday is at the SG spot. And Bradley wouldn’t be necessary. Maybe for depth, but he’ll want to be a starter. Ariza is still a good pick up at SF for the same reasons. Most of what I said will still hold true.
Regardless of what happens with Holiday and Rondo. They need a big man to replace Cousins. Alexis Ajinca sucks. Emeka Okafor is old and got signed due to injuries. They need something there. PF is solid, Davis is a superstar and Mirotic is a starter at back up. Nothing wrong there. But they need someone else at center. Brook Lopez and Greg Monroe are decent veteran options. Lopez can stretch the floor and is a solid defender. But lacks at rebounding. Monroe will consistently get double-doubles. But lacks at the defensive end, basically another Enes Kanter. I’m not sure if they’re cost efficient though. Especially Lopez, mostly because he declined this year. They can get players with upside as well such as Nerlens Noel and Alex Len. Noel is a really good defender. Len is a board collector. Both have potential to be true studs. Javale McGee may be a good option too. He’s a presence in the paint. In my opinion, he’s underrated. Jahlil Okafor is a good back-up option.
If all else fails. They’ll move Davis to center and start Mirotic at PF.
If they make some of these signings or pull off some nice trades they could still be competitive next year.
If they choose to sign younger talent and build through the draft. They’ll miss the playoffs for a season at least.
2018 Off-season(Make Playoffs)
Cousins is most likely staying if the Pelicans make the playoffs without him. Which means the Pelicans need to improve even more.
Cap will still be a problem. Cousins is making over $18mil. Will most likely demand $20mil or more. Which makes it harder to add more pieces unless if someone takes a pay cut.
The safest bet is picking the right players in the draft. But they still need more to take the next step.
Jrue Holiday’s contract may hurt them. He’s good, but I don’t think he’s $26mil a year good.
Assuming they sign Cousins for $25mil. They have as little money to work with as they did last off-season.
They could try to trade Solomon Hill(stuck with him for three more seasons) and Alexis Ajinca(stuck with him for two). But they’ll have to give up picks or something to have a chance to get rid of their contracts. They’re probably stuck with them. Nobody wants them.
Since cap is an issue again. League minimum players are their best bet to improve once again. Rondo may come back. He’s had success and he likes Cousins.
Young players such as Okafor or Trey Burke are likely options. Trevor Ariza may be possible if they can snag him for less. But I don’t see much change happening.
Mirotic may be as much improvement as they’ll get until those bad contracts expire.
Unless the finesse another team.
Regardless what happens. I expect them to be a low seed team again. Unless of they hit gold in the draft or Holiday turns into a superstar or Solomon Hill starts playing like $12mil. I won’t expect anything more.