The New Orleans Pelicans are Anthony Davis. Davis averaged 24.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game over 68 games and led the Pelicans to the playoffs as the eight seed in the Western Conference. Not all was great this season in New Orleans. The injury bug crawled around and took out Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon for a majority of the season. Those injuries put a ton of pressure on Anthony Davis’ shoulders and gave more responsibility to Tyreke Evans. Evans had to transition to point guard when Holiday went down when he is a natural small forward. When the playoffs started, Anthony Davis exploded for 31.5 points per game which was the most over the first round. Tyreke Evans, who was consistent all season had a nagging knee injury in the playoffs. Jrue Holiday was a non-factor and the Pelicans were swept by the Golden State Warriors. Upon exit, head coach Monty Williams was fired as head coach. There is still a vacancy at the position. The Pelicans will need to build through free agency. They traded a first round pick to the Houston Rockets last season for Omer Asik who is an unrestricted free agent. With not having a first round pick, the Pelicans only pick in the draft is 56th overall out of 60 picks in the draft. The Pelicans have a a lot of work to do to build a championship team around Anthony Davis. Lets see who could be in New Orleans next season.
F Chris Walker, Florida
Chris Walker was a prized prospect at Florida with star potential. He was a troubled player at Florida and never reached his star potential. Walker averaged 3.7 points per game over two seasons at Florida and shocked the NCAA landscape by not reaching his potential. He left the program because Billy Donovan left and signed a long term contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He is a project who still has some potential. He is a risk but there isn’t much talent at the 56th pick of the draft. He is worth the risk.
SG Tyler Harvey, Eastern Washington
Tyler Harvey is good at one thing, and as shown in his photo above it is three point shooting. Harvey has had a very successful two seasons at Eastern Washington scoring 21.8 and 23.1 points per game respectively. He shot 43% from behind the arc both seasons averaging 8-9 3 pt shots per game. Since he went to Eastern Washington there will always be questions about competition level while at college. Any team can use an extra three point sharp shooter to come off of the bench.
PF Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons
The New Orleans Pelicans have been looking for another big man to be Anthony Davis’ counterpart. Omer Asik is an unrestricted free agent and Ryan Anderson is injury prone. Greg Monroe would be the perfect counterpart to Anthony Davis. Monroe averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game and and exploded onto the NBA scene when Josh Smith was released by the Pistons. Monroe already played well next to Andre Drummond which is why I believe be will play next to Davis. Davis and Monroe would be together for 10+ NBA seasons.
SF Gerald Green, Phoenix Suns
Gerald Green has been a productive swingman in a log jam of players on the wing for the Phoenix Suns. The log jam is the reason why I believe Green will leave Phoenix in unrestricted free agency. He is a freak athlete who can both dunk and shoot three pointers. Green can start and play a reliable sixth man role which the Pelicans need at the wing. He dipped in production last season only starting in four games. Green is a cheaper role player and a smart buy for the Pelicans.
PG Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
Jrue Holiday has been productive for the Pelicans when healthy but he has only played in 34 and 40 games the last two seasons. He has averaged roughly 14 points per game when he is in the lineup before averaging 17.7 points per game the season before he was traded from Philadelphia. The Pelicans need a durable point guard and Holiday hasn’t been durable. Tyreke Evans has been a nice piece next to Anthony Davis and they are looking for a third star. If Holiday can’t stay healthy they need to trade him.
Potential Trade Partners: Denver Nuggets, Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks
PG Ty Lawson, Denver Nuggets
Ty Lawson is a star and the Pelicans need to find another star to play next to Anthony Davis. Lawson averaged 15.2 points and 9.6 assists per game on a below average Denver Nuggets team. Before the All-Star break, Lawson was averaging 11 assists per game which was second best in the NBA. The Denver Nuggets are looking to rebuild and were shopping Lawson at the trade deadline which leads me to believe he will be traded. Jrue Holiday could be the centerpiece in the deal.
History tells me that the #56 pick will not be an everyday starter for the Pelicans if he even makes the team. There is a nice core of players on the roster for next season with Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon (Player Option), Ryan Anderson, Quincy Pondexter, and Norris Cole. Those voids will need to be filled through free agency. Anthony Davis will need to convince others to come to New Orleans. If this team can make the playoffs in the West without a bunch of stars, once stars go to New Orleans, they will be immediate contenders.