Four huge pillars of weakness could slow down the Pelicans this year. They’re bad, but not unfixable.
1: Mid-Range Shooting Inside the paint and outside the three line, Pelicans do a good job. It’s that pesky area in between where they seem to really suffer. Holiday has a good spot on the left side of the elbow that he likes to take jumpers, but there isn’t a consistent force out there threatening in that area. The ability to draw defenders out there can open up the paint even more, get too-late fouls for Davis and the other bigs and draw defenders away from Ryan Anderson’s shot, even if it appears it doesn’t even matter.
2: Rotations Monty Hall, why you scared? I get that someone in the front office wants Eric Gordon to be the future (more on that below) but that Holiday/Evans backcourt is going off. Hall also suffers from a similar problem of fellow Southwestern division rookie coach Dave Joerger. They both don’t know how to make rotations as if their lives depended on it. Keeping players in too long, unable to make the right substitutions and returning to lineups that don’t work.
3: Bench To be fair, some of that rotation problem is like using a band aid on the elevator door scene of The Shining. That starting five of Davis-Holiday-Evans-Anderson-Aminu works really well, even if there are problems. But a bench unit of Stiemsma, Roberts, Morrow, Rivers, etc. is such a precipitous drop that it should change the air pressure in the arena. Unfortunately, none of these guys entice trade bait, unless a team is tanking hard.
4. Eric Gordon Forever on the cusp, rarely breaking ground on consistency. An investment too high to be placed on the second unit, where his court vision and shooting could REALLY come through. The argument that his heart is really in Phoenix. Getting outplayed by a guy who chose to come there in free agency. If they can’t get him to really lead the bench unit, I think it’s time to cut the losses.