The draft is approaching, offseason will soon be in full swing. And our newly named franchise is at a pivotal time for our future. Many decisions that will be made in the next few months will have a huge impact on the future of the Pelicans. Who stays? Who goes? Which new faces arrive? Here are a few scenarios that we may follow...
Start with the draft.
Option 1 - We draft Victor Oladipo. I don't see much bust potential here. The guy works too hard and is too athletic to fail. Generally defense and rebounding will always transfer from college to the NBA. And this is the best perimeter defense in the draft. Being a defensive minded team, he fits well. Being a SG, he does not fit as well. We currently have EG and Rivers. Bringing in Oladipo gives a solid defender at the 2 for years to come. And for those who are ready to move on from Eric Gordon, this pick makes him expendable. We then look to trade EG for possibly an extra draft pick, or get a veteran to play our starting SF.
Option 2 - Draft Trey Burke. Again, probably not much bust potential. Could flourish in the NBA. There is no concerns about size. Put that baby to bed. Great offensive player with incredible range. Has the quickness and work ethic to become a decent defender, at least not a weak link. Much like Oladipo, we would be drafting him behind a current starter. I would much rather be drafting to fill a hole in the depth chart, but as usnfish pointed out before... At 27-55, we cannot afford to draft for needs. So we end up with a potential star in Burke, keep EG, look for a player in FA to address the SF.
Option 3 - Trade the pick. The problem with this draft, is that I only see 4-5 guys with star potential. Otto Porter, Ben Mclemore, Victor Oladipo, and Trey Burke. Porter and Mclemore are almost surely gone by the 6 pick. Oladipo will be a great defender but may never develop an offensive game. But do you pass up a chance to grab a star for role players? If none of these guys are available, look to trade.
- Trade with ATL for the 17th and 18th pick. We could target some quality role players with these picks.
- Trade with Utah for the 14th and 21st pick.
- EG to Pacers for Danny Granger and #23 pick.
- EG to Celtics for Jeff Green and #16 pick.
- EG to 76ers for Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner
- EG to Nuggets for Wilson Chandler
- EG to Portland for Wesley Matthews and Eric Maynor or JJ Hickson
This is not intended to be a knock on Aminu. He brings a lot of intangibles to the team, and should very much be brought back this offseason. But SF is the premier position in the NBA. It seems hard to survive with 7ppg from your SF. I would just like a little bit more scoring from there.
I like the scoring and range that Granger would bring to the team. But he is expensive, at 14mil next season, coming off an injury, and only has 1 year left on his contract. If a deal to keep him long term at a better price isn't worked out, could be a rental and set this team back.
I dont like the idea of bringing in Andre Igoudala. I absolutely love his game. He is a great team player, locker room guy, and plays defense. But he is entirely too expensive for what he brings. He is more Robin than Batman, and he thrives in that role. But I just can't see spending 15mil on someone who isn't the star of the team.
I would give serious consideration to guys like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (doubtfull he last to 17), Jamaal Franklin, Reggie Bullock, Mason Plumlee, Tony Mitchell, Tim Hardaway, JR with middle to late 1st round draft picks.
* My favorite pickups would be Franklin and Bullock. I consider Franklin a shorter version of Kawai Leonard. Very hard worker. Does a lot of things well, not outstanding at any one thing. And Bullock can be an above average shooter off the bench.
* Most of these guys would provide scoring from the 2, or in the case of Morrow and Young, and shooting threat off the bench.
So here are some possible depth chart scenarios for next season:
- PG - Vasquez - Burke SG - Gordon - Rivers SF Aminu - Morrow PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
- PG - Vasquez - Roberts SG - Oladipo - Rivers SF Granger - Aminu - Bullock PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
- PG - Vasquez - Rivers SG - Gordon - Jamaal Franklin SF Aminu - Bullock PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
- PG - Vasquez - Rivers SG - Gordon - Caldwell-Pope SF Aminu - Tony Mitchell PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
- PG - Vasquez - Burke SG - Tony Allen - Evan Turner - Rivers SF Thad Young - Aminu PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
- PG - Vasquez - Maynor SG - Matthews - Rivers SF Aminu - Morrow PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
- PG - Vasquez - Rivers SG - Tony Allen/Kevin Martin - Jamaal Franklin SF Jeff Green - Aminu PF - AD- Anderson C Lopez - Smith
Last point, I just want to say I am not on board with trading away Gordon unless the return is hefty. He has not been the most reliable player, obviously. But right now he is our ONLY scorer. Yes, we are a defensive team. But at some point, somebody has to score. We get upset with Gordon and his health issues, but there are few people who can give you 20ppg. He can be that guy. And if he ever blossoms into the star, we will have him at a decent contract.
My favorite scenario, assuming Burke and Oladipo are off the board, is trading for ATLs 2 picks, and picking Jamaal Franklin and Reggie Bullock.