File this one away in things that make you go hmm - Jimmy Smith, a columnist for the Times-Pic that can usually be barely bothered to write about the Pelicans, wrote a long broadside against the Pelicans front office today. You should probably go read the whole thing, but here is the key quote:
If, 80 games into a season, a team cuts an offseason free-agent signee and replaces him with a nomadic journeyman who has compiled an undistinguished NBA resume over the last 12 years, only one conclusion can be drawn: Someone made a serious miscalculation last summer.
It also plainly illustrates the need for a fresh, additional voice in personnel matters.
Just playing devil's advocate, there are a couple of folks out there with Louisiana, and New Orleans, connections who might be available for hire this summer: Joe Dumars and Avery Johnson.
Yikes, that's harsh - Joe Dumars, really? It's interesting to note that discontent with the current state of the Pelicans is welling up in a city where the news media doesn't pay too much attention to basketball. We would certainly argue the blame is misplaced - we'd rather see Monty excoriated for inexplicably playing Stiemsma all year - but nonetheless, seeing this kind of outrage is a bit new.
Tyreke Evans took some major steps since he was named a starter, but there's still a lot he can work on in the offseason. Thankfully, Monty seems to see that his jump shooting is his biggest problem:
"All guys have to improve," said Williams. "I think for Tyreke, from the offensive side, he knows he has to become a consistent shooter. And it doesn't mean 3s. Just being able to knock down shots off pick-and-rolls so teams can't go underneath and back off of him.
"He's a willing passer. He sees the floor well. Defensively, his awareness on the weakside is a big deal for most young guys. We're still trying to figure out where his best position is for our team. At times, it looks like the point guard position. I know it's not the three. That's something I know for sure. It's a tough deal for him to have to guard 6-8, 6-9 guys, especially when they post him up or rebound.
There are a couple of really important details there - first, that he wants him to not only get better at shooting threes, but also at being able to hit jumpers off of pick and rolls. That ability would really open up a lot more offensive options for Tyreke and those that play around him. It's also interesting that Monty sees him not as a three. Of course, we think that Monty focuses too much on traditional positions, but I think his observation that Tyreke has been pushed around by bigger threes has been accurate. If they see him being deployed less along with two other guards next season, then you would think that would lead the front office to find ways to reduce their guard glut.