FanPost

New Orleans Pelicans State of the Roster Address

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

{**This stuff is just pure gold! All 6,000+ words. Please leave Kevin, our newest writer, a comment or merely just thank him for his time spent on this exhaustive but exceptional piece. - Oleh}

We are a few weeks into the season, so it’s time we start assessing what we’ve seen from our current roster, from their contributions, or lack of, to nicknames. It’s also time to start looking around the league for ways to improve our team.

Current Roster:

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Jrue Holiday

Holiday seems to have knocked the rust off after a very average performance on opening night (actually, a really disappointing game because he was up against a rookie and a depleted backcourt); he’s again looking like he belongs on top of that 2nd tiered cluster of PGs with the potential to leap into the upper 7. His assists are down, but that’s mainly due to the playmaking of Evans and the ice buckets for hands of Eric Gordon and every SF not named Tyreke. He’s been very solid as a defender getting steals and blocks and using his length to disrupt everyone except Tony Parker, though a lot of Parker’s points came against other defenders.

If he can make the slight statistical jump to 17PPG, 7APG, 4RPG, with a 37-39% 3pt avg, 1.8-2SPG and limit his TOPG to 2 or below he will be playing his role perfectly. He’s not really a fiery floor general, which is why I don’t think he’ll ever actually move into the upper-level of PGs in the league. I just don’t think he has the personality for it, which is okay. We don’t need that from him. AD has taken over as the leader and Tyreke provides the nastiness and attitude. He is a great third wheel to those two because he isn’t ever going to demand to be the man, but has the ability to take over if injuries or slumps dictate it.

He came in with the nickname, "The Jruth," which is clever and rolls off the tongue, but I’m not really sure his style of play equals the weight of that nickname yet. He’s more of an, "Anonymous Donor" to me. A guy with a wealth of skills who uses those skills to make everyone around him better...quietly... in a way that can be overlooked if you just look at box scores.

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Eric Gordon

This is so painful. Being a basketball nomad until we took the Hornets from Charlotte, I was able to just roll with teams whose players and/or style of play I liked. Being a life-long New Orleanian, I’m a sucker for teams with a long history of being losers. So in the days of Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson, Andre Miller, Elton Brand, Chris Kaman and Corey Maggette (but mostly the days of Bill Walton’s commentary —I wish that was still a thing), I was at times glued to these terrible Clippers’ teams on League Pass. I enjoyed watching a team of all athletic SFs go against teams playing traditional positional basketball. There was a lot of crazy passing and athletic moves around the basket, but very little wins. Also, I had season tickets for the Ditka era Saints so I understand being in a tormented fan base.

To summarize, I had a soft spot for the Clippers until the Chris Paul trade, so I really was excited to land Gordon. I was extra excited that Dell was also trying to get Eric Bledsoe in the deal, which would have been a great consolation prize to this Eric Gordon disaster. I know it’s hard to imagine now, but I watched Eric Gordon in a Clippers uniform looking like he was going to be a breakout star. Now he’s a broken man. I can’t figure it out. How do you completely lose your offensive game when you practice every day? I understand a loss of speed and athleticism with a history of knee injuries, but he’s completely lost his handle and his jumper.

I can’t remember a time when I’ve watched a player look this miserable. Even KG carrying terrible T-Wolves rosters on his back didn’t look this pained. A change has got to come. He can’t keep playing 30 minutes a game with his horrendous PER. Monty can keep him in the starting lineup if he wants to stroke his ego, but he needs to manage his minutes like the Thunder did with Sefolosha and Harden. We don’t have a Harden, but anyone is more efficient than Gordon. I’d like to see him get moved to the bench to see if the pressure of being a starter and the guy that replaced CP3 disappears and maybe gets him going. If he played less minutes with Evans and Holiday and he became the facilitator for the 2nd unit, maybe that could provide a spark. It can’t be any worse than it is now.

He has the worst contract in the league right now, making him nearly impossible to move. Maybe a benching and some psychiatric work could convince him that he just needs a new start. If we can get him to opt out, then we either move his expiring deal or watch him walk at the end of the year. It’d be hard to walk away from $15 million, but if you are as miserable as Gordon looks, maybe the grass looks really greener anywhere but here. Maybe he opts out —either signs a 1-year near minimum for a team in desperate need for a guard or even a Spurs/Thunder/Bulls-like team that wouldn’t need a go-to guy, but can afford to take a cheap gamble on resurrecting a guy’s career at low cost. Maybe he even plays overseas for a year and finds his game.

But more likely we are stuck with him for two years. Either way, he is at least playing decent defense, finding his teammates for buckets at a decent rate and is pretty much the reason we landed AD so try not to hate him too much. Let’s just hope his role gets better managed down the stretch because we can’t let one player cost us close games. If we could have gotten anything out of him this year, we probably would have won 2 of the Mavs, Grizz and/or Cavs games making us look like a real playoff team and future championship contender.

I call him, "The Collective Groan" as that’s what you hear around the arena when he enters the game/touches the ball. I really don’t know what happens to his hands in the 4th quarter, but it always reminds me of that Dwight Schrute quote about having all 10 fingers on one hand so the other hand could just be a fist for punching. He seems to just punch the ball into the worst turnovers of all time. He’s become the king of the double single. I wanted to love you Eric, I really did. I hope we find happiness away from each other. It’s not you or me, it’s us.

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Tyreke Evans

As I said before, I was a League Pass junkie and a tormented fan-base sympathizer. In the 1998-99 season I fell in love with the Jason Williams’ elbow passes to Chris Webber and the challenge this huge underdog playing non-traditional abstract expressionism basketball presented to the good old boy styles of the Karl Malone/John Stockton lead Utah Jazz in the playoffs. This kept me a Kings fan until Jamal Mashburn was shipped to me, but I’ll always have a soft spot for the them.

I’ve kept up with Kings on LP, so I’ve seen a lot of Tyreke Evans in their uniform. His rookie year was amazing, but the post-Adelman era revolving door of bad coaches, bad schemes, bad rosters and bad owners which all began to destroy this extremely talented player. It was painful to watch. It was a lot like watching the Saints wasting Pierre Thomas. I think those guys are a lot alike in a way. Both have shown a solid skill set, but somehow go under-appreciated and under-utilized by their coaching staffs and the national media. Pierre is the back who can do it all well and do one thing (the screen pass) better than most in the entire league. Tyreke defends, rebounds and facilitates, but he gets to the basket better than most people in the league.

It’s hard to fathom actually. Everyone knows he’s going to drive the lane. He doesn’t even switch hands. He drives to the hole dribbling with his right hand nearly every time he touches the ball, yet he still gets to the rim and the ball doesn’t leave his right hand. He’s like the bigger guy that holds your head at arms length and just lets you swing yourself exhausted knowing you’ll never connect. It has to be so frustrating to defend. It’s awkwardly beautiful to watch.

So being a recovering Kings fan I was really excite that I’d get to watch Evans flirt with a triple double every night, but then Monty Williams happened. I know his positional movement in Sacramento had limited his development so I understood the initial plan of bringing him in as the 6th man, but I always felt he was a better player than everyone not named Anthony Davis on our roster. I was really hoping for a double point guard approach with Evans and Holiday sharing the initiator role with Gordon moving to the bench or off the team.

That didn’t happen, the 6th man role didn’t work. Still Monty kept him on the bench even after Holiday went down with an injury, which was infuriating. I sit in section 109 right behind the Pelicans bench and would go hoarse yelling for Tyreke to replace Brian Roberts. Finally, Roberts got hurt and Monty had no choice. Tyreke exploded.

It’s great that he’s made his way into the starting lineup and while he is a good enough defender to guard SFs and has the athleticism to create a mismatch on offense against most SFs in the league, I’ll always say he is best fit to play the point. A backcourt of Evans and Holiday would so frustrate the rest of the league with their size and length. Ask Chris Paul what it’s like to be guarded by Evans? Believe me, he doesn’t want to go against him ever again. He’s very good at the 3, but I’m hoping we make a move that allows him to slide next to Jrue to have a backcourt as terrorizing as our frontcourt.

Evans is a Swiss Army Knife of a player, he can a little bit of everything. Now that he’s added a reliable 3, and knows to only use it when it’s extremely open, he has solidified himself as the 2nd star we needed to pair with AD. He’s so good that even when he misses it’s a good play. His ability to get to the rim creates so much opportunity through his own scoring, put-backs from Asik and Davis on misses and finding open shooters. Anthony Davis is clearly the best player on this team, but Tyreke is my favorite player. The best part is that unlike Eric Gordon, his contract is one of the best in the league. He’s missing more around the rim so far this season, but his positive impact on this team is undeniable and we all know those layups are going to start dropping on a much more consistent basis soon.

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Anthony Davis

Davis is the basketball Jesus -- he has saved basketball in New Orleans. Hopefully the city will now finally accept basketball into their hearts.

Anthony Davis eats souls and destroys planets. Dr. Octagon had a song, "Halfsharkalligatorhalfman" and Davis is a similar Frankenstein monster of a creature. He’s more, "Halfpterodactylgazellehalfstretcharmstrong" but whatever he is, it’s beyond anything the world has ever seen.

I mean, http://www.nba.com/video/games/pelicans/2014/11/14/0021400128-min-nop-play1.nba/ come on NO, how are you still cheering for the Lakers at Pelicans’ home games?

The greatest marketing/money-making scheme of all time could be keeping AD off of national TV. He is likely single-handedly responsible for 70% of all league pass subscriptions. He’s a breathing League Pass billboard. He’s a Tasmanian Devil tornado of limbs and an impala with sledgehammers for hands with a guards handle, weird post moves and a developing jumper.

Amen.

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Omer Asik

Wow. I knew this was an upgrade, but I never expected this pairing to be so good so fast. This could be a one year rental, but I can’t see him wanting to leave an opportunity to play alongside AD for the rest of his career. I don’t know if there is a better big man pairing anywhere else in the league right now (especially if you add Ryan Anderson and his unique skill set to the mix). The closest contenders are the trio in Chicago, Randolph and Gasol in Memphis and Griffin and Jordan. I’d take our trio over all those combinations. Only Chicago has a quality third big.

The best thing about Asik is that he clearly knows his role. He’s there to rebound and protect the rim. He doesn’t take a 16’ jumper, he doesn’t hold the ball. He’s there for a put-back, an open dunk or he gets the ball out of his hands. He sets great screens, is an underrated passer and is a bully in the paint.

Every night it’s like watching a grown man play king of the hill against kindergartners. It’s Kramer in karate class. Like Holiday, he’s a guy whose numbers don’t reflect his impact, nor do they matter to him. He’s not going to try to get stats, he’s going to do what it takes to win the game. His defensive footwork is amazing. He’s like the Hulk with a ballerina’s feet. I actually think he looks a lot like Judge Reinhold if he ate one of the growth mushrooms from Super Mario Brothers. I wish they’d play the Beverly Hills Cop theme when he scores instead of the Turkish national anthem. My partner in season tickets has taken to calling him, "Wild Turkey" which is pretty solid.

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Ryan Anderson

Dell Demps takes a lot of criticism...for reasons I’ll never understand. Sure, he may have paid too high of a price for Holiday, mistakenly matched the Gordon contract (but it’s easy to second guess this gamble now) and gave John Salmons about $1.5 million too much money this offseason. However, he has built a great young core of diverse pieces that is perhaps one more move away from being in the annual contender conversation.

Ryan Anderson was the first piece in a shrewd young asset collection. For the incredibly low cost of Gustavo Ayon and $9 million/year, Dell stole a prototypical flame-thrower of a stretch four that has improved his post game, mastered that Jordan-esque spin-fade-away jumper and is a solid rebounder. At 26, he’s just entering his prime. When Anderson gets hot it’s some of the most beautiful basketball you’ll see.

Our trio of bigs are so complementary to each other that any combination of them works. You can play all three together and not have the spacing issues the Pistons have when they go with the Drummond/Monroe/Smith combo, or they can play in any combination of pairs effectively. Last season was obviously the toughest year of his life, but he’s looking healthy and happy. The battle for the 8th seed and 6th man of the year will be between the Pelicans and the Suns. Whoever (Anderson or Thomas) gets into the playoffs gets the 6th man. Monty has been willing to go with the three guard lineup for long stretches, but with Gordon struggling so much, I’d really like to see more of the three big line-up -- which would make Tyreke a strong All-Star candidate.

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Austin Rivers

I’ve been on an emotional roller coaster with Rivers since the combine. As much as I love basketball, I’m not a big fan of the college game so I mainly have to go by other people’s analysis and highlight packages when it comes to my own draft scouting.

Coming in, I knew Rivers had a seriously flawed jumper and was maybe not athletic enough to take advantage of NBA defenders. I did like that he wanted to come here and was the son of an eventual Hall of Fame coach. In the days leading up to the draft, Lillard (my 2nd pick target) began to climb up draft boards so I was willing to accept Rivers as a consolation prize. However, Drummond began to tumble and my heart began to race. Imagine the coup of landing Davis and Drummond in the same draft? The Pistons killed my vibe and Austin became a letdown of a selection.

His horrible rookie season gave me grave concerns. He couldn’t shoot, couldn’t finish, looked completely lost and his slow first step was extremely worrisome. Oleh would say that Rivers would reward us for our patience -- I was not a believer. His second year was a season of slow improvement. In the first three quarters of the season he looked better on defense and his quickness was improved, but he still didn’t look like a player. I wanted to like him, but I mostly wanted him to click his heels together three times and go back to Duke.

The final quarter of the season, he did a complete 180. His handle looked great, he frustrated his cover, he was the light beer version of Tyreke with his penetration and he became a reliable catch and shoot scorer. This offseason has shown that my impatience in him has been rewarded. He gets to the rim and finishes with Evans-like consistency and that jumper has become an even more reliable weapon. His defense and heart were never in question, but now his offensive game has caught up. It’s still early in the season, and initially I didn’t like the 3-guard lineup with Rivers and Evans on the court at the same time as their skillsets overlap and both are best as the designated driver, but with both players becoming reliable catch and shooters, I’ve grown more fond of the pairing.

Even though we didn’t pick up his option, I’m hoping and remain optimistic that we will retain him as a solid bench player for years to come. He could replace Gordon in the starting unit this season, but I’d rather we grab another player, preferably a SF. We could move Tyreke to SG and have Rivers lead the 2nd unit with a hopefully motivated Gordon and Anderson giving us solid bench production.

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Alexis Ajinça

If Ajinça could learn to not foul, he’d be a very solid bench producer for us. Unfortunately, he’s an Acme giant magnet for fouls. This not only limits his ability to stay on the court and be aggressive, but it also gets us in the penalty early. I wish he could spend the offseason working with Roy Hibbert in order to master the straight up and down defense because everything else about his game could make him a solid contributor.

He is slow, but he has great length. He’s a good rebounder, has a nice jumper and post arsenal and is a good passer. It’s a shame he gets 3 fouls during player introductions. Until he learns to avoid cheap fouls we need to find another productive big man.

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Jimmer Fredette

I’ve never been a Jimmer fan and I don’t think I’m going to start being one anytime soon. He has a pedigree of taking Jason Williams ill-advised shots without Williams' playmaking or ability to play the passing lane. Sure, he can have a game where he gives you 30, but he probably took 25 shots to get it.

I didn’t like this signing, but he’s still young and cheap, and with the loss of Morrow, we needed more shooting. He’ll never replace Morrow in my heart or my Instagram feed. He’s also fallen into the Monty doghouse for some reason, so with his contract he could be a piece we use in a roster move.

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Luke Babbitt

I affectionately call him, "My Chemical Small Forward" because he looks like he was in that band. If Rivers was the Bud Light to Tyreke’s Budweiser (although, Tyreke is a much better beer than that, actually maybe he’s a cognac), Babbitt is the Michelob Ultra to Ryan Anderson’s Michelob AmberBock.

I love his G.I. Joe rubber band waist jerky pump fakes. He has shown a solid shooting stroke, is an ok rebounder, but what I like most is the way he swings the ball around the perimeter. I think he can be a solid bench contributor, but we haven’t seen it yet this season. In his defense, he’s had very little opportunity and has a broken finger on his shooting hand. He looked good against the T-Wolves, but even Gordon shot 100% in that one, so I need to see a string solid outings from him. I want him to develop, but I’d also move him for another piece if the opportunity was there.

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Darius Miller

He’s become Wonder Woman’s jet -- he’s invisible. He showed some stuff last year and I thought he could become the 3 and D guy we needed to play solid minutes at SF. My favorite moment for Darius was when he was thrust into PG duty with Evans against the Clippers and helped contribute to the worst game of Chris Paul’s career. I’m hoping he finds himself soon because we really need someone other than Anderson and Rivers to produce off of the bench.

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John Salmons

Being a League Pass fanatic I’ve seen a lot of Salmons playing poorly for a lot of teams. Now I have to see him play poorly for mine. :(

I wouldn’t have minded this signing as much if it was for the minimum, but if you combine his salary with Fredette’s we could have retained Anthony Morrow with whom Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans had great chemistry, provided a deadly shot, had some backcourt length and was clearly a great bench/veteran presence.

Salmons has looked worse than I had even predicted he would. He is the Stiemsma of 2014. I call him, "The People’s DNP" as you only want to see him in the box score in a 30 point win. For a guy who was brought in for veteran leadership, he seems completely disengaged. Maybe he’ll retire or his salary can make a trade work for us.

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Jeff Withey

For some reason he’s not getting any real run. I thought he showed enough last year to get some meaningful minutes this season. Obviously frontcourt health and the addition of Asik plays a role, but considering his block rate and decent touch it seems like he’s being underused.

I think if we are able to make a small trade to upgrade the roster Withey could be a key piece. He’s legit 7’ and has some solid defensive skills. He may flash enough potential that we can flip him to a team with a glut of wings that needs some added youth or depth at center.

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Patric Young and Russ Smith

We haven’t seen enough of these guys to really form any opinion. Both guys are raw and play positions that are already occupied by much better players. These guys can hopefully develop into bench contributors or be used to acquire upgrades. In reality, we shouldn’t want to see them in games this year as that likely means we are having injury issues.

Trading for Upgrades:

I’m also a trade machine junkie. I love looking at potential moves that would reshape rosters/make sense for both teams. I’m admittedly a total homer, but I’m trying to be as realistic about ways to improve our roster (no trades for Lebron will be found here), still I’m probably overvaluing a few of our assets. Our biggest needs are another starter to replace Eric Gordon (this could be a 2 guard or a SF that moves Evans to the backcourt -- which is the ideal solution) and another bench contributor.

Small Forward Deals:

First Target: Wilson Chandler

An athletic 3 and D guy with some F-U in him. He doesn’t need the ball in his hands, can stretch the floor or drive to the rim. Denver is terrible and have too many redundant players. They will fire Shaw and start a dumpster fire. Only Lawson and Manimal are safe there.

If we could get Gordon to agree to opt out, we could maybe move him for Chandler and another contract (but that’d be a tough sell). Otherwise we could maybe trade Salmons, Babbitt and Ajinça with some some 2nd round picks to Denver for Chandler and one of their trade exceptions. The trade machine won’t let me see if this works because we can’t trade Salmons yet. But I think with an exception thrown in, the salaries work.

This would also open up playing time for Russ Smith, Darius Miller, Patric Young and Jeff Withey (or any of these guys could be thrown into a package). The starting 5 would be Holiday, Evans, Chandler, Davis and Asik with their backups being Rivers, Gordon or Fredette (depending on the trade package), Miller or Babbitt, Anderson and Withey or Ajinça. I think that makes us a much better team. We just need Denver to continue its rapid decline.

Second Target: Gerald Green (actually Green and Chandler are co-first targets) or TJ Warren

The Suns are a fun team with a lot of redundancy. I’d love to take one of these wings off of their hands. They are thin up front, so maybe a Withey and/or Young trade works for them with some picks. I don’t know if they can really give up one of these guys, but they just have a lot of people at the 3 and 48 minutes to split amongst them.

Green would put us solidly in the playoffs. He’s a FA next year and if we don’t get a solid rotation with quality depth by then, I hope we go after him hard. TJ Warren has a very unique offensive skill set. He makes shots from weird angles and is getting more range. Green would be more ideal as he flourishes in catch and shoot situations, can play the 2 or 3, is a NBA starter right now and is already used to playing with dominating ballhandlers. TJ Warren at minimum would give us a lot of raw potential at a low salary that could be a starter, but may be a bench guy at this point in his development. I wouldn’t mind seeing him join our collection of guys who score in weird ways.

Third Target: T-Wolves’ Wings

I’d mainly like to see Corey Brewer here. He’s a good 3 and D player and solid athlete. He’s the only player who showed up in our dismantling of Minnesota. However, they also have some other wings that could be had. It could be worth taking a flyer on Muhammad or Robinson III. Maybe even Kevin Martin is made available. I’d take him over Gordon as the starting 2 right now. Salmons contract and Fredette’s shooting could be used with picks to land Brewer any of these guys.

Fourth Target: Khris Middleton

This is very much a betting on potential move, but I think it can be low risk. He just got a DNP or two in Milwaukee so everything isn’t going well at the moment. They have too many of the same type of player. They lack perimeter shooting, so maybe a Fredette for Middelton trade works for both teams.

We could try him as the starting 3, thereby moving Evans to the backcourt and Gordon to the bench. If Gordon finds his game and Middleton somehow finds himself with a below Gordon PER, we could always send him to the bench and ride with what we already had without having lost much in the experiment. A low risk gamble that works for both teams.

Fifth Target: Jeff Green

I think he’d be a good fit, but unfortunately I don’t see a way this works without giving up too much or Danny Ainge just losing his mind and taking a terrible deal. That being said, he’ll be an expiring contract next year as will Gordon, maybe a move gets made then if we want to give up another 1st. Not sure if that would be a good idea, but he’d upgrade our rotation.

Sixth Target: Chris Copeland

Another 3 and D guy that could send Gordon to the bench and Tyreke to the backcourt. I think he’s a really solid role player and Indiana may start to save money/add assets in an obvious down year. Send them Babbitt, Fredette and Ajinça or Withey with a couple of 2nd rounders and add a very good role player that works very well with the rest of the starting 5.

Seventh Target: Martell Webster

He’s been injured, but should be coming back soon. He now finds himself fighting for minutes behind the veteran Paul Pierce and the emerging youngster Otto Porter. At 6’7" 230lbs, he has good size and can swing between the 3 and the 2. He shot 39% from 3 last season and there’s no reason to believe that stroke is gone. He’s just over $5million a year in salary, so it would require some creativity to land him, but I could see Washington moving him for other parts. Their frontcourt is old so Withey could be in play here. They’d have to be willing to take one year of Salmons to help make salary work out. With our cap situation it may be a move that has to happen next year, but he’s worth keeping an eye on.

Eighth Target: Jae Crowder

This would be a tough get, but he’d make a solid 3 for us. Dallas has a lot of wing guys, so if they feel they could use a young big body, maybe a Withey and picks trade could happen. But honestly, I don’t see them letting him go. However, he is a FA next year, so if we can get Asik at a discount maybe we could swipe Crowder too.

Ninth Target: Cleanthony Early

The Knicks currently have no rim protectors and a lot of guys that can play on the wing. I really liked Cleanthony in the draft and was hoping we’d land him. He’s a project, so this is more of a long term move, but would ease the loss of the Holiday trade 2nd pick. Swapping Withey for Early could be very beneficial to both teams.

Tenth Target: Jordan Hamilton

The Jazz have a lot of guys that play his role. He’s pretty untested, but has potential. Give them BYU legend Fredette and see if Hamilton can be a player for us whether it’s starter or bench production. We know what Jimmer is, and I’m not a fan. We could give Hamilton some minutes and see if he’s a fit. At minimum he’s got length and athleticism.

Eleventh Target: The Lakers

The Lakers are bad and delusional. They start Boozer over Davis, think they are a playoff contender, etc. Maybe we can get them to bite on Gordon. We give them Gordon, they give us Nash, Wesley Johnson and Wayne Ellington. Either Johnson, Ellington or Rivers become a starter or end up beefing up the bench and the weight of Gordon is gone. The Lakers don’t realize they should tank, they may want a guy who at some point has shown he can create for himself to ease Kobe’s burden. It’s unlikely, but you never really know with LA.

Shooting Guard Deals:

First Target: Troy Daniels

He has a great contract so I doubt Houston would let him go, but maybe a backup young big (Withey and/or Young) with some picks could make that work. I’d move Gordon to the bench and let Tyreke penetrate and kick to Daniels for all of the open 3s Gordon has been missing. He already has playoff experience and hit some really big shots in his young career.

Second Target: Jamal Crawford

There are a lot of rumblings about the Clippers moving a guard and Crawford seems most likely. The main issue is what can we give them? Also, there’s a fit issue. We’d be adding another ball dominate player. However, he’s been a 6th man, has taken a backseat to Paul and Griffin so it could possible work. He can’t be worse than Gordon. We need a veteran presence with playoff experience. I just don’t know what we have that they would want. They need a reserve big, so Withey could be in play. I’m not sure I’d give up Rivers in a deal to gamble on fit with Crawford, but I’d certainly think long and hard about it. This move is very unlikely, but worth thinking about.

Third Target: Tony Wroten

Again, this move is unlikely, but the Sixers are trying to tank and playing a guy with this kind of heart can win you a few games you don’t want to win. A super high energy guy that could play the 1 or 2 and add some spark and size to the 2nd unit, or maybe even get him in the starting backcourt. Adding Withey to the future Noel/Embiid rotation and some picks may make this work. They owe us a deal.

Big Men Bench Boosting Deals:

First Target: Kyle O’Quinn

This is a, "we are stuck with Gordon and just need to improve our 2nd unit move." I really like O’Quinn. He’s a good passer, he’s a high energy guy. A very solid rebounder with a decent jumpshot. I like his personality and his energy would help our second unit. He’s big enough to play center or could play the four in lineups with Anderson playing the 3. He’s not had a great start to this season, but he looked good last year and in summer league. With Ajinça’s fouling issues, O’Quinn could give us decent minutes as a rotational big.

Second Target: Jon Henson

I’d actually take the Bucks’ reserve big man over O’Quinn, but he seems less likely to be moved. He’s shown that he is a very solid rebounder, above average defender and has an adequate postgame, but with the return of Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia, combined with the drafting of Jabari Parker and Johnny O’Bryant III, Henson has seen a major decline in minutes. The Bucks need shooting, so maybe a deal built around Fredette could make this happen. Again, it isn’t likely, but he’d be a great backup to Asik/insurance in case he leaves.

Third Target: Kevin Seraphin

A young big body that could improve our depth in the frontcourt. He’s not spectacular, but is a solid rotational big.

Free Agents:

First Target: Ray Allen

A pipe dream, but who knows? Maybe Allen would enjoy a darkhorse with a very strong family bond. He can play with the next Lebron without all of the expectations and pressures that go along with it. Our starting 4 (minus Gordon) seem like they’d be fun to play with. Maybe our youth would be an energizer for him. He’d fill a giant need, and he should find himself back in the playoffs. Who doesn’t want to play with AD? Especially when that comes with Evans, Asik and Holiday. He’d give us the veteran leadership, shooting and championship experience we need. Dell, make this happen. Let’s all pitch in and buy this guy a subscription to League Pass.

Second Target: Jordan Crawford

I can’t believe this guy didn’t land a job in the NBA this offseason. He’d be great on the 2nd unit or even as a starting 2 with our surrounding talent. He gave the Warriors some very solid minutes last year.

Third Target: Shane Battier

Solid experience and leadership. Can stretch the floor with the 2nd unit. This would be a Monty Williams dream come true. Let’s also all pitch in and buy this guy a subscription to League Pass.

Fourth Target: Emeka Okafor

I don’t know what he has left physically, but if you can get him at a low cost he could likely be productive in short minutes.

This is mostly a bunch of pipe dreams. I know we are kind of stuck with what we have because of Gordon’s contract, but some almost seem logical. Anyone else have targets in mind?