The New Orleans Pelicans have been besieged by injuries since last season ended. Quincy Pondexter and Jrue Holiday required surgery. Tyreke Evans had surgery in May and again in October. Omer Asik, Alexis Ajinca, and Luke Babbitt all went down with strains to the hamstring or calf. Norris Cole suffered the dreaded high ankle sprain. A franchise that hoped to field one of its deepest rosters since the heyday of Chris Paul suddenly required the immediate services of any competent NBA point guard.
Thankfully the Pelicans got a bit of good news late on Monday. First, their waiver claim on point guard Ish Smith went through and he will be in uniform on Tuesday night. Unlike roster hopefuls like Bo McCalebb and Bryce DeJean-Jones the Pelicans have some semblance of an NBA player in Smith. He's played nearly 2000 NBA minutes in the past two seasons alone spread across 125 games for the Phoenix Suns, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Philadelphia Sixers.
Ish Smith is official. He’s on the Pelicans opening-day roster, just released.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) October 26, 2015
Is Smith going to light the world on fire? No. He cannot shoot. However, he is a pretty decent distributor. Last season the Sixers played Smith an average of 27 minutes a game and he chipped in 12 points and 6.1 assists with a reasonable assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.2. It is highly unlikely Smith is going to win a game for the Pelicans during his stay. Compared to the alternatives he is also much less likely to lose a game for them and that's the draw for General Manager Dell Demps.
For fun, let's take a peek at peak Ish Smith. It is unlikely that he will perform this well for the Pelicans. They just don't make highlight reels for average players having average games.
On the injury front both Alexis Ajinca and Luke Babbitt could play tomorrow night. Pelicans.com posted interviews with both players Monday afternoon which tipped their hand somewhat over their impending availability.
Alexis Ajinca and Luke Babbitt not listed on Pels' injury report for tomorrow. Asik, Cole, Evans, Pondexter listed as out.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) October 27, 2015
I am quite surprised that both are not listed on the injury report at all. I doubt that is an accurate reflection of their health at this point. Probable or questionable is a more-apt description. Assuming neither has a setback over night (which is absolutely possible, either could wake up tight considering their injuries) the Pelicans will have more depth than anticipated against the Golden State Warriors.
|PG||Jrue Holiday (15-20 mins)||Nate Robinson||Ish Smith|
|SG||Eric Gordon||Alonzo Gee|
|SF||Dante Cunningham||Luke Babbitt|
|PF||Anthony Davis||Ryan Anderson|
|C||Kendrick Perkins||Alexis Ajinca|
Realistically the Warriors should blow the doors off that team. But compared to only going nine deep it is a massive improvement!
Next off the injured list will probably be Omer Asik.