This morning, Oleh went over the positives for bringing Markieff Morris to New Orleans. He made a good argument, but I'm not feeling it. The baggage. THE BAGGAGE! Morris' on-the-court contributions do not outweigh everything that is associated with him off the floor, especially at the expense of one of the faces and leaders of the Pelicans, Ryan Anderson.
So, okay. Let's just breathe for a few seconds. In and ou-HEY, YOU! Seriously, in through the nose... and out through the mouth - just do it.
The Pelicans are 5-16, which is good enough for the second worst record in the Western conference, only placing ahead of Kobe and the Gang out in Los Angeles. Yeah, it's that bad for tNew Orleans after just completing of a fourth of the season schedule.
Fortunately, the Pelicans live in West (now isn't this weird to read!), which gives Gentry's squad a chance to redeem itself and squeak into the lower tier of the conference. Below the top six in the West, each team boasts at or below .500 and New Orleans has the unique opportunity of redeeming itself and sneaking into the lower seeds of the playoffs.
But things look bleak, and the Pelicans seem lethargic simply running back in transition. I mean, shit! Anthony Davis literally called out his teammates for not competing with any sense of urgency.
So you're telling me that Markieff Morris, a player that is currently dealing with legal charges for his alleged part in an aggravated assault that was prompted by "an inappropriate text message" to the Morris twins' mother, will bring the Pelicans more discipline, more energy, more focus to a team that desperately needs leaders on the court?
Among the roster, only three players are above the age of 29. Anderson at 27, a known locker room leader having one of his strongest offensive seasons in his career, shooting a career best 44.7 percent from the field and a solid 37 percent from deep, has to demand more from a market begging for stretch fours than a disgruntled fringe starter dealing with legal troubles.
Though his defensive struggles persist, trading Anderson seems premature. Could Morris' defense help the Pelicans sneak into the lower couple spots in the West? He's not Draymond Green, not even close.
No one expected the Pelicans to eclipse the top tier of the West. Sure, losing to the Celtics after impressive wins against the Cavaliers and Spurs hurts, but why trade a key asset to address a "now" problem, as opposed to building for the future, allowing the roster to have enough wiggle room to pair top talent with Davis?
Would Morris pair better with Anthony Davis than any other player on the roster, when Alexis Ajinca and Davis may have already developed into a solid pair? I have no clue. But I have strong feeling trading Anderson won't help any of the other players in the team better acclimate to Gentry's up pace tempo, a system that only Anderson has seemed to consistently thrive from in the early going.
I won't sugar coat things, I'm a huge fan of Ryan Anderson in Gentry's system, and trading him now would be prudent. Why not stay the course, have Eric Gordon and Anderson's contract come off the books this summer, and sign a top two-way player to pair with Davis? Maybe Anderson would agree to re-sign and give New Orleans a hometown discount. Or the Pelicans might even get lucky from suffering through a woeful season: snag a top pick in the draft and select the kid down the road.