When you first look at the Pelicans roster, another PF/C (Big) does not jump out as a position of need. Besides having Anthony Davis, the best big in the NBA, the Pelicans have a stretch four in Ryan Anderson and two traditional centers in Asik and Ajinca/Withey (assuming 2 of them get resigned). So theoretically, with some continuity and health, the Pelicans probably have one of the better front lines in the NBA.
However, if the Pelicans want to add some more depth and flexibility to their front line, they need another tweener big on the roster. The one player the Pelicans missed the most last year in my opinion was Jason Smith, a big who could play either the 4 or 5 position on the floor. That lack of depth was exposed in the Playoffs versus Golden State when the Pelicans just didn’t have the type of big-man to make the Warriors pay for going small on offense without being a liability on defense.
Unfortunately, the Pelicans don’t have a lot cap flexibility this summer to go out and get a guy who can play the 4 or 5 position. As explained in multiple posts covering the Pelicans, the Pelicans will almost certainly try to resign Asik so that Dell can use the MLE (up to 4 yrs. and $24 mil.) and BAE (up to $2 million per year) to go out and sign two other players without being restricted by the cap. So it is safe to assume that Asik is coming back, and the Pelicans have the use of the MLE and BAE to find a tweener player.
The obvious candidate to fill the void left by Jason Smith, is the man himself. My boy David Fisher makes a compelling case for bringing back the original Pelican here. To be brief, I would not mind seeing Jason Smith back at all. The major concern with Jason Smith has never been his play, but his health. So, I think there are better options the Pelicans could get for the same or similar price.
After spending endless hours scanning the NBA Free Agency pool, the one guy I have had my eye on for a while is Lavoy Allen. Who is Lavoy Allen? Here are some basic stats on him.
But beyond the basic stats, his advanced stats look pretty good. Lavoy had a defensive rating of 102 last year. He has an crazy ass offensive rebound rate of 4.1 per 36 minutes. What I like more than just those numbers is Lavoy Allen’s size. At 6’9", 255 lbs with a 7’ 3" wingspan he is more than capable of backing up both the 4 and 5 positions. To give Lavoy’s giant wingspan some perspective, his wingspan is one inch under Alexis Ajinca 7’ 4" wingspan.
To me Lavoy has every bit the same potential to be a slightly better rebounding and defending Marreese Speights. (For those of you who have tried to whitewash it from your memory, Mo Speights was the guy who made the critical rebound and pass to Steph Curry in game 3.) His mid range jump shot is mechanically unsound, so it tends to be a bit inconsistent, but if his jump-shot is falling, he is a starting caliber NBA player.
While David West was injured during the first 30 games of the season, Lavoy averaged 7 points and 7 rebounds - in just 20 minutes per a game. Otherwise, he has fairly good footwork in the paint and a soft touch around the rim. That, combined with the fact that he only made about $1 million dollars with the Pacers last year, makes him a great candidate for the BAE in my opinion.
But enough about my opinion. To get more information about Lavoy, I went to a fellow SB nation blogger for the Indy Cornrows, C. Cooper. Here was his take on Lavoy Allen:
When Indiana’s front-court depth was ravaged by injuries to start the season and the team was forced to apply for hardship exceptions just to stay afloat, Allen proved himself more than capable of swimming, rather than sinking, when given a larger role. The former 76er’s post game has little to offer beyond inconsistent hook shots and his mid-range shot is shaky at best (25.9%), but he is a master at creating and converting second-chance points. As a reserve, Allen grabbed a team-high 12.8% of the Blue & Gold’s misses and he connected on 70.7% of his put-backs. Given that Indiana’s offense (23rd) and field goal percentage (23rd) both ranked in the bottom-ten of the league last season, his ability to generate multiple looks at the basket should not be understated. Though Allen’s minutes gradually tapered off as the roster’s health improved and he, unsurprisingly, ran out of gas, the moxie the second-year Pacer showed when asked to provide more than mere emergency depth made Frank Vogel’s decisions regarding playing time decidedly more difficult. Productive without making much of a dent in Indiana’s salary cap, Allen earned every bit of his distinction as one of Zach Lowe’s Luke Walton All-Stars.
In the end, what Lavoy really offers is a backup player that would help fill a spot of need on the roster, and having a player capable of playing both the 4 and 5, while likely only requiring a minimum contract to do so. Lavoy is a low-risk, medium reward type player, as C. Cooper points out. His knack for offensive rebounds also makes him an interesting pairing with a bench player like Tyreke Evans, known for being an expert on the Kobe Assist.
So, what is your opinion? Should Dell take a look at Lavoy Allen with the BAE?