Several days ago, there was a rumor floated that the Philadelphia 76ers were interested in possibly signing Norris Cole. On a lot of levels, it makes sense. They've got the cap space, and with Michael-Carter Williams traded away last season, Philly rotated through a number of lower tiered point guards: Ish Smith, Isaiah Canaan and even Larry Drew.
Thus far, their 2016 depth chart has Tony Wroten and our old friend Pierre Jackson. Both of them are 21 and 23 respectively and have combined to start 15 games in their young careers. In addition, both possess strong score-first mentalities. Cole would add some veteran savvy to a squad likely looking for a little more stable decision making considering they will be looking to run their offense through the post a little more with Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor.
I'm of mind that Norris Cole won't receive a large enough of an offer to want to leave New Orleans. He quickly adjusted to his new home, Dell Demps has consistently expressed a desire to retain Cole and he is a central figure in the locker room.
Anthony Davis (@AntDavis23) April 16, 2015
However, regardless of whether Cole re-ups, the Pelicans could use additional insurance at guard, and the main reason is Jrue Holiday. His right tibia has caused him to miss significant time over the last several seasons, and with the team set to increase the pace, it would be prudent to have a back-up plan in place now. Band-aids, like in the form of Gal Mekel and Nate Wolters, just won't cut it for a team with serious playoff aspirations.
If by chance the Pelicans are hit with injury at the guard position yet again, it's important to have a player be able to step in with knowledge of all the strategies and plays. A fast paced team that looks to be aggressive early in shot clocks requires it.
So, the million dollar question is who should the Pelicans bring along for the ride next season, Seth Curry or Larry Drew II? First, let's have a look at their statistics from the 2014-15 D-League and 2015 Summer League.
|Larry Drew II||11.2||3.6||9.6||3.1||47.5%||42.1%|
And through 3 games of the 2015 Summer League:
|2015 Summer League||PPG||RPG||APG||TOV||FG%||3FG%|
|Larry Drew II||9.3||4.7||9.0||2.7||45.0%||55.6%|
The numbers do justice for each player. Curry is known as a scoring combo guard as to where Drew is a pass-first point guard. On it's face, this is really a comparison of apples to oranges so it's pertinent to calculate where the team's bigger leaks may appear in 2016.
Last season, the Pelicans bench averaged 31.9 points a game in about 17.3 minutes. According to Hoopsstats, that was one of the better scoring ratios. However, the reserves average of 6.0 assists per game was not. Despite the presence of Holiday and Evans, the point guard position was the 2nd worst performing group for the Pelicans when compared to the rest of the NBA.
|2015||Efficiency Recap Difference||Team Ranking|
Last year, Ridiculous Upside took an in-depth look at Seth Curry and correctly pointed out his flaws: playmaking, points in the paint and defense. Although this past week Curry has improved the ability to get to the free throw line (7.3 FTA), I'm yet to see the requisite improvement on defense. His steals have been nice, but his lateral quickness has shown issues staying with Rashad Vaughn, Jordan Crawford and Markel Brown.
So far in Vegas, the Pelicans have outscored the opposition by 22 points. Curry has a +/- of +15, but Drew is sitting much prettier at +38. With a team returning nearly the same group of reserves of Alexis Ajinca, Luke Babbitt, Dante Cunningham and Ryan Anderson, Evans and Cole will not need help scoring as much as they do pushing the action and defending the point guard position. Drew has acquitted himself better in these areas than Curry.
Thus, despite Alvin Gentry and Darren Erman's ties to the Curry family after having spent time in Golden State, I think they should be more inclined to lean towards Drew.
The way the NBA is now, people are not pigeon hold to one thing. People just play basketball and you saw the way the Warriors won the championship, they just have guys out there playing basketball.''
If the Pelicans have to rely on either player much next season, chances are New Orleans will be looking from the outside in on the playoff picture. However, for the limited amount of run that will probably be necessary, the vote should go to Drew's vision and defensive activity.
Ok, I've seen enough. Put Larry Drew II on the roster Dell. Making old-school Rajan Rondo plays out there. I LOVE IT. #PelicansSL— Joseph Billiot (@jdbillio) July 13, 2015