NBA free agency is starting to slow down, and much to the chagrin of the average Pelicans fan, the Pels were not able to sign one of the better free agent wings. Though this may be hard to believe now, all hope is not yet lost! There is still time to go dumpster diving for wings . . . here is just a sample of what you can find.
- Jeff Taylor: Jeff is the most interesting yet troubling player on this list. At 6’ 7" and 225 lbs, he has the right size and weight to play either SF or as a small ball PF. Just three years ago, he was coming off an impressive rookie season with Charlotte, where he proved to be an athletic player who could shoot the ball from deep, shooting 34% from the three point line. Since then, however, it has been straight down hill for Jeff Taylor. During his second season, he tore his Achilles Tendon just 8 games in. In his third season, he was convicted on a domestic violence charge, accepted a 35 game suspension, and then was promptly benched for the rest of the season. He may already be out of the league with his injury and personal issues. Nonetheless, if he can put together a season similar to his rookie season, he would be a steal for almost any NBA team.
- Luigi Datome: Luigi is a goofy name for a kind of goofy player. Still, I would be excited if the Pelicans were able to sign him as a backup small forward. Luigi has been a journeyman NBA player but stuck in Boston for the past year where he quickly became a fan favorite. He shot 47% from the three-point line last year!!!! It is important to note, this was only on 36 attempts. Nonetheless, he is a guy who could basically fill the role of Luke Babbitt but provide just a little bit more hustle and grit. Datome won’t provide much of anything on the defensive end of the court but honestly neither will Babbitt.
- Glenn Robinson III: Want a young NBA player with all the physical tools to be an All-Star? Look no further than Glenn Robinson III. The problem is his mentality. You can toss him into the "How bad does he actually want it?" camp. In his rookie season, he was traded twice and really didn’t get a chance to prove anything. When he did get a chance to play, he proved that he wasn’t great at anything. BUT he is 21, so he is definitely worth a flyer. Worst case scenario, he is out of the league in a few years and the Pels wasted a roster spot. The best case scenario, however, is that the Pelicans were able to find the next Iman Shumpert. There are other players that fit this mold, like KJ McDaniels, however, KJ’s offensive ceiling is lower in my opinion. Pels fans know better than most, that in order to be a contributor on an NBA Championship contender, a player has to be at least competent on both sides of the floor.
The selection isn’t great, but each of the players listed above has the potential to be a contributor on a winning team. Just remember that sometimes the dumpster can turn up treasures with a player, say like Hassan Whiteside last season. Moreover, even if the Pelicans can’t find any wings in free agency, their summer league is full of some interesting dumpster type guys, who I will take a look at when we are a little closer to the start of Summer League. Until then, all we have is hope and Dell Demps.