Merry Christmas to whomever is reading this and celebrates the holiday, Happy Holidays to those who do not!
Though the New Orleans Pelicans’ season has been, well, a garbage fire with blame to go all around, there is still hope for a brighter future — especially since the new CBA agreement makes Anthony Davis more likely to re-sign! With the team’s failures in consecutive seasons, they are headed at another lottery pick, this time in a draft that has been praised by multiple NBA GMs. So, while the remainder of the season is likely going to be painful with just flashes of brilliance (mostly by AD), the future remains filled with enough hope, provided the following items are checked off my list.
1) Fire Dell Demps
The gig is up because there exists no viable process waiting around the corner. Demps has proven himself incapable of surrounding Davis with sufficient talent to be a winning team. Under his guidance, the general manager has managed just one playoff appearance since trading Chris Paul. He also hired a fast-paced coach in Alvin Gentry and proceeded to create a logjam of slow centers with Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca that is costing the Pelicans roughly $15 million a year.
2) Fire Alvin Gentry
I am putting most of the blame for the Pelicans lackluster state on Demps because it is hard to win games without the proper talent; however, Gentry is not without his faults. For instance, the head coach is still starting Ajinca over Terrence Jones, Buddy Hield’s minutes have been all over the map, Cheick Diallo is not getting anywhere near enough playing time, and for an offensive minded coach, New Orleans is scoring the 20th most points in the NBA… So, I think that Gentry’s short tenure must also come to an end and the Pelicans can then officially move on from Demps.
3) Don’t Trade the 2017 First Round Draft Pick
Unless it is used to acquire a Paul George, DeMarcus Cousins, or Jimmy Butler level talent, don’t do it. This draft is deep with exciting NBA talent and the Pels could possibly land a future star to play alongside AD.
4) Try to move Asik, Ajinca, and/or Solomon Hill
I was never the biggest fan of Solomon Hill, but I thought he might have some sort of upside. I was wrong. He is currently 5.6 PPG 3.7 RPG in just under 28 minutes. His only redeeming factor is that he is an okay three-point shooter.
Outside of that he has been ultimately disappointing and I won’t miss him. As for Asik and Ajinca, I have been wanting them gone for quite some time now, and it needs to happen sooner rather than later if the Pelicans want to rebuild.
5) Don’t Overpay for Mediocracy This Summer
This free agency class has some big names such as KD, Curry, Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, etc. However, the Pelicans have a near zero percent chance of landing any of them, unless CP3 really misses the food in New Orleans and is willing to risk retiring ringless. Outside of the premiere talent, the free agency class does not offer much, and the Pelicans probably cannot afford any of the useful free agents such as Gordon Hayward or Greg Monroe. The Pelicans need to just focus on resigning Terrence Jones and maybe Jrue Holiday for reasonable rates. So, I wish the Pelicans will pinch their pennies and save up for a big, shiny star for AD to play with instead of overpaying for more mediocre talent, because it was there.
The Pelicans have just been blessed with a significant financial advantage over other teams hoping to sign AD after his contract expires. So, let’s hope the Pelicans can make a contender out of this team before Davis hates New Orleans enough to leave $85 million on the table.