clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bryce Dejean-Jones is New Orleans most exciting rookie since Anthony Davis

During his very short tenure, Dejean-Jones has exhibited a wide assortment of tantalizing skills and effort level.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Pelicans entered the 2015-16 campaign without a single rookie on their roster. In fact, their least experienced player in terms of seasons under their belt was Anthony Davis.

Granted, none of this news should come as a surprise as management preferred to deal away most of their future assets in order to build a young core around Davis. Since drafting the superstar in 2012, the New Orleans Pelicans have discarded three straight first round picks. Nerlens Noel came closest to appearing in New Orleans, but his rights were traded to the Philadelphia Sixers soon after David Stern announced his name.

The only breaths of fresh air fans have witnessed sound like an episode of, Where are they now?: Russ Smith, Patric Young, Jeff Withey, Arinze Onuaku and James Southerland. Withey is the only player on the list who appears likely to carve out a career as a rotation player.

Thanks to the recent injuries to Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans, Dell Demps signed a player out of the D-League to a 10-day contract. After playing a scant 9 minutes across his first three NBA games, Bryce Dejean-Jones introduced himself emphatically in his first sizable role coming against the Sacramento Kings.

Since this dunk, Dejean-Jones has not let up with glimpses that continue to attract fans. In his next game against the New Jersey Nets, his athleticism, denied on an initial dunk attempt, led to two points in a fashion few others on the roster can replicate.

Against the Memphis Grizzlies, Dejean-Jones proved he's not afraid to tangle with the biggest players in the game. After smartly doubling down on Marc Gasol, he tied up the known Pelican-killer in the post. Guess who won the jump ball?

Later, Dejean-Jones put Zach Randolph on spin cycle. The rest of Pelicans had already jogged back to play defense following Omer Asik's miss at the free throw line and never reappeared in the video clip so Dejean-Jones did it all himself. He grabbed the offensive rebound, eluded several defenders and slammed home a reverse dunk.

With the world watching Thursday night on TNT, Dejean-Jones had his best game as a professional. He scored 17 points, gobbled up 9 rebounds and swiped 2 steals. In a disappointing game for the New Orleans Pelicans hosting the Los Angeles Lakers, he was a rare bright spot who had a multitude of highlights.

In 2 of his 5 NBA starts, Dejean-Jones has barely missed out on posting a double-double. The Pelicans haven't possessed a wing with that kind of ability since Al-Farouq Aminu. Unlike the Chief though, he can knock down the outside shot (40.9 3FG%), a must by today's standards.

He displays wonderful instincts, has a nose for the ball and appears to be a capable ball handler with some playmaking ability. Best of all, he's fierce, as though his family will go hungry if he doesn't bring home dinner. Does anyone remember this from Summer League play?

Bryce Dejean-Jones is by no means a complete NBA player, but he appears to possess the disposition, effort and skills to possibly turn into something. Despite some shaky performances from the free throw line, he currently has the fourth-best true shooting percentage on the team. His defensive rebounding has been more prominent than Ryan Anderson. For all their good qualities, wings like Gordon, Dante Cunningham and Alonzo Gee are known limited quantities. As evidenced by an 18-31 record and two losses to the bottom feeders of the Western Conference within the span of one month, this roster needs much more than that.

Three days ago, David went over three options on how Dejean-Jones can be signed to a contract for the rest of the season. This rookie has been one of the few highlights on the season, and in a short time frame, he's proven worthy of a gamble. The last time an unheralded first-year player made his mark in New Orleans, he became a fan favorite. Just as Marcus Thornton came out of nowhere, Dejean-Jones appears to have seized a golden opportunity.

Only five days remain, please make it happen, Pelicans.