Yesterday’s topic dealt with the favorite offseason moves by the New Orleans Pelicans, so let’s switch gears today and don our hate-hard hats. For all the roster additions that have been applauded, there invariably usually sits that one thing that should have been done. Read on to discover who or what was singled out by the staff.
Jason: Omer Asik
My biggest dislike of the Pelicans' off-season is the fact that Omer Asik remains on the roster. Asik is bad at an almost dead position in the modern NBA. Not to mention, between he and Ajinça, the Pelicans are burning roughly $15M in cap space that could be spent on better-fitting players.
That said, I believe the Pelicans have found the right path, perhaps stemming from Dell Demps enlisting the help of Danny Ferry. Wouldn’t it be something if the Pelicans become a better version of the recent 60-win Hawks team?
Kevin: James Ennis
Not finding a way to retain James Ennis pains me the most. After Solomon Hill, there remains a lot of uncertainty at the 3. Dante Cunningham and Alonzo Gee are largely one-dimensional and it should really be mentioned that Dante is playing out of position when he's at small forward. Quincy Pondexter hasn't suited up in forever and we don't know if he can return to the post All-Star break play he flashed during his short active stint several seasons ago. I love Tyreke Evans, but I like him most as a ball handler. He can man the 3, but it's not his best role. Also questions around his availability and even his place on this team are not promising.
James Ennis provided good size, athleticism, wingspan, energy and shot incredibly well from deep during his short tenure. He could have made for a potentially good option on the wing, as evidenced by his contract with Memphis. Some might argue the downside might have been that either Tim Frazier or Terrence Jones would have been left off the roster; however, stretching Evans or really trying to trade Ajinca could have allowed for all of these moves to happen.
David: E’Twaun Moore’s contract
E'Twaun Moore is probably going to be a rotation player and may end up finishing games while Buddy Hield gets acclimated to the NBA. He's a solid defender and excellent for the locker room. The contract, 4 years and $34 million, is my problem.
Ideally Moore cedes time to Hield or Pondexter in coming years. It should be mentioned that Moore is also the oldest acquisition this summer. I wonder if that contract becomes an impediment in 2017 or 2018 when the Pelicans will prefer to greater flexibility.
Quentin: Patrick McCaw
I’m nitpicking here, but I really wish New Orleans would have found a way to draft Pat McCaw in round two. I love his game and believe New Orleans could’ve been set on the wings if they added him to the incoming group of Buddy Hield and free agent acquisitions.
Cheick Diallo looks good, really good; however, the current roster suggests that his rookie season should be in the NBADL. Diallo has a very good chance to be a solid contributor, but I think McCaw will be the better prospect in time.
Oleh: Addition of another small-ball big man
For this roster to have the best chance to see Alvin Gentry’s vision through, Anthony Davis must avoid injury. However, in his healthiest season (2014-15), he still missed 14 games or about 17% of the regular season schedule. The New Orleans franchise has a record of 21-47 in games he sat on the sidelines through his first four seasons. That amounts to a winning percentage just under 31% and we’re not even factoring in pivotal games Davis had to leave early!
Thus, a stout backup plan is required, in addition to fielding enough players for small ball purposes. Solomon Hill, Terrence Jones and Dante Cunningham have made for a nice start, but an additional small-ball player would be comforting. A player who can grab a rebound, make a pass and hit a perimeter shot (not necessarily a three-pointer). Those guys were available this summer (Jared Sullinger, Kyle O’Quinn and Boris Diaw) but the Pelicans passed on their services.
Fernando: Tyreke Evans/Omer Asik
It bothers me that both Evans and Asik remain on the roster. I just think that Tyreke doesn't fit, and Omer is earning too much money to be playing only about 12-15 minutes a game... if that.