On today’s edition of the Black and Blue Report, Joel Meyers divulged to the host, Daniel Sallerson, his sentiments on the 2016-17 season and the steps the Pelicans should explore moving forward. He didn’t feel the need to classify the upcoming summer as the most important in franchise history because New Orleans already has two top tier talents, most likely no 2017 first round draft pick and are fully aware of what they need to chase through free agency or trade to be more successful next season.
First, Meyers shared his overall thoughts on the dismal campaign. Not surprisingly, he found it a difficult and disappointing journey, but unlike other voices, he wasn’t quick to blame Jrue Holiday’s absence to kick off the schedule.
“Well, it was tough because of the adjustments. First, you get a slow start and you can’t blame that on Jrue because he was where he should have been. And they could have recovered, let’s face it, because look at Miami who started 11-30 and finished with a .500 record. So you can’t blame it on the slow start — you’ve got to make adjustments along the way.”
Meyers then mentioned the DeMarcus Cousins trade, but chose to focus on the Pelicans losing 40% of their three-point output for an explanation on the lack of quick success. He stated that the team didn’t have a balanced roster once Boogie arrived as there were not enough guys to promote proper floor spacing.
However, it was far from doom and gloom talk as he admitted the Pelicans now have Anthony Davis and Cousins in the same frontcourt. In addition, the team was able to identity precisely what they need going forward — shooting — especially if they retain Holiday.
“Yeah, they were developing chemistry and you like that. And they really get along and DeMarcus is trying to fit — there’s no question about that. With that said, they are restricted economically. They don’t have as much cap space as a lot of teams, and they need shooting. So you’ve got to go out and find shooters and then have to find guys who are going to have breakthrough years even if they’ve been in the league for a few years. You’re not going to get upper level. You want to keep Jrue and add to that.”
Interestingly, Meyers listed Quincy Pondexter next as a possible key to the 2017-18 season because of his 3-and-D prowess.
“If Pondexter comes back, they have to guard him. He’ll keep them honest.”
During last Thursday closing interviews, Dell Demps said that he likened Pondexter to a potentially big free agent signing.
If Quincy Pondexter can return next season, Demps will look at it like a new free agent signing.— Oleh Kosel (@Redhopeful) April 13, 2017
Sallerson then proceeded to ask about two of the Pelicans biggest free agent signings from last summer: E’Twaun Moore and Solomon Hill.
“E’Twaun is a pro. He’s just so solid; you know what you’re going to get, there’s no mystery there,” said Meyers. Later, he added, “E’Twaun had a better handle than I thought. You don’t know a guy until you see him... And a nice little floater. He’s everything as delivered and advertised.”
Meyers, however, offered a different take on Hill.
“We’re still trying to figure out — we know it at the defensive end of the floor — Solomon is an active guy. He’s a really good defender, an energy guy. He is not a spacer; he’s not a three-point shooter right now so that aspect of the game has to improve. And just overall, he’s an undersized 4 and we’re kind of playing him on a wing. When he attacks and is aggressive, he is a different player on the offensive end. He can’t settle.”
To finish up the interview, Meyers downplayed the idea that this will be the most important offseason for this franchise since the move to New Orleans.
“You can’t say it’s the most important because we don’t have our draft pick any longer. You can’t anticipate that going in and think you’re going to get lucky in the lottery and get your top 3 protected pick. You already spent that on DeMarcus Cousins. And then who is your core group? Well, you’ve got two and you hope three so I wouldn’t put that kind of pressure as it’s the most important offseason.”
Yet, Meyers was far from saying the next few months will be inconsequential.
“It’s instrumental, though, in identifying and figuring out what you need and they have a pretty good idea of what they need to be competitive. And this year in the Western Conference that’s what hurt so much. You could have been a little over .500 and gone to the postseason.”
According to the voice of the Pelicans, the team has identified the need for more shooting and now must figure a way economically “to slice up the pie.” In other words, he would prefer the team to re-sign Jrue Holiday and add a couple more 3-and-D players to the roster.
I’m game, you?