The New Orleans Pelicans have been rumored in connection to several recently waived players including Corey Brewer, Shabazz Muhammad and Sean Kilpatrick. For the time being, though, the team has settled on Walter Lemon Jr., as he’s going to remain with New Orleans via a second 10-day contract.
The 25-year-old developmental prospect was added from the G League in order to utilize his penchant for breaking down opponents off the dribble and scoring in waves. In three appearances, however, Lemon Jr. has combined to score four points on 2-6 shooting, one assist and one turnover. Yes, he’s only played a grand total of 14 minutes, but the team hasn’t played well during his time on the floor as evidenced by his plus/minus numbers: -5 against the Spurs, -8 against Phoenix and -4 against the Heat.
The fact is, the stats and eye-tests conclude that Walter Lemon Jr. needs further development, and in the words of Marc Gasol: ”They have a league for that.”
One player who does not need further development is 29-year-old “Michael” Jordan Crawford — as he was affectionately known by Pelicans fans last season.
|2016-17 Jordan Crawford||19||23.3||14.1||1.8||3.0||48.2%||38.9%|
As you can see, Crawford hit the ground running from the moment he rolled up in his Pelicans’ short shorts and hit the court. An “irrational confidence” guy personified, “Instant Grits” quickly lit a stick of dynamite under the Pelicans’ second unit, and he found excellent chemistry with Anthony Davis, often finding him for those oh so sweet alley oops that Rajon Rondo has made all but uninteresting with its prevalence and efficiency this season.
“Instant Grits” posted a positive net rating, even while playing with the bench for the majority of his minutes, and last season marks of 39% from three and 48% from two would currently slot him as the Pelicans’ third most efficient scorer, with a 56.7% effective field goal percentage.
So why hasn’t anyone shown any interest? According to Jordan himself, several teams have.
Jordan has had a series of bad breaks. The Pelicans were tremendously short-handed at the outset of the season, with injuries to Alexis Ajinca, Omer Asik, Solomon Hill, Frank Jackson and Rajon Rondo.
With the core muscle injury suffered by Rondo and the struggles of Jrue Holiday out of the gates, the Pelicans needed a quick fix at point guard and they settled on Jameer Nelson. Nelson’s stellar play proved pivotal in righting the ship very early in the season, as he led the floundering squad in wins over the Lakers and Kings.
But now that Nelson is a member of the Pistons, why not give Crawford a second look?
I consider your confidence to be your greatest asset. Where does that come from?
I’d have to say my parents and my brothers. I’ve been playing basketball for a long time and that was something I always carried with me. I think me being the little brother — following my brother when he was coming up — knowing that he was one of the best basketball players I’ve seen — going against him I got confidence from following him. I just carried that confidence with me. I just always been like that. It helps me to survive in the NBA.
If you could have a poster dunk on any other player framed on your wall, who would be your victim?
It would have to be Shaq. Yeah, ‘cause Shaq is just always talking about himself. It gets on my nerves.
Do you have a nemesis in the league?
Nah, not for real, but me getting a dunk period is going to be live so whoever is on the poster going to know I dunked on ‘em.
As we learned in an interview with Kevin Barrios after last season, “Michael” Jordan Crawford oozes confidence from every pore in his body. Why not add a player who is familiar with the locker room, has experienced success in New Orleans and could add to the Pelicans offensive identity?