What do you think is the New Orleans Pelicans biggest remaining hole on the roster and how would you propose General Manager Dell Demps go about resolving it? (Whether that’s signing a remaining free agent or making a legitimate trade.)
Jason: SF — Rodney Hood
The Pelicans once again are heading into the season without a true wing player. We here at The Bird Writes love E’Twaun Moore, but the team needs a 6’7+ starting-caliber wing player on the team to fill the SF position. Ideally, the Pelicans could flip Solomon Hill and some other lesser assets for a decent wing, but in the meantime and in between time maybe try and snag Rodney Hood from the Cavaliers.
Kevin: SF — Nick Young or Tomas Satoransky (dream)
If anyone says anything other than a three, a small forward or a 6’-6” - 6’-9” guy that can dribble, pass, defend a little and shoot the three they are lying to themselves. It’s been the need since the Hornets declared Shinndepenence from Charlotte with brief moments of reprieve provided by Jamal Mashburn and Peja Stojaković.
Right now the only clear path to solving the dilemma is hoping that E’Twaun Moore can replicate or improve upon the yeoman’s work in his miscast role as the third guard in those three-guard lineups we rolled with, that Solomon Hill is fully healthy and can make a step forward on the offensive end, and/or that Darius Miller can inherit some of the new Jrue, who dis? attacking mentality and play more aggressive and confidently on the offensive end.
It’s hard to see the Pelicans being able to add a difference maker at the three this offseason, but they could possibly turn some contracts and picks into a solid wing once teams that have false hope start to realize their actual situation. However, Nick Young is available right now and Dell tried to get him last offseason so that could still be a possibility. I’m not much of a Young fan, but if he signs at the minimum, he has enough skills to be a serviceable player in that SF rotation. Admittedly, though, I’d be on the phone everyday trying to convince Washington that they don’t need Tomas Satoransky anymore and play him at the three and use him to spell Payton at the one as well.
Chris: SF — Kent Bazemore or Jimmy Butler (dream)
It’s what it’s been arguably since a healthy Peja Stojaković was seen walking the streets of New Orleans — An average to above average small forward. Hell, another legitimate wing over 6’4 may be satisfactory in the end. Overall it’s the biggest hole on the roster, and a trade seems to be the best avenue at this point. Whether that’s the dream trade of Jimmy Butler, or the often mentioned Kent Bazemore, NOLA should have some options and soon be without another first-round pick.
Preston: PG — Milos Teodosic or Tomas Satoransky
I have been outspoken on my feelings toward Elfrid Payton from the start. As a sixth man, I’ll admit I was intrigued, but following his first four seasons in the NBA, there is no evidence to suggest he can be a starting level point guard. Payton ranks among the league’s worst defensively, and offers little to no shooting. He is a cunning distributor in a fast paced style, but in half court sets, he can be a ball stopper, a ball watcher, and while adept at attacking the rim, remains too timid to do it consistently. Pelicans’ fans might fall in love with his 16/11/10 stat lines on back to back nights, only to watch him disappear for a week or two.
Ian Clark is a serviceable stand-in candidate, but like Payton, goes through slumps for large periods. Clark failed to shoot over 30% from three for four months of the regular season and isn’t the creator that Payton is. Clark can manage himself defensively, but he too is not a starting caliber point guard.
It’s true the Pelicans are desperate for help at the wing position, but that was never something they were going to be able to solve in free agency. The position is too rare a commodity to acquire at the Mid-Level exception. The Pelicans had numerous opportunities to acquire talent at the point guard position, and still do, via trade. My best hope is that Milos Teodosic or Tomas Satoransky become available. Should they not, the Pelicans must hope Frank Jackson can breakout in his ‘rookie’ campaign and give a helping hand.
David: SF — Kent Bazemore
Small forward, obviously. E’Twaun Moore again playing out of position is the easiest answer to implement. Trades sound great, and something like Solomon Hill and a first round pick is probable to be on the table beginning in December until the trade deadline. If so, let’s finally bring Danny Ferry and Kent Bazemore back together again. At least the Pelicans-interested-in-Baze rumors would finally cease!
Oleh: PG — Ty Lawson
The dream for so many here in New Orleans — and for close to eternity — has been the addition of a small forward who can hold his own against the likes of LeBron James, Paul George or Kawhi Leonard. I’m here to tell you it’s time to change direction...for a quick minute.
Between Moore, Miller, a healthy Hill, and most importantly, the Davis-Mirotic-Randle threesome that can have each individual of the trio spend a little time on an opposing small forward, I think New Orleans can get by this season without the services of a full-time starter at the three. Besides, super athletic, unnaturally lanky specimens who can defend multiple positions and pose as versatile offensive threats on the wing do not grow on oak trees in the bayou — hence the Pelicans training camp experiment of Green, Williams and Williams.
Rather, I would like to see the front office get Elfrid Payton some help because watching Jrue Holiday routinely beat up on shooting guards is a lot of fun. While New Orleans has a slew of guys capable of dribbling the ball up the court and making a pass or two, it would be great to get a backup for the Rajon Rondo backup plan. Say, Ty Lawson!
Admittedly, I haven’t been high on Lawson since he left Denver, but after watching him look above average against Toronto in the playoffs a few months ago, I think he could genuinely help.
The speed, passing and some semblance of a three-point shot look to be intact, and Otto Porter, a Wizards teammate, absolutely raved about him.
“Shoot, he is a smaller version of John Wall,” said Porter. “He’s so quick. He is amazing ... Somebody you can’t sleep on. He might be small, but he can create a lot of havoc in the paint.”
After reportedly having interest in Yogi Ferrell, why not kick the tires on Lawson for a season at the veterans minimum?
Travis: PG or SF — Dwyane Wade
I’d love to see this team develop or add another playmaker at either the wing or guard spot. Most NBA teams have need at that position and the Pelicans are no different. There’s no way Dwyane Wade would come to town, is there??