Do you think Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle and Anthony Davis can effectively play together on the court or will Head Coach Alvin Gentry be forced to keep one of the three on the bench?
Kevin: Gentry recently told Fletcher Mackel that they will experiment with this in the preseason so we should have a decent look at how this works very soon. I think it can work because of the passing ability of all three, the spacing Mirotic provides and the defensive versatility of Anthony Davis and Julius Randle. However, I believe that the Pelicans will be better off keeping two of these guys on the floor most of the time until Jahlil Okafor proves he’s ready for an increased role in the rotation.
Hockey subbing these three at the pace we want to play should limit their wear and tear and that should be the primary focus. However, I expect and am excited about them playing together for short stretches — possibly to close out games.
Jamile: I certainly think the three featured big men can play together. There is not a more talented or skilled frontcourt in the association. Between them, they can effectively finish and initiate pick and rolls, defend multiple positions, block shots, shoot threes, pass efficiently, rebound, and finish in transition. There are literally entire NBA rosters that don’t possess that combination of skills.
That said, Niko, Randle, and Davis playing together will likely be match-up based. I highly doubt they would employ such a lineup against the Golden State Warriors, but fortunately for the Pelicans, they don’t play the Warriors every night. Most teams in the league actually share the Pelicans small forward poverty, so I would expect the lineup to be tested against teams without an elite three.
While I do think the #DoItBigger lineup can be effective against certain opponents, I wouldn’t want it to be a full time lineup. The main reason is that staggering minutes could help preserve the Brow’s health. One the best parts about adding Julius Randle is that the Pelicans might finally be able to bring down Anthony Davis’ minutes per game. By staggering lineups, New Orleans has the ability to play a starting caliber frontcourt for all 48 minutes while still reducing the load on their star player. Who knows, perhaps a fresher A.D. could make the difference in a second round playoff series this year.
Preston: Alvin Gentry has informed the media that he seeks to run even faster in 2018-19. That speed will not benefit all three of these frontcourt players. Gentry will have to adapt his system as he did with DeMarcus Cousins or will have to stagger minutes as Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni did with Houston’s two backcourt superstars.
The Pelicans can still push the pace with Nikola Mirotic at the three, but the position does not bring out his strongest skills. Mirotic excelled at the 5 at the latter part of the Pelicans’ season next to Anthony Davis. His interior defense graded out as a B+, but his perimeter defense graded as a C. Simply put, Mirotic is a big man in today’s NBA, and pushing him back to the wing could be a mistake.
Zachary: I so desperately want a Niko/Randle/Davis trio to work, but I fear you can only play two of the players at a time. Whatever most closely resembles how New Orleans closed out the regular season against the Portland Trail Blazers is how they ought to play moving forward — and that doesn’t equate to three big bodies. This isn’t to say I don’t think all three can play together, just strategically what makes the most sense for New Orleans to be successful is having two on the floor and rotate in the third.
Oleh: The creation of an unstoppable force is the goal of every front office in the NBA, and the vast majority have been trying to mimic the Golden State Warriors Death Lineup for the last several years. While organizations should heavily factor the use of the three-point shot, among other staples, teams should be searching for their best avenues to get there.
I loved the idea of the DeMarcus Cousins-Anthony Davis #DoItBig concept from the minute it was born, and now the latest attempt by the Pelicans to use size to their advantage is worthy of at least extensive trial and error. New Orleans does not possess a true well rounded small forward, it’s improbable to match the talents and wits of the best small ball team residing in Oakland, and games tend to slow in fourth quarters.
In this day and age, you’ve got to roll with your best five in key situations, and on paper, a lineup of Jrue Holiday, E’Twaun Moore, Nikola Mirotic, Julius Randle and Anthony Davis strikes the most fear. Despite their size, the group possesses uncanny mobility. It’s important to give that diverse offensive weaponry a chance even if the defense sometimes produces mixed results. However, Gentry will have to pick his spots, maybe for 8-10 minutes a game. In addition to trying to stagger the minutes of Davis, Mirotic and Randle, realize the effort needed to guard opposing threes. There’s a lot of running involved + screens/picks to navigate — not the easiest of tasks for 6’9+ and 250lbs+ players.
Travis: I actually don’t. It makes me think of the Pistons lineup from a few years ago with Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Although our guys are infinitely more offensively gifted than that group, there’s just something about the fit that doesn’t feel right. Now, constantly having two of those guys on the floor at all times? I LOVE it. Maybe a more apt comparison is when the Lakers sported Andrew Bynum (remember, he was excellent at one time), Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.