How should the Pelicans handle the reminder of the season? What are you looking for from the franchise between now and the draft lottery?
Preston: Trade Niko, Randle and Moore, waive Ian Clark and Wesley Johnson and sign some 10-day contracts to try and discover some low-cost talent. Continue to groom Frank Jackson, Kenrich Williams and Jahlil Okafor alongside Jrue Holiday, and trade Anthony Davis this summer.
Kevin: If they do not trade Davis to Brooklyn — which I don’t think they will — the Pels should do exactly what they are doing. Play hard, develop the young guys and win when Jrue forces it while racking up better lotto odds and getting solid evaluation and development time for Frank Jackson, Kenrich Williams, Jahlil Okafor and Cheick Diallo. It’s a great sign that they gave Williams the start in the last game against the Indiana Pacers.
Charlie: Ideally, the team will keep starting the trio of Jackson, Williams and Okafor alongside Jrue and whomever is healthy or acquired via trade. I think it’s paramount that the franchise put on a good competitive face for home games and really work to develop the young talent on the roster...while losing as many games as possible for lottery position. If the Pels could sneak into the top 6-7 for lottery odds, it guarantees them a top 10 pick for themselves which enhances their trade position for future deals.
Travis: Again: I’m anti-tank, BUT this year is shot and there’s only 29 games left, so play whoever is young. My big thing: don’t play Anthony Davis. Not only to protect him from injury as your biggest trade asset, but protect a more ethereal quality to the organization. Anthony Davis has literally said publicly that he doesn’t want to play for the organization that currently employs him — so, hey, you don’t get to play until the Pelicans pull the trigger, at a time and to a destination of their choosing.
Mike: As far as on-court performance, sustaining the level of energy that Jrue and the younger, less-proven Pelicans like Frank Jackson, Kenrich Williams, Jahlil Okafor and Cheick Diallo have been playing with will make a stretch of the season with a lot of losses more palatable and could help to establish an identity for the future.
David Grubb: Step one is removing Anthony Davis from the equation. He needs to be away from the locker room as quickly as possible. Unloading Mirotic and Randle have to be priorities as well. On the court, I’d like to see the Pelicans dedicate their energies to the players that they consider part of the future so that whoever is running the team next season can make an informed evaluation of the roster.
David Fisher: Minutes for players that matter beyond this season is what I’m hoping for. These games don’t matter in terms of playoffs or legacies, but 30 games of real NBA minutes could do wonders for Frank Jackson or Kenrich Williams down the road. As long as Anthony Davis is not playing the losses should take care of themselves. The entire organization should devote itself to development of the guys who will be here beyond this season.
Oleh: Very carefully and welcome back #TankFlight.
If he isn’t moved before the trade deadline, Anthony Davis should never see another minute — hey, he made the decision to move on in the midst of a regular season — so lets just tell him to stay home and wait for the player’s union to come complaining.
On the flip side, other players with injury histories, namely Jrue Holiday and Frank Jackson, should be handled with kids’ gloves, rarely, if ever, seeing more than 31-32 minutes a game. Jrue has played a lot of hard minutes over the last few seasons and Jackson, given his issues with foot problems, needs to have his workload closely monitored.
However, when Holiday and Jackson do play, I would prefer the coaching staff play them alongside Jahlil Okafor and Kenrich Williams as much as possible. These four players appear to be a part of the future so having them continue to familiarize themselves with one another should be the priority.