Day 24 of NBA draftmas features the New Orleans Pelicans. The Pelicans made a big splash at the trade deadline this past season, but the season did not end the way most of us thought. Let’s look at the Pelicans season.
After the Pelicans made the trade for DeMarcus Cousins, it seemed that they had the talent to move up to the eighth seed in the playoffs.
Cousins and Anthony Davis are the most talented frontcourt in the NBA. They average a combined 55 points, 22.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game. It still was not good enough to get the Pelicans in the postseason.
The Pelicans as a team did not score much other than Cousins and Davis. They averaged 104.3 points per game, which ranked just 18th in the league. They shot only 45 percent from the floor, which ranked 20th. Their defense was also below average, allowing 106.4 points per game, good for 17th.
They also ranked 13th in rebounds (43.7), 12th in assists (22.8) and had the fifth fewest turnovers per game (12.3).
Most teams don’t have a dominant frontcourt like New Orleans. As the NBA continues to change, most teams are getting faster and better at shooting from behind the arc. Cousins definitely slows the team down and the team does not shoot 3-pointers well, evidenced by the 19th-ranked 35 percent shooting from down town.
The Pelicans are going to have to play differently from the rest of the league. They are going to need to take advantage of the bigs they have and control the pace of the game.
Picks & Needs
After their trade with Sacramento to get Cousins, the Pelicans have just one pick in this draft, which is in the second round.
First round: none
Second round: No. 40
Jrue Holiday’s status is up in the air right now. If he leaves, New Orleans will be without a point guard. The team also does not have a first-round pick to use on a top point guard prospect.
The first round is generally used to address team needs and the second round is usually used on who the best available players are. The Pelicans might actually be able to do both with the 40th pick.
Targets & Thoughts
Pick #40: Frank Mason III, PG, Kansas
The 2017 Naismith Player of the Year might be the best pickup for New Orleans. In his senior season, Mason averaged 20.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game for the Jayhawks.
Mason shoots the ball very well, evidenced by his 47.1 3-point percentage on 4.8 attempts per game. He is also very athletic as he had a 41 inch max vertical leap at the NBA Combine, which was the fourth best. He is also quick, good in the pick and roll, and shoots with a quick release.
Mason is an undersized player, as he stands barely 6-foot with a wingspan just slightly longer. This will affect his ability to play defense in the league.
What he does not have in size he makes up for with his skill set. He is an experienced point guard with a great shot and athletic ability. He is a hard worker as well. It definitely would benefit Mason if he did not have to start right away in the league, but Cousins and Davis might be able to take some pressure off of him when he first starts.
Other possibilities would be Nigel Williams-Goss from Gonzaga and Edmond Sumner from Xavier. Williams-Goss is a strong, intelligent leader like Mason and a bigger player, but is not as quick. Sumner is even bigger than Williams-Goss. He is a slasher and great finisher at the rim, but isn’t a great shooter and has a history with knee injuries.
New Orleans needs a point guard that can involve Cousins and Davis while also contributing. Ideally they either resign Holiday or sign another starting point guard. If they can’t make that happen they need to address this in the draft. They also should consider drafting one if they do sign one so they have a good backup option.
Frank Mason III seems like the best overall pick at 40th, but Nigel Williams-Goss and Edmond Sumner are other guys to consider as well.
Thanks for checking out the New Orleans Pelicans’ 2017 NBA Draft profile and tune in tomorrow for day 25 of NBA Draftmas to see what the Houston Rockets are going to do.
Featured Image by Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos
“From Our Haus to Yours”