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Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 1/11/16

No team has endured a more disappointing season than the Pelicans.

A glance at the bottom of the conference standings yields few surprises. Teams such as the Sixers, Nets, Lakers, Timberwolves and Suns weren’t expected to make any noise, either because they’re in rebuilding mode or they simply don’t have enough talent. That wasn’t the case with New Orleans, which appeared to be on the rise after making a playoff appearance last season.

Superstar Anthony Davis signed an extension and the Pelicans kept their core group intact, with the expectation they would continue to build chemistry after winning 45 regular-season games. Veteran coach Alvin Gentry was hired away from the NBA champion Warriors to get the franchise to the next level.

Instead of another jump in the standings, the Pelicans have floundered throughout the first 35 games of the season, recording just 11 victories and possessing the Western Conference’s second-worst record.

Injuries are partially to blame. Tyreke Evans has missed about half of the team’s games, Jrue Holiday was eased back into action after a couple of injury-plagued seasons and Davis has sat out all or most of six games with assorted issues. Then came word on Monday that Quincy Pondexter, who hasn’t played this season but was expected back this month, will need season-ending surgery.

That still doesn’t explain away the team’s woeful showing during the first half of the season. The Pelicans rank in the bottom third of the league in defensive field-goal percentage and rebounding, and in the middle of the pack offensively in adjusted field-goal percentage.

New Orleans has four other players besides Davis averaging at least 12.9 points per game — Ryan Anderson, Evans, Eric Gordon and Holiday — yet none has emerged as the clearcut No. 2 option. Anderson and Gordon become unrestricted free agents after the season, with Anderson generally considered to be the team’s most movable piece if they decide to make a significant trade before the February deadline.

Adding to the intrigue is that the Pelicans are reportedly interested in hiring NBA Hall of Famer and longtime Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars for a major front office role.

This leads us to our question of the day: What is the Pelicans’ biggest need in order to reverse their downward spiral and become a perennial playoff contender?

Please take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions on the subject. We look forward to what you have to say.

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15 thoughts on “Hoops Rumors Community Shootaround 1/11/16

  1. smittybanton

    After multitudes of injuries, what’s the likelihood any one of Evans, Gordon or Holiday is a plus defender?

    • Dana Gauruder

      Good point. According to Basketball Reference’s advanced defensive ratings, none of them are superior defenders. That’s why they’re so disappointed that Pondexter will miss the rest of the season. They were hoping he’d give a defensive boost.

  2. thenotorious_jp

    Make some moves I think Holiday and obviously Davis are the pieces I would keep for the future, but every other player shouldnt be untouchable and Demps needs to be looking at trade options not to improve for this season but for the future hopefully get a top 5 pick and get a young asset even though dell doesnt like the draft. somehow move Asiks terrible contract and chase a second star to pair with davis. Simply give up on this season I know the west isnt as competitive as it was last year but realise that moves need to be made and sooner the better.

    • Dana Gauruder

      They’ll be in the lottery, barring a major turnaround during the second half, so they can dream about a Davis-Simmons pairing.

      • Steve in Chicago

        Yup that is the best move at this point…the trade you don’t make. Maybe either if the expirings for a serious 3 and d guy, then wait for the draft to get one more significant piece. Pels and Bucks both one smart draft away from contention.

    • They should look to move anyone not named Anthony Davis tbh. Anderson could probably get the best haul. Gordon and Evans could also get a decent return back (I don’t expect a top-20 first round pick except if a playoff team suffered a major injury to their starting guard). Holiday should also be shopped to see if they can get something for him. His injuries are a major concern and it might be a mistake to hope he’ll kick the injuries and return to form.

      • Dana Gauruder

        Certainly, there are no untouchables on that team besides AD.

  3. J Hill

    First step, don’t hire Joe Dumars. Second step, literally firesale. This team made the same mistake the Cavs did with LBJ the first time around. Trying to go for it too soon. This means they signed stupid contracts for mediocre players and moved prospects for mediocre players all in the name of getting boosted in the playoffs for the next several years. Get prospects, and make smart trades to build a system that makes proper use of the star player.

    • Dana Gauruder

      Probably the most prudent thing to do, but that would be a tough sell for a team that has AD entering his prime.

    • Steve in Chicago

      Also the move not to make. Give him court side season tix for hometown pride but do not let him mess things up like he did in Motor City.

  4. I would try to do something like Asik and 2016 1st for Thad Young or Brook Lopez, assuming you could make salaries work. Whoever you think pairs best with Davis. Gets some serious help to take attention off Davis plus addition by subtraction of shedding that gawd awful Asik contract while Nets get another pick they desperately need to rebuild.

    • Chris Crouse

      Lopez would be an excellent addition. However I’m not sure Brooklyn takes that deal unless the pick is expected to be a top pick: Let’s say top 10. If you’re New Orleans, do you give that up?

    • Dana Gauruder

      I’m sure they would love to move Asik. Still a headscratcher why they decided to bring him back.

  5. Chris Crouse

    Trade for an injured Eric Bledsoe. Give Phx Gordon or Anderson or both, plus anything but Davis or a pick to do it. Tank this year, get a nice lottery selection and come back with a core of Bledsoe, Davis, Evans, Lottery selection X, and Free agent X (T Jones?).

    • Phoenix would need more than two guys on expiring contracts. If the Pelicans really wanted Bledsoe, it would probably have to be Anderson, Evans and a first round pick for Bledsoe and Morris. I’m sure the Pelicans would also have to sweeten the pot just a little bit more and more names could be tossed around (Chandler, Tucker, Asik, Gordon, Holiday).

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