Pelicans general manager Dell Demps spoke to reporters today in advance of the 2016 NBA draft, and while he didn’t exactly drop any bombshells, Demps confirmed some of his team’s offseason priorities. As Justin Verrier of ESPN.com tweets, after finishing 28th in defense last season, the Pelicans will be targeting players that can “impact our defense,” says Demps. The GM added that the small forward spot, which didn’t have much continuity in 2015/16, is “a position we have to address” (Twitter link via Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com).
Here’s more on New Orleans and some of the team’s Southwest rivals:
- The Pelicans continue to work out prospects with the draft just three days away. Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall) will get a look from New Orleans tomorrow, while Ryan Arcidiacono (Villanova) will also work out for the club this week, according to reports from Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, respectively (Twitter links).
- The Mavericks don’t have a first-round pick in this week’s draft, having traded it away to Boston, but president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson doesn’t sound disappointed about not holding that first-rounder, as Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News details. “I think this is actually not a bad draft to sit out,” Nelson said recently. “Next year’s draft is one that you’re not going to want to sit out.”
- Former Ohio State sharpshooter Jon Diebler, who has spent the last few seasons playing in Turkey, has opted out of his contract with Anadolu Efes, according to Burga Uzar of Eurohoops.net. Diebler’s NBA rights have been held by the Rockets since they acquired them in a 2012 trade, but there’s no indication at this point that he’s returning stateside to join Houston.