The Pelicans added a pair of young building blocks in Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton this summer and the new personnel could lead to an even faster pace of play, William Guillory of The Times-Picayune writes.
The addition of two athletic young players – Randle is still just 23 years old while Payton is 24 – will serve the Pelicans well. Guillory writes that New Orleans led the league in pace after DeMarcus Cousins went down with an Achilles injury in January.
“We want to play fast, we want to defend, we want to get out in transition,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said. “The other thing is these two guys are very unselfish players, which would fit great with our group.”
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- The Grizzlies see fourth-overall pick Jaren Jackson Jr. as a Defensive Player of the Year-type player, J. Michael of The Indianapolis Star writes. “He’s a natural talker and in order to be a great defender you got to be a natural talker. That’s what he is,” Memphis assistant Greg Buckner said.
- The Spurs chose not to withdraw their qualifying offer from Darrun Hilliard before Friday, meaning they won’t be able to do so without Hilliard’s blessing, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes. Hilliard remains a restricted two-way free agent.
- The Spurs have downgraded rookie Chimezie Metu‘s wrist injury from a sprain to a fracture, Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News writes, noting that Metu will wear a cast but will not require surgery.