The Pelicans only have 12 players on fully guaranteed contracts, leaving three potential openings on their 15-man regular season roster. However, it sounds like one of those three spots has already been claimed. According to Scott Kushner of The Advocate (Twitter link), Jahlil Okafor is a virtual lock to end up on the 15-man squad.
Okafor, who joined the Pelicans this summer after stints in Philadelphia and Brooklyn, injured his ankle last week, but head coach Alvin Gentry suggested that the ailment wouldn’t prevent him from making New Orleans’ roster. Kushner cautions that it’s not quite a done deal yet, but Okafor’s spot appears safe for now.
Here’s more from out of New Orleans:
- With Okafor poised to claim the 13th roster spot, the final two openings still need to be settled. As Kushner details (via Twitter), those decisions will likely come down to Darius Morris vs. Jarrett Jack at point guard, and Troy Williams vs. Garlon Green vs. Kenrich Williams at small forward, unless the Pelicans decide to keep two wings.
- Following up on that battle between Morris and Jack, Kushner observes (via Twitter) that Morris appears to be a better on-court fit, but Jack’s veteran locker room presence is a point in his favor.
- The small forward position remains the biggest question mark in the Pelicans’ lineup, according to Andrew Lopez of NOLA.com, who takes a closer look at Darius Miller, Solomon Hill, and E’Twaun Moore, all of whom could be candidates to start.
- Elfrid Payton‘s ability to replace Rajon Rondo as the Pelicans’ starting point guard could go a long way toward determining the team’s ceiling in 2018/19. Alvin Gentry, for one, is happy to have Payton on his roster, as Walter Villa of The Advocate writes.
- We passed along a couple more Pelicans-related items on Wednesday night.