Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Clarke, Mavericks, Richardson

While the Pelicans need more leadership from second-year forward Zion Williamson, the team still has no shortage of blame to go around for a poor 5-10 start to the season, William Guillory of The Athletic writes.

New Orleans sports an impress nucleus of Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and others, but the team’s overall fit remains in question. The club has two point guards (Ball and Eric Bledsoe) in its starting group, with another questionable offensive pairing in the frontcourt (Williamson and Steven Adams).

“We’ve just got to compete a little bit harder,” Bledsoe said. “It has nothing to do with talent or anything like that. When the games start to pile up, and your body starts to wear down, that’s when you’ve got to lock in the most.”

The question isn’t whether New Orleans has enough talent, but rather how the team uses its talent and whether a consistent effort will be given on both ends.

Here are some other notes from the Southwest Division:

  • Evan Barnes of The Memphis Commercial Appeal explores how Grizzlies big man Brandon Clarke has thrived as a starter this season. Clarke, 24, has averaged 13.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 29.3 minutes in the team’s first 13 games, starting in nine of those contests. “Last year, I would rather be in the sixth man role just because I was more comfortable with that but now I feel like that it’s what the team might need,” Clarke said about receiving a larger role. “If I can step up and be the player that I know I can be, I can come in and help us out with the first five.”
  • At least two of the Mavericks‘ players who tested positive for COVID-19 were “pretty sick,” Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The team received four positive tests, with some of those players recovering quicker than others, according to Townsend.
  • Mavericks guard Josh Richardson could return to the lineup this week, Townsend notes in a different tweet. The most likely return order is Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell and Maxi Kleber, Townsend reports, though head coach Rick Carlisle cautioned that everything remains fluid.
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34 thoughts on “Southwest Notes: Pelicans, Clarke, Mavericks, Richardson

  1. Sillivan

    Grizzlies 6th seed
    Pelicans 14th seed
    Someone explains to me why Grizzlies won more games than pelicans

    Zion plays14 games
    23, 8
    Ingram
    Superstar potential according to espn
    Ball plays 12 games
    Adams and Ingram play every game

    • Walladipo and Wood

      Probably because it’s still early in the season? Memphis is in 6th and Houston is in 11th right now, but since the Rockets are finally about to get healthy they will shoot up in the standings once they finally get their top 3 players on the court at the same time. Just wait and you will see.

      • tjbarnaba

        Only thing shooting up is you because you’re high if in your mind that rockets team can compete in the west. So out of touch.

        • Lol the rockets are a middling team, wall oladipo and christian wood are nothing compared to the real teams in the west

    • SheaGoodbye

      Bad fit, bad coaching, no defense, no shooting. Pretty simple, really.

    • Black Ace57

      The problem is that the team is a terrible offensive fit with its players. Zion only shoots up close, Adams is a close to the rim guy, lonzo isn’t a shooter, and Bledsoe isn’t a shooter. On top of that JJ seems to be in decline. Just like the Sixers last year it doesn’t matter your talent if you can’t space things out.

    • Otogar

      Memphis is a team with a extremely solid young core. Morant, Brooks, Clarke, Jaren Jackson, Kyle Anderson… All of them are good, team-oriented and defensively capable players. It’s a good group, surely not to the point to be contenders, yet reliable enough to fare better than talented but irregular teams like the Pelicans.

  2. Griffin is perhaps looking for another lottery pick before putting in the obviously needed pieces. Although even that doesn’t explain the acquisition and big $$ extension of Adams, who’s an excellent player but simply doesn’t fit with their two young stars.

    • SheaGoodbye

      It’s the sign of a GM that, foolishly, thinks you can compensate for bad fit with pure talent.

  3. Stilt Armstrong

    Can’t figure keeping Bledsoe long term. Reddick either now that SVG is there. Holiday & Ball flowed freely on offense, and SVG is lousy.

    SVG Track Record in the NBA:

    Left Orlando in shambles. Been over a decade for the Magic to recover. Pistons?? Need I say more?? Couldn’t even win with an all NBA Griffin, and ran his last few ounces of athleticism into the ground. Gentry was a great coach with a modern offense. Really, really bad call on Griffin’s part. Could cost them Ingram & Williamson long term. SVG bad coaching shows on the court. Glaringly.

    • HandsomeBob

      The criticism of SVG in light of his last hire in Detroit has merit.

      Alvin Gentry has 5 seasons above .500 in 17 (including full and part seasons) and made playoffs once in his 5 year stint in New Orleans. To call him a good coach would be a stretch. Call to him a great coach is mind boggling.

  4. SheaGoodbye

    Those bad pairings were obvious too. Griffin is just not a good GM, which should be pretty clear by now. Lucking into AD wanting to play for the Lakers and into Zion is not an accomplishment.

    • Walladipo and Wood

      So they should switch back to being the Jazz, then Utah can switch their name to the Hornets (it’s the beehive state), and Charlotte can go back to being the Bobcats again. Pelicans has to be the worst team name in sports.

      • siggers84

        I think the Pelicans is a cool name! It’s unique and a bit weird but I think it works for a basketball team.

  5. Simmons>Russ

    All these comments on bad fit, poor spacing blah blah blah. Is exactly what I said most of last season.
    Ingram Ball and Zion tho all can shoot the three ball it’s not their natural game. Ingram likes to handle the ball, put up a lot of mid range shots and play make a little, Zion drives hard and exploits people that aren’t strong and if left open will hit open threes. Ball likes to handle a lot, but is at his best in a fast moving offensive creating for others or taking open looks. 3 ball dominate players and none are exactly floor spacers.

    Like I said over and over they should get in some players that can space the floor, open the offence up and play faster and not be awful defensively.

    I’d suggest these:

    1. Lonzo Ball for Lauri Markeneen

    2. Lonzo Ball and Josh Hart for Cam Reddish and Tony Snell

    3. Eric Bledsloe, Josh Hart and an unprotected first for Zach LaVine

    First deal means moving Bledsloe to PG and promoting NAW and giving more minutes to Hart and Reddick which in all creates more spacing and a better flowing offence plus Markeneen off the bench as a 4/5 brings more spacing too and would be a great fit for Zion and Ingram.

    The second deal looks one sided but hear me out. Lonzo is on and dozing deal, and Hart is what the 3rd or 4th string SG. You’d be getting back Cam Reddish who has the Zion connection through Duke. He’s also improved hugely as a player this year averaging 12-5-1, plus Snell just for depth. But come the end of the season you’ll have Adams taking his pay cut, Snell off the books, Reddisk off the books and money to spend on FA.

    Thirdly send as much as you can for Zach LaVine to be the third star. LaVine would be a great fit with both Lonzo and Zion cause of his face pace and athleticism. He’s putting up career numbers 27-5-5 and efficiently. Pelicans have enough young assets to give away to make it happen

    • Rewane

      All 3 deals suck for the other team, Pels not nearly paying enough.
      Pels FO put this roster together to tank. They are not upgrading their roster.

      • Simmons>Russ

        Bulls would jump at the chance to take Lonzo and try him and LaVine and Coby as a guard trio. Plus defensively he makes them a lot better.
        Hawks might give up Reddish for Ball and Hart. Hart does 80% of what Reddish does and Lonzo could play either with Trae and help the passing and defence or as a back up and keep the offence moving well.
        Last deal it would be hard to pry LaVine away hence why I said an unprotected first and could offer them a selection of your players. If they don’t like Hart take NAW or Hayes or Lewis

  6. Markeneen is a foundation piece for the Bulls. I doubt they’ll trade him at all, but if they did, it won’t be for Ball – at least not him alone, as he’s a far greater asset. That’s the deal where they’d need to add at least one 1st.

    On the flip side, while LM’s game would fit with Zion, where would his minutes and $$ come from? Pels are already heavily invested in Adams and Hayes. No more than 2 of those 4 can ever be on the court together. In short, Adams – the 30 min guy – would need to be moved, and he can’t be (just signed an extension).

    • Cap & Crunch

      I never understood extending Adams- Why didnt they just wait and see ,,,,cant imagine the competition would ever get fiercer than the 2/34 he got anyways

      I get he was brought in to prolong Zion but maybe they should have seen the on court fit this year before extending…. In theory it seemed valid but in reality the spacing is horrible with Ingram Zion Adams and its really hard to see it working

    • Stilt Armstrong

      Graham & Rozier for Lou Williams, Beverly and 2021 1st.

      Think this would help both teams. Lamelo would have to play because neither Beverly, or Williams creates a lot for other teammates!

      • Clips can’t trade 2021 1st (or any other) since 2022, 2024 and 2026 were all traded to OKC. There was a point in time when I think the Clips might have jumped on the player swap. Don’t think so at this point.

        • Stilt Armstrong

          It would have to be a draft day deal, unless other arrangements are made…

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Why we keep hearing about trading LaVine or Markkanen. Is the dumbest outlook you can have. Both are unique talents. And by now should have been coached to play D. Bulls have problems with coaches and management. Trust me I know this well. Coby could be your PG. But a guy like Halliburton would have put you in playoffs. He’s excatly what you need. A lead pass first PG. Who runs team, makes gd decisions. Is a pass first and scores when he needs to. I really thought they were taking him. Williams looks like he has a future. To me Bulls have a good young core already. Halliburton would have been missing piece. I guess they think Williams will be a star. But by then LaVine n Markkanen could be gone. So you see my point. To me Markkanen, LaVine, Carter, Coby is a solid young core. Coby best as 6th man. Imagine they signed J Grant and drafted Halliburton. They’d be top six team easy.

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