The 2014-2015 NBA season is 130 days away. That’s sad. But luckily, there are only five short days from now until the 2014 NBA Draft. Thank God for the offseason, amirite?!?
The 2013-14 Pelicans campaign was mostly sour as some of the biggest contributors for last year’s run for the playoffs (Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith and Jrue Holiday) played only a combined 87 games and none played in more than 34 games. Ryan Anderson, a huge influence when on the court, was only able to play in 22 games last year. Injuries suck, especially upon your squad en masse.
With any luck, this year will be much different all around.
The core of the Pelicans team remains intact:
In addition to this core, we have some rotation guys already on the roster, including Austin Rivers, Darius Miller, Brian Roberts, Jeff Withey and Arinze Onuaku.
Last year, the fight club rotation was laid out as such.
We still have a majority of the same pieces in place, save for Aminu and Morrow not being under contract, and most of the same beliefs about who will carry the team. But, it appears clear that the Pelicans are looking to make moves this offseason either in the draft (by trading someone off the current roster to acquire a pick) or in free agency, or both.
As for the Draft this coming Thursday, there are a number of players who could potentially help fill out our rotation. In the last week it was rumored New Orleans was trying hard to move into the first round of the draft though it’s still unclear who they would be targeting or what team they’d likely try to work with on a trade. If the team is looking to acquire a wing in this year’s draft there appears to be a number of likely selections. But of all the selections and trade partners, the most likely target could appear to be Doug McDermott. Here are Doug’s college stats:
McDermott is both a mid-first round projection and a scoring prodigy. Due to the bounty of mid-first round picks that belong to teams with multiple picks in the round, it would be likely that the Pels could also find a team amongst that group with need at SG.
It’s important to note at this point that the team is likely still incorporating the lingering thought of ridding themselves of Eric Gordon (our starting SG and one of the few trade assets we possess) who has never found his fit with the team. Of all the potential trade partners with need at shooting guard, Boston and Philadelphia appear most likely. Boston holds the 6th and 17th picks in the first round. Philadelphia, who appear to hold every other pick in the draft have SEVEN picks in the upcoming draft. (Apparently they gave away the Liberty Bell years ago and are just now ready to cash in.) At any rate, Philly holds the 3rd, 10th and 32nd pick in the first round of the draft. Both Boston’s 17th and Philly’s 10th would be good spots to nab to the sharp-shooter, McDermott.
Jason Smith, who has been a fan favorite for years, has proven to be a solid complementary player but is not the type of center a team can rely upon defensively–at least not at this point in his career. The team will almost certainly look for a starter at center in free agency. Among the best options both at C in free agency are as follows:
If I’m looking to sign someone, I take a long hard look at a player we actually drafted a few years ago but traded away immediately after: Cole Aldrich. He’s got several things going against him, admittedly. But, in the past two seasons of 40+ games played per, Cole has put up a respectable Player Efficiency Rating including a 19.2 PER in 46 games played last year with the Knicks. Not only that, but he had a low, low, low defensive rating of 100 even at the center position. One thing that the Pels have been good at over the last few years is getting points out of the 5 spot. What they have not received from their centers over the past few seasons is DE-FENSE! It appears, though built with scant evidence, that Aldrich could develop into quite the versatile player–and he’s young! Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind any of the above players at C as they all have put up pretty solid numbers over the last year and also would likely come in at a premium. I’ll take a caveat there in the form of Andrew Bynum, as we all know that he brings a little extra baggage and may be more trouble than he’s worth. But, as with injuries depleting a roster over the course of an 82 game season, you never really know what you’re going to get until you get into a thing.