The idea of doing things on your own in the NBA is farfetched. It sounds like a good story but all of the good-great teams have multiple stars. Some players are fortunate to be on a team that drafts really good players. Teams like the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have done a great job of drafting players. Other teams recruit free agents; just like Dwyane Wade did with LeBron James and Chris Bosh. On a smaller scale Steph Curry was one of the reasons Andre Iguodala joined the Warriors.
Anthony Davis is the next star that needs to start recruiting. He signed a big deal and many thought he would take a leap this season. However his team has been banged up all season and although he is still averaging a double-double Davis cannot carry this team to the playoffs in the Western Conference alone. This team has a lot of guys playing that should be at the end of the bench. At 23-37 they will be a lottery team.
New Orleans had to start Nate Robinson, Ish Smith and Bryce Dejean-Jones this season. Now they are starting Kendrick Perkins at center because everyone is hurt. Before the season started the roster looked solid with Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Davis as the core players. Holiday has been banged up and just found his groove. Evans is out for the season while Gordon has been limited to 44 games.
The Pelicans will have seven players under contract next season and Alonzo Gee has a player option. Eric Gordon will be off the books and Ryan Anderson will also be a free agent. Depending on the price the Pelicans should let Anderson walk in free agency. They should target Al Horford and Nicolas Batum in free agency. These are two versatile players with high a basketball IQ that space the floor and have playoff experience. Coach Gentry can run the offense through either of these guys and that would surely help Anthony Davis.
Anthony Davis doesn’t want to play center that much so Horford would perfect next to him. He’s a solid player, good defender and he has taken and made more 3-pointers than Davis this season. Batum is having a career year and he does a little bit of everything while guarding four positions. Getting both guys might be impossible since the cap is going up and both guys will be getting a big pay raise but they should try.
The biggest problem for the Pelicans is that Omer Asik contract. Not only is he always injured but he’s a big slow center that just clogs the lane for Davis. On top of that he’s under contract for three more seasons, has a player option for the fourth and his salary increases each season. It will be hard trying to move a contract like that especially for a guy who isn’t that valuable in today’s NBA.
With Eric Gordon heading into free agency the Pelicans will need a shooting guard. The top two options are restricted but it may be worth a shot to throw money at one of them. Any deal for Bradley Beal will surely be matched by the Washington Wizards. Evan Fournier is having a career year for the Magic but they may let him walk considering they have other young pieces that could use playing time. Fournier is a reliable 3-point shooter that would greatly help the Pelicans. In terms of unrestricted players they could probably sign Courtney Lee for a good deal. He’s a solid 2-guard that can shoot the ball and competes on the defensive end.
Small forward is another position the Pelicans need to upgrade. If they strike out with Batum there are guys like Harrison Barnes and Chandler Parsons out there. Barnes is restricted and it will be interesting to see if the Warriors match anything for Barnes. Parsons has a player option and will most likely resign with the Mavericks. Kent Bazemore and Jared Dudley will be unrestricted free agents. Bazemore will be getting a big contract because he’s a young 3&D guy who has improved this season. The Pelicans could use a guy like Jared Dudley; veteran guy who competes on defense and he shoots 45% from 3-point range.
Anthony Davis is under contract for five more seasons and they need to get a real team around him. That Asik contract will hunt them for a while but with the cap going up they could make some moves. Davis is a young star who seems easy to play with. He needs to get out there and get some guys to come to New Orleans.
After running the lotto simulator a dozen times on Realgm.com the Pelicans were around the 6-8 range. I don’t know much about the draft but I hear it’s not a deep draft. Maybe they could move that pick on draft night for a good player. Time is ticking and things will only get harder as the Wolves young players grow and the Jazz are getting better. Anthony Davis is special but he still needs good players around him to make a bigger impact.