The DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis experiment was short lived for the Pelicans. Cousins would tear his ACL after only playing about one-third of the team's contests. The road to recovery would be overwhelming and Golden State would eventually scoop Cousins up in a low risk, high reward situation. Then came the speculation of trading away the team's greatest asset in Anthony Davis. This notion was quickly deemed ludicrous by the management team as Davis is the face of the franchise. This left the Pelicans with a little cap space. The team added Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton. The Randle signing was a goal for the team heading into the off-season. Randle's post capability lends Anthony Davis the opportunity to get full run at the center position. This helps to create match-up advantages that the team can expose during competition. Payton brings depth to the point guard position and creates two-guard pairings with Jrue Holiday. Holiday has shown he can score, which may create opportunities to bump Holiday to shooting guard in favorable matchups. The rest of the roster remains relatively unchanged, which builds chemistry that may finally start to pay dividends for a team that was just outside the playoff conversation last season.
|Point Guard PG|
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF|
|Power Forward PF|
|Point Guard PG||
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF||
|Power Forward PF||
A: One area the team decided to leave untouched was the shooting guard and small forward positions. The team rotates four players through these roles, sharing the starting minutes amongst these players. When you consider guys like Solomon Hill, E'Twaun Moore, and Ian Clark, the discussion immediately sparks role-player conversations. Designing a rotation that edges the competition will be a main focal point for this group in 2018-19.
A: With Cousins, the team was able to keep Anthony Davis at the forward position. This opened the floor for him, but the size of these two greatly diminished penetration capabilities. Spreading his influence on the position creates additional post work for Davis, an area where his game is the strongest. Randle is glued to the paint, but he has the ball handling capabilities to free up this area more for Davis.
A: The bench unit is reworked for this team heading into this season. Nikola Mirotic adapts to a role that he has shown comfort in. Jahlil Okafor is a wildcard for this team as he is still young and developing within the league. Having Payton billed as the focal point for spreading the ball in this second unit creates favorable looks for these mentions. This second squad will keep the pace high and has all the tangibles needed to produce at a favorable clip.