The Pelicans have a very talented roster, and the addition of Julius Randle gives them a great sixth man, but also a full in option in the starting lineup when injuries occur. When fully healthy, Nikola Mirotic has jumped into the starting power forward role. He has flirted with starting roles before, but has played well there this season. Anthony Davis has been starting at the five this season, and as a top ten player in the NBA, the offense runs through him. Their wing production is the only real downside, as Solomon Hill and E’Twaun Moore have both been starting at times this season. New Orleans has lacked a true point guard, and they brought in Elfrid Payton to try and fill that role. He will play alongside Jrue Holiday, who has been excellent on both sides of the ball. Holiday can work as the primary ball-handler at times, as well as shift over to point guard when needed.
There has been some changes in New Orleans this year, and a few key pieces from the last year and a half are elsewhere. DeMarcus Cousins missed most of this past year so the Pelicans should not have time adjusting, but he is a big usage piece off the court. The Pelicans are equipped to survive without him. Julius Randle ended up in New Orleans after his drama in Los Angeles. Randle is going to be one of the few solid big men to play next to Davis. With Randle’s all-around game, he should fit in quite well with this offense. Nikola Mirotic is either going to be an offensive spark plug off the bench, or he is going to be starting.
This will also determine Randle’s status. Anthony Davis is clearly the guy on this team, and usage will be at a crazy high rate. With his ability to play the four and five, the Pelicans can roll out plenty of lineups. Cheick Diallo is a talented big who was buried behind some bigs last season. He is a young name to keep an eye on for this year, and has plenty of talent to play a productive role on this team. E’Twaun Moore and Darius Miller will spend most of their minutes at the three, and given the usage of the other players their offensive role will be rather limited. Moore is someone who requires hot three point shooting to be of any relevance. Jrue Holiday took a huge step forward and is one of the better shooting guards in the league on both sides of the ball. Elfrid Payton is essentially like Rajon Rondo, as he struggles on defense but does a little bit of everything offensively. With little depth behind him it is hard to envision him getting less minutes like his time in Orlando.