The Pelicans had Rajon Rondo last season, who is now out in Los Angeles with LeBron James. They brought in a similar guard in Elfrid Payton, who has been with Orlando and Phoenix during his career. Payton hasn’t really been a long term play with any team, and that could be the case again with a one year deal in New Orleans. He is going to be the third or even fourth option on this team, which could help take the pressure off of him running an offense. Jrue Holiday is going to handle the ball at times, while Payton can run with some other units.
The Pelicans front court is already very good with Anthony Davis at the helm, but they traded for Nikola Mirotic last season and landed Julius Randle on a one year deal. Randle is coming off a career high with 16 points per game, but has produced well on the glass and provided some assists as well. Randle is a really good player that the Lakers did not see fitting what they wanted for the future. Pelicans scooped him him, and now you have three excellent front court options that can help in various ways. It is a low risk and high reward for Pelicans and Randle.
Anthony Davis joined the same agency as LeBron James, which is always going to cause the web to stir up some theories. Davis is averaging a career 28 points per game, 11 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks. He is a superstar on both sides of the ball, and is also a 34% career shooter from beyond the arc. Davis still has this year and next year left on his contract, and then a $28 million dollar player option. Davis is going to see a contract unlike we have seen before, but the bigger question is who will fork it out. He will be turning 26 years old this year, which is in the midst of his prime.
The Pelicans have needed some stability in the backcourt, and Jrue Holiday provided that last season. He averaged 19 points, which was a career high, and also dished out six assists a game and four rebounds. His defense was also at peak performance, and he averaged 1.5 steals per game. We have seen Holiday play well in New Orleans, but he was by far his best if you watched any Pelicans basketball. He will definitely be needed at this level if the Pelicans want to get back to the playoffs. He will also need to mesh with Elfrid Payton playing alongside him.
Anthony Davis was been an all-star, an all-NBA player, and an all-defensive player. He has yet to win an MVP award. There are a lot of contenders for this award, with Giannis and LeBron James leading the way. Davis is among the top five for MVP contenders, according to Vegas, but he doesn’t quite get the same buzz. He has averaged 28 and 11 over the last two seasons, and has averaged more than two blocks per game in the last five years. He has all the tools on both sides of the ball, and despite being labeled injury prone, he has played 75 games in back to back seasons.