The New Orleans Pelicans were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Golden State Warriors. Do not let the sweep fool you, this series was extremely competitive and New Orleans gave the champs a battle. It was the first playoff appearance since the expansion of the franchise and things in New Orleans are trending upwards. The single most important piece of business to take care of this offseason was re-upping Anthony Davis. The Pelicans did so by giving Davis a huge contract, of which he will be worth every penny. Davis is already one of the best players in the NBA and looks to be quickly trending towards possibly being “the” best player in year or two.
The other big and necessary move for the Pelicans was finding a new head coach. They swooped in and took Alvin Gentry from the Warriors and he seems to be a perfect fit. Gentry will have the Pelicans playing more of an up tempo offense which will fit their personnel well. Getting Davis and co. out in the open floor should open things up on the offensive end which is where the Pelicans struggled despite having a surplus of talent. Davis is an athletic freak and getting him out in the open floor more is a no brainer. Eric Gordon also chose to opt-in to his contract and will be back with the team. His contract is hefty but he will give them a good floor spacer if he can remain healthy. Health really is the key factor for New Orleans going forward. Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson have all had trouble staying healthy. If the Pelicans are going to hold on to Holiday then their next key offseason move would be bringing back point guard Norris Cole. Cole played stellar as a backup last season and is a capable starter in case Holiday’s injury plagued career continues. Cole is a restricted free agent and has yet to resign.
Graphic via bleacher report
Aside from acquiring a new head coach, the Pelicans have been mostly quiet in free agency this offseason. They resigned big man Omer Asik to play next to Anthony Davis. Asik is a good rebounder but is limited offensively and came with a hefty contract. They also only had one pick in this past draft and it was not until 56th overall. They selected forward Branden Dawson but later shipped him to Los Angeles. It was a largely uneventful offseason for the Pelicans, yet still a productive one. They have their head coach of the future to pair along their budding superstar. Anthony Davis is the key cog and the team has surrounded him with plenty of talent.
The Pelicans did what they needed to this offseason and earned an “A” grade even without making a big free agent move. The next step is becoming a contender in the loaded western conference. We will see if they can take the next step in the upcoming season.
Graphic via pelicandebrief