Before Monty Williams took the stage for his postseason press conference yesterday afternoon, Dell Demps did the same thing. He had some interesting things to say and below are some quotes that really stood out to me along with some analysis.
“Obviously we are disappointed where we are at this point of the season. We came into the season having high expectations and due to a number of reasons we are not where we would like to be at this time. Obviously we had a number of injuries this year. We put together this group and I don’t think we got a good sample of the group playing together. We still like our core and we still are confident with the core that we have but obviously we want to continue to do everything we possibly can to try and improve this team.”
It seems like Demps’ plans involve mostly adding pieces around the Anthony Davis/Ryan Anderson/Jrue Holiday/Tyreke Evans/Eric Gordon core and less about breaking it up in some way. There will be plenty of speculation about Gordon’s future but Demps never made it seem like the Pelican’s brass is leaning in one direction or another at the moment.
On Antony Davis:
“I think we are thrilled with his progress. He is everything that we .You know we also want to put pieces around him to be a successful team. I wouldn’t say a surprise. Did it come a little faster than I thought it would? “
This was basically Demps’ way of saying what Monty Williams later would. This is Anthony Davis’ team, just as it should be. He never really gave an indication of what types of players he wanted to fit around Davis though so it will be interesting to see who the Pelicans show interest in going forward.
On Tyreke moving into the starting lineup and Eric Gordon becoming a sixth man:
“We haven’t talked about that but obviously we are going to look at everything that is going to make the team better and obviously it is what is best for the team. I think when you have all these injuries you try to find positives, you try to look for things and I think one of the things is that I think Monty did a really good job of putting Tyreke in some good situations and I think if you ask both of them they found out a little bit about each other. I think when you bring a player in from another team, another system it takes a little bit of time in that adjustment period and I thought some of the things that Monty did with Tyreke were really, really good.”
Unlike Williams later on in the day, Demps never seemed to be leaning one way or another. Throughout the whole press conference he never really gave an indication one way or another with Gordon. He did though praise Monty and the coaching staff twice during the presser, once when talking about the growth of Davis and once here.
On using Evans as a sixth man during the season:
“I wouldn’t call it a mistake. When you are judging your talent you want to put guys in situations that are best for the team and when we acquired him we talked to him about coming off the bench and he was all on board with that. And he never said anything against that.”
I gather two major points from the two press conferences. This is Anthony Davis’ team and the Pelicans brass loves what Evans brought late in the season. I think at this point I would pencil Evans in as the starting two guard for opening night next season.
Some injury updates:
“I am not qualified to say exactly what the surgeon did to Ryan’s neck. I have been told it was a successful surgery and we should expect to have him back at the start of next season.”
“Eric Gordon is going into surgery today [Thursday] for arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. I think it is going to be more of a cleanup; I am not a surgeon but more of a cleanup to get his knee right. I don’t think it is a major knee surgery so we expect him back to start next season as well.”
Good news on both fronts here.
On the injuries in general:
“We looked at it. I think some of them were just bad luck. When you look at Ryan’s injury, you look at Jrue’s injury; you just don’t know how those happen. Those are rare injuries. They don’t happen in the NBA very often.”
On improving the roster:
“The way we are situated right now we like our core, we like to have a bigger sample size of seeing them play together but obviously we are going to be creative and do everything we possibly can to improve our roster. We are going to give ourselves the best possibility moving forward. Can I come here and say hey we are going to get this guy, add this guy trade this guy? No, but what I can say is we are looking at every opportunity to get better.”
“We are expecting have everyone healthy at the start of next season and training camp. But we also want to add some things to it because the West is tough. You have to win 47-50 games just to make the playoffs and our goal is not just to make the playoffs, obviously we want to get there but we obviously want to have sustained success and play at an elite level.”
I got the impression here that some role players are in real danger of being replaced. Demps didn’t ever say who or what positions he was looking to improve but my guess is small forward and center are going to be the main spots that will be looked at as possibly being improved.