New Orleans Pelicans: Sleepers in the Summer League

Frank Jackson New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Frank Jackson New Orleans Pelicans (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Amidst all the craziness going on this offseason, Summer league has arrived, and the New Orleans Pelicans need players other than Zion to shine.

The day is Monday, July 1st, and in the cool mountains of Salt Lake City Utah, NBA prospects both new and old will meet for the opening games of the NBA Summer League.

Unfortunately, Pelicans fans will have to wait until Friday, July 5th to watch our young talent in action. That, however, gives us the perfect amount of time to go over some players on the official Pelicans NBA Summer league roster because it can get a little bit confusing.

Our proposed trade assets from the Lakers and Hawks would not be able to join the roster until the trades are made official on July 6th. With that being said I’d like to point out a few players other than Zion Williamson that we should be watching very closely for the Pelicans first matchup against the Knicks on July 5th.

The first name that comes to mind when I think of the Pelicans’ young guys from last season is Frank Jackson. Jackson took us on a wild ride with some great athleticism but often confusing defense and inconsistent shooting.

However, he seemed to find a rhythm late in the second half of the season and strung together some nice performances with a more extended role (due to an injury to Jrue Holiday). It doesn’t sound far fetched to expect Jackson to elevate his game this summer, look for consistency in his shot and expect him to let the flow of the game come to him naturally.

We know via Instagram Jackson was working out with Jrue Holiday for a majority of this offseason so far, so let’s see him put those gains to work.

Next, we have Kenrich Williams AKA “Kenny Hustle”.  Nicknames such as those aren’t just handed out, there’s a reason for it. Williams is no stranger to high effort plays, he plays with grit and determination. Although he doesn’t boast the most intimidating stature, his ability to outwork opposing bigs for rebounds is very admirable.

Expect that certain toughness that makes Williams a pain to play against this summer. Keep an eye out for how he plays alongside his new teammates, namely Zion Williamson.

Lastly—with somewhat of a curveball—I am very excited to see Aubrey Dawkins compete for a roster spot. The 6’6 guard out of UCF went undrafted this year and the Pelicans signed him to an Exhibit 10 deal which will allow him to play for our NBA summer league team.

Dawkins was nothing short of heroic when UCF played against Duke in the NCAA tournament. At 23-years-old—and having played all four years in college—the hope is that Dawkins might enjoy a Kyle Kuzma type of breakout summer.

Next. Zion's expected summer league matchups. dark

Minutes and roles within this rotation are up for grabs, this is a wonderful opportunity for guys to impress the coaching staff. Look for guys like Frank Jackson, Trevon Bluiett, Aubrey Dawkins, Jalen Adams, and Tony Carr to all be competing extremely hard for those minutes.