Drafted early in the second round of the 2019 NBA Draft, Didi Louzada spent a season getting better overseas, benefiting the New Orleans Pelicans.
The New Orleans Pelicans have an impressive stable of young players, or at least based on what we’ve seen with the rebuilt roster. However, their young talent isn’t even on full display quite yet, as they’re waiting on the 35th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Seeming like a crafty move on draft day by Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin, the team added a high-ceiling prospect in Didi Louzada, a creative wing, and Brazilian national team member, to their core.
Due to his underdeveloped overall skillset and unlikely to receive any sort of immediate playing time, Louzada joined the NBL, a basketball league based out of Australia and New Zealand, as a part of their Next Stars program.
In his 24 games this season as a member of the Sydney Kings, Louzada averaged 10.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and shot 41% from the floor, all while clocking in for about 22.8 minutes per contest.
Interestingly, Didi Louzada was a part of the Kings’ run to the NBL Grand Final, but the series was cut short as the world responded to the outbreak of the current global pandemic.
Louzada is already impressive as an off-ball creator on the offensive end. In runs with the Pelicans in the Summer League and during his NBL season, Didi showed creativity navigating defenses without the ball in his hands.
Overall, Louzada’s best offensive usage is going to be in an up-tempo system where he’s allowed to use his speed creativity to give a defense their hardest assignment.
Under a different coach, say in a slowed-down system like the one currently employed by the San Antonio Spurs, Louzada might make less sense. However, the Pelicans are designed to push the tempo, thanks in part to Alvin Gentry and in part to their overall roster formation.
There will need to be some sort of correction to Louzada’s jump shot if he’s ever to reach his ceiling in the NBA; he just hasn’t found his groove shooting the rock up to his point.
Last season in the NBL, the young guard shot 33% from three on 4.9 attempts per contest; while that’s not an ideal clip, he doesn’t have the benefit of an accredited NBA shooting coach to tune up his jumper.
Seemingly, the New Orleans Pelicans would be the right organization for that kind of prospect; shooting coach Fred Vinson‘s success with players including Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball would indicate a team that has a nice system in place to cure that ailment.
Already adding one lesser-known sharpshooter to their roster before the 2019-2020 season in Nicolò Melli, David Griffin is making some pretty creative moves to improve the perimeter scoring of this Pelicans team for the long haul; Louzada should be another nice piece of the puzzle.
The J.J. Redick factor plays a huge role in what could be a pretty quick success story for Louzada with the Pelicans, both in role and development.
While Redick commands a leading role off the bench when healthy, he’s dealt with a few injuries this season and at 36-years-old, he doesn’t have a ton of years left.
It would be excellent for the New Orleans Pelicans if Redick is a part of the NBA mentorship for the guard, helping him develop as a part of the league and the organization.
Even if he never becomes a high-level three-point shooter, Louzada has the foundations to become a pretty good defensive presence in the NBA.
His intensity is impressive on that end of the floor; he’s not the biggest or strongest guy out there, but he’s consistently playing hard on defense.
Providing high energy on that end of the floor, in addition to keeping things under control in terms of contact (averaged 1.8 fouls per game in the NBL), his motor should be a big benefit for the New Orleans Pelicans bench next season.
With an overall impressive skillset and still just 20-years-old, Didi Louzada has a lot of room to grow in the NBA over the next few years, but it’s great that he was able to get a kick start with the Sydney Kings in a sizable role.
While the New Orleans Pelicans will continue to add and exchange pieces from this roster of talented players, Didi Louzada could be an interesting addition to the mix.