The New Orleans Pelicans hope they can use the G-League to develop low-cost talent to fill out the roster around their core.
With Jrue Holiday making $26 million, Brandon Ingram about to get a max deal, Lonzo Ball’s extension on the horizon and Zion Williamson not far behind, the New Orleans Pelicans are going to have to find some low-cost talent if they want to keep this core together.
That could mean turning to the G-League, which has evolved into a viable developmental league for teams looking to nurture their prospects.
The Toronto Raptors have been able to effectively develop players like Pascal Siakam, who rose out of the G-League to become an All-Star game starter and a key piece on a championship team.
With top high school prospect Jalen Green recently signing a G-League contract, it won’t be long before the G-League becomes a top resource for talent, possibly even supplanting the NCAA as the place young stars go to showcase themselves.
The New Orleans Pelicans had a couple of two-way players in Zylan Cheatham and Josh Gray who made short appearances with the team, and it’s possible Cheatham will get a legit shot at making the roster next season as a defensive wing.
The G-League is now more than a place to stash guys who have no chance at making the team, as more and more franchises are using the G-League in a similar fashion to the minor leagues of baseball, where players come up and down during the season.
This could be the case with a couple of players on the Erie Bayhawks, the G-League affiliate of the New Orleans Pelicans.
Neither of these two are likely to make the team, but they might get a chance at some spot playing time during the season, especially if the New Orleans Pelicans suffer injuries.
If the Pelicans can use the G-League to find some low-cost talent, they will have a better chance at retaining their core for the long-term.