The New Orleans Pelicans need to look for free agents in the hustle stats.
If one thing became clear in the bubble, it’s that the New Orleans Pelicans need more players who hustle.
Hustle stats are fairly new in the NBA, and include things like screen assists, deflections, charges drawn and shots contested.
You won’t be surprised to find that the Pelicans don’t have many players who rank in these categories, as they had plenty of scoring and star power but not enough grit.
When you watch teams like the Clippers, Raptors and even Houston, you’ll see the Pelicans are still far from being a contender, mostly because they lack defenders and guys who do the little things that contribute to winning basketball.
The P.J. Tuckers and Montrezl Harrells of the world make life a whole lot easier for the stars on their team, which is why the Pelicans need to be scouring the hustle stats to find guys who can give them what they need at a low cost.
If you look closely at the hustle stats, you’ll see a lesser known name who keeps popping up, Gary Clark of the Orlando Magic.
If you’re not sure who Clark is, you’re not alone, as he was undrafted before ending up on Houston, then waived, then finally signed by Orlando after a string of 10-day contracts.
Clark’s traditional numbers are not going to jump off the page, as he averages around four points and two rebounds a game, but a closer look at the hustle stats reveals Clark’s real value.
It was shocking to find Clark ranked higher than several All-Defensive players in certain hustle categories while playing limited minutes for the Magic.
The Pelicans may be able to get a free agent steal who does many things they need.