New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for massive win vs. Clippers

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Jaxson Hayes
New Orleans Pelicans, Jaxson Hayes (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Clippers: Grades for the bigs

A. . Big. New Orleans Pelicans. JAXSON HAYES

Let the good times roll.

Jaxson Hayes’ excellent start to March continues. Maybe because it’s we are nearing the madness of the NCAA tournament, but Hayes has felt right at home this month. The Pels’ second-year player made all six of his shots, rolled hard to the rim, gathered offensive rebounds, and finished hard at the basket.

But the most memorable part of Hayes’ showing against the Clippers was undoubtedly his poster dunk. The Texas big’s hammer over Reggie Jackson was unforgettable and will be shown on highlight packages for years to come.

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STEVEN ADAMS. B. . Big. New Orleans Pelicans

A solid outing from Steven Adams.

The New Zealand center only played about 20 minutes, going 3-of-3 from the field and customarily racking up many rebounds. Adams was outshined by Hayes, but the results were similar with both of them.

Hayes and Adams were both a +14 during their time on the court. I expected the Clippers’ game to be tougher for Adams given Serge Ibaka’s ability to stretch the floor, but Ibaka only played eight minutes because of lower back soreness.

The Pelicans’ matchups against the Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets might be better fits for Adams.

Big. New Orleans Pelicans. NICOLO MELLI. N/A.

Nicolò Melli only played seven minutes against the Clippers off the back of a good performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Still, it seems like Melli is playing more aggressively and with more confidence as of late.

Like I wrote after the Cavs, Melli has to keep working on his three-pointer. Part of the reason why I wrote about wanting Maxi Kleber—or someone like him—on the Pels roster is that he adds a stretch element to New Orleans’ frontcourt.

The Italian big isn’t shooting as well as expected, making only 21 percent of his threes. He also cannot be counted on defensively.

. Big. New Orleans Pelicans. WILLY HERNANGOMEZ. N/A

If it wasn’t evident before, it should be official now that Willy Hernangómez has lost his spot in the New Orleans rotation.

The 6-foot-11 Spaniard only saw four minutes of action against the Clippers. He missed both of his attempted shots, one in the post and another on a late shot clock three. Hernangómez is an unrestricted free agent this summer, so he is essentially playing for a new deal. I’m not sure his future will be in New Orleans.

If Hernangómez doesn’t figure in the Pels’ long-term plans, then I think it would be better to give Will Magnay or Wenyen Gabriel his garbage time minutes. That could always go back to locker room dynamics, though. Still, the Australian has some NBA potential that can be tapped into, while Gabriel projects as a switchy forward that can slide up and down positions.

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