New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for close loss vs. Nuggets

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
2 of 4
Eric Bledsoe #5 of the New Orleans Pelicans attempts to shoot
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Nuggets: Grades for the guards

ERIC BLEDSOE. B. . Guard. New Orleans Pelicans

Eric Bledsoe enjoyed his best night in a while against the Nuggets with 16 points, nine assists, and two steals.

This was Bledsoe’s highest-scoring night since the end of February. The former Bucks guard is here to stay, at least until the end of the season, and it seems like he went into the contest against Denver with some renewed motivation. Time will tell if that’s true.

Bledsoe was more emphatic than he has been throughout the course of the season. He constantly applied pressure at the rim—to mixed results, admittedly—and played with aggression instead of apprehension. Bledsoe also competed on the defensive end of the floor. At the very least, he didn’t look completely apathetic.

The Pelicans need more nights like this from Bledsoe.

B-. . Guard. New Orleans Pelicans. KIRA LEWIS JR.

Kira Lewis Jr. had the best performance of his young NBA career against the Los Angeles Lakers in the Pels’ last game, but simply had an alright night versus the Nuggets.

The good news is that Lewis finished with three assists to zero turnovers and also pitched in offensively with six points. Like always, he sped up the pace for the Pels.

However, Lewis missed all three of his attempted triples. The Alabama draftee is not a threat from beyond the arc yet, which threatens to limit his game in the long term. However, that’s not something to worry about for now.

Even when Facundo Campazzo tried to take advantage of this by going underneath a ball screen and daring Lewis to shoot, the Pels’ rookie did a good job stepping into a closer mid-range shot and swishing it.

Related Story. How the Redick trade will help the Pels. light

A-. . Guard. New Orleans Pelicans. NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER

Nickeil Alexander-Walker will rue missing a pivotal three in the last two minutes of this close game, but he should be proud of the rest of his performance.

The former Virginia Tech combo guard continues to grow for New Orleans, which is a great sign given his up-and-down play at the start of the season. Alexander-Walker had 14 points and once again fired away a high volume of three-pointers. He finished 4-of-10 from the perimeter.

However, I was most impressed by Alexander-Walker on defense. His two blocks and two steals correctly indicate his level of activity on this end of the floor. Alexander-Walker was everywhere at times, picking up deflections, making second efforts, and just generally competing.

He’s been great in Lonzo Ball’s absence.