New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for close loss vs. Nuggets

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Steven Adams of the New Orleans Pelicans
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Nuggets: Grades for the centers

Big. New Orleans Pelicans. STEVEN ADAMS. C-.

After doing alright in their first encounter, Steven Adams had a tough time against Nikola Jokic.

Adams might have actually been better on offense than defense, which is a rarity for him but doesn’t say much in this game. On some occasions, Adams was able to gather the ball and go through Jokic, but any good from that was undone on the other end of the floor.

Adams played a team-high 41 minutes, a sign that he is the center Stan Van Gundy trusts most against the Nuggets’ MVP candidate. He competed when Jokic met him in the paint but found it difficult to step out of his comfort zone.

In particular, Adams struggled to deal with the Nuggets’ constant screens, which did not go well given Denver’s propensity to run those types of actions. He also wasn’t the imposing force he tends to be on the boards.

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. Big. New Orleans Pelicans. JAXSON HAYES. N/A

Stan Van Gundy didn’t trust Jaxson Hayes against the Nuggets, only playing the Texas big around seven minutes.

That’s not enough to give him a proper grade. Hayes had one impressive reverse dunk on a lob pass from Kira Lewis, but it was unfortunately waived off. I was interested in seeing how Hayes would have dealt with switching onto the likes of Jamal Murray, but it’s evident that Van Gundy doesn’t want to see that right now.

Hayes has had an impressive March, but let’s see if his spot in the rotation remains a fixture after the arrival of James Johnson. Johnson is evidently less athletic and dynamic than Hayes, but Van Gundy might be enchanted by his toughness and veteranship.

Up next, the Pels’ back-to-back continues, coincidentally enough, against the Dallas Mavericks. JJ Redick will not be available, as he continues to recover from the heel injury that kept him out of action for New Orleans.

Next. JJ Redick left his mark on his young teammates. dark