New Orleans Pelicans: Grades for flat loss vs. Warriors

(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /
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Nickeil Alexander-Walker, New Orleans Pelicans
(Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Warriors: Grades for the guards

B. . Guard. New Orleans Pelicans. ERIC BLEDSOE

Eric Bledsoe was on his way to having a nice game offensively, but he only played around 15 minutes.

I suspect that Bledsoe played so little largely because the Pels have nothing to play for, unless that involves losing to improve your draft spot. Of course, you can’t just outright try to lose—even if the Oklahoma City Thunder have done quite a job blurring the lines in the second half of the season—so Bledsoe started, played a little, and then sat out the rest of the game.

The former Bucks guard got off to a good start on attack, getting into the paint and finishing on layups or short jumpers. This is how his performances have improved since the trade deadline. On defense, Bledsoe looked mostly indifferent and even apathetic at times.

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B+. . Guard. New Orleans Pelicans. NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER

Nickeil Alexander-Walker might get some flak for his poor shot selection down the stretch, but this is what you’re going to get in the last few games with nothing to play for.

This game against the Warriors and the upcoming game against the Los Angeles Lakers should pretty much be treated as sandboxes for the Pelicans. Just try stuff and see what sticks without worrying too much about the long-term consequences. In Friday’s case, Alexander-Walker played 40 minutes as the team’s alpha to mixed results.

The Canadian combo guard was the Pelicans’ main source of offensive inspiration. He “went off” for 30 points, although I say that in quotes because there wasn’t much at stake and he wasn’t particularly efficient either. Still, you can see Alexander-Walker’s evident shot-creation skills whenever he’s on the floor.

I am expecting Alexander-Walker to have another shot-happy outing in New Orleans’ season finale. He got 40 minutes against Golden State, a season-high, and will get plenty of reps against the reigning NBA champions.

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

Kira Lewis Jr. had a rough start to the night but pulled it together by the final buzzer.

The New Orleans Pelicans rookie struggled at first to finish through this Golden State team. He was typically getting to the rim with ease using his speed and tight handle, but Lewis was not converting through length or contact. This is something that he will have to work on going forward, as getting downhill can be fruitless if you are unable to finish or make the right decisions.

Lewis’ two made field goals came in the fourth quarter, but I hope that he gets off to a hotter start in the Pels’ last game. Recently, it seems like Lewis is only springing into action when it’s too late.

He also didn’t have a great game on the defensive end of the floor. I counted at least three times where Lewis lost track of Nico Mannion on backdoor cuts.