The New Orleans Pelicans have had a busy offseason that is not over yet.
So far, it has drawn mixed reviews from national media, as some have called them the “biggest losers,” while others have taken a closer look and see a team that could be a lot better than last season.
I’ve been seeing a lot of these types of reviews going around, seemingly by people who have not watched a ton of Pelicans’ games the last two seasons:
I couldn’t disagree with this more, especially when you consider that the picks the Pelicans gave up were one of the Lakers’, which will almost certainly be in the late 20’s, and to move back seven spots where they took Trey Murphy III, a guy who looks like a steal.
The Pelicans do not have a single bad contract, which leaves them in poised to make a big move at some point this offseason or before the trade deadline.
The Pels are definitely better off financially but have they improved on the court? Let’s take a look at each positional group.
New Orleans Pelicans: The Centers
Last season: Steven Adams, Jaxson Hayes, Willy Hernangomez
This season: Jonas Valanciunas, Jaxson Hayes, Willy Hernangomez
The Pelicans have only made one change at center, shipping out Steven Adams in exchange for Jonas Valanciunas.
Valanciunas will replace all of Adams’ rebounding and rim protection and is a far better offensive player who can step away from the hoop and hit a jumper.
He is also a WAY better free-throw shooter than Adams, something that should help boost the Pelicans dramatically in that area.
Valanciunas will create more space, and if he starts shooting more 3-point shots, could play more of a Brook Lopez role for the Pelicans this season, stretching the floor and giving Zion Williamson more room to operate.
Hayes is a wildcard this season for obvious reasons, but I could see him making a leap if things work out and Hernangomez remains a great insurance policy.
Verdict: The center position has improved