ESPN released the first half of their top-100 players list and a couple of New Orleans Pelicans made the end of it.
There were also some old Pelicans, as Steven Adams came in at No. 98, Christian Wood at 60 and Lonzo Ball at No. 57. There is always plenty to argue about with these rankings but I do think there is a case that the two current Pels should be a little higher.
New Orleans Pelicans on the ESPN Top 100- Jonas Valanciunas, No. 94
New center Jonas Valanciunas came in at 94, which was a bit surprising, as I think he is considerably better than Adams, who offers next to nothing on offense other than screens.
The article cited “rebounding” as his best skill, which is debatable, as he is also a very good low-post player. Whether he will work with Zion Williamson is another story but I thought he should have been ahead of guys like Mitchell Robinson and Seth Curry.
Devonte’ Graham, No. 86
Devonte’ Graham came in at no. 86 on the list, just behind John Wall and Darius Garland, which seems fair.
I don’t think Graham is that much worse than Lonzo Ball (no. 57), especially when you factor in his play in the clutch, but I also think Ball has the higher ceiling of the two overall because of his defense.
With Zion and B.I. sure to be featured on this list at some point, the New Orleans Pelicans will have four top-100 players in their starting five once again.
We have to hope that Valanciunas and Graham are enough of an upgrade over Eric Bledsoe and Adams to propel the Pelicans into the playoff picture in the Western Conference.