New Orleans Pelicans: 2 most disappointing players so far

Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to pass while Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans defends (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
Karl-Anthony Towns #32 of the Minnesota Timberwolves looks to pass while Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans defends (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans got their first win of the season last night, which was a welcome sight after dropping the first three games of the season.

Without Zion Williamson, the offense has struggled and the young Pels are still gelling on defense, but it is not all doom and gloom.

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The starters have all played pretty well for the Pelicans, especially Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas, who have carried the offense so far and looked like All-Stars in the process.

Herbert Jones has been impacting games without scoring and the lineups with him are having a lot of success this season.

The problem has been the bench, which has been absolutely atrocious to start the season and was again last night vs. Minnesota, scoring just 20 points in the win.

Though there is plenty of blame to go around, two guys in particular have been disappointing so far.

New Orleans Pelicans: Where is Naji Marshall?

One guy who I thought was going to be a major part of the Pels’ rotation is Naji Marshall, who has yet to make much of an impact in four games.

After looking like the type of defense/energy guy the Pelicans need in the preseason, Naji hasn’t gotten off the bench much so far once the games got real.

This is disappointing, as I thought Marshall could even crack the starting lineup, but so far he’s been fairly awful. He’s shooting a clean zero percent from the 3-point line and averaging almost as many turnovers as assists, blocks and steals combined.

Marshall needs to take better care of the ball and start knocking down some shots if he wants to stay in the rotation.

New Orleans Pelicans: Will Jaxson Hayes ever figure it out?

Jaxson Hayes is a guy I thought was primed for a breakout season, and though it is still too early to write him off, there are troubling signs.

If you lose your minutes to a second-round rookie who doesn’t even play your position, that is not a good sign, but that is exactly what has happened to Hayes.

Green already has more confidence in Herbert Jones than he does Hayes, which is why we’ve seen Hayes glued to the bench even though the New Orleans Pelicans are only playing with one other center.

If the Pels continue to rely on small-ball lineups with Jones this season, then I don’t see a spot for Hayes moving forward, as he doesn’t really fit in anywhere and has yet to make an impact so far.

It is only four games, but I expected Hayes to at least seize the backup center role and so far his numbers are down across the board, including minutes, which is not a great sign for a guy who is in his third season.

If the New Orleans Pelicans want to stay alive without Zion Williamson, they are going to have to get more from their bench, including Marshall and Hayes, who have yet to show up this season.

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