New Orleans Pelicans 2021-22 season: Awards for Week 2

New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and forward Herbert Jones (5) Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports
New Orleans Pelicans guard Devonte' Graham (4) and center Jonas Valanciunas (17) and forward Herbert Jones (5) Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /
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New Orleans Pelicans, Herbert Jones
New Orleans Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (5) Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

New Orleans Pelicans: Young Player of the Week

This award is given to the best player who is still on their rookie deal. That gives me a deeper player pool to work with especially for a team with one of the youngest rosters in the NBA. As a reminder, expectations are weighed heavily when it comes to this award and I’ll be taking last week into consideration when building those expectations.

This week one player really ran away with this award but I’d like to show the other guys a little love before just handing this out.

Trey Murphy III played well this week and his bright spot was doing exactly what New Orleans drafted him to do, play defense and hit three’s. The rookie knocked down 40 percent of his attempts from behind the arc and was one of the few with a positive net rating for the week. If he keeps this up he’ll be a valuable piece of the rotation.

Kira Lewis Jr had a disastrous back end to last week that was fueled by something he rarely did last year, turn the ball over. This week he got that a little more under control but was still off the pace he set as a rookie. He needs to start hitting his threes if he wants to earn more playing time but just that he was thrown back into the mix is a good sign for the trust Willie Green has in Lewis.

Related Story. NAW is doing WAY to much of this so far in 2021-22. light

Those two had solid weeks for the Pels and if they can continue to develop this award could be theirs. But now this award goes to a player not expected to do much going into the season but who has become a key piece to the rotation.

Herb Jones wins this for the second week in a row behind his continued presence as a disruptor on defense and his added scoring. Last week Herb earned this by stepping into the starting lineup after an injury to Josh Hart and proving he belongs in the NBA.

My favorite part of Herb’s week was him picking up Trae Young full court on the first possession of the Hawks game on 10/27. This didn’t seem like something Herb did on his own, rather it seemed planned by the coaching staff. To trust a rookie to defend one of the deadliest scorers in the league the length of the floor at the start of the game was big.

Not only was Herb able to defend small guards he also more than held his own against mobile forwards. The game against the Knicks saw Herb draw Julius Randle as his matchup. Limiting the All-NBA forward to just ten points of 4-9 shooting is a job well done.

All NBA teams would kill to have a player who can defend all across the positional spectrum and would be just fine with that player not scoring a single point if it meant their defense stayed the same. The New Orleans Pelicans were fine with that level of performance in the first week. But in week two, Jones provided a little bit of offensive punch to his game. He only averaged 10.7 points across the three games but that was up almost nine points from week one.

New Orleans found a diamond in the rough with Jones. A second-round pick with the chops to handle all opponents on the defensive end is something every team dreams of finding yet few do. For his efforts, Jones is the first player to win back-to-back Young Player of the Week (no small feat).

Next. This 2022 free agent is one to monitor this season. dark