Jose Alvarado of the New Orleans Pelicans has had a busy offseason.
He went straight from trying to shut down Chris Paul in the playoffs to doing the media circuit and is now representing Puerto Rico in the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Alvarado became a fan favorite because of his scrappy, energetic style of play, but this guy is more than just a defensive pest, he has a burgeoning offensive game as well and we are seeing it on full display in the FIBA qualifiers.
One of the question marks around Alvarado’s game in the NBA has been his 3-point shooting, but he has been knocking them down for Puerto Rico, most recently going 4-of-8 from long range in their overtime win over Mexico:
Alvarado is showing that he is more than just defense, which will undoubtedly benefit the New Orleans Pelicans.
New Orleans Pelicans: Jose Alvarado is expanding his game
Alvarado had led all scorers with 22 points and added seven assists and seven rebounds, the second game in a row he has gone over 20 for Puerto Rico.
He’s been doing it from all three levels, penetrating for floaters in the lane, pulling up for mid-range shots and knocking down 42 percent of his 3-pointers thus far:
Alvarado has also shown more ability off the ball, making nice cuts to the rim and moving around the perimeter looking for open spots.
This is a big development for the New Orleans Pelicans, as they have three guys in Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum who are going to demand a lot of attention on the floor, so it will help if there are players who can take advantage of the double teams and knock down open shots.
Teams are going to have to choose their poison, and when Jose is on the floor, it will be him that gets left open on the perimeter a lot of the time. If he starts knocking down 3-point shots more consistently, this offense is going to be tough to stop, even when the bench is in the game.
Some fans have noticed a smoother release and that Alvarado is letting it go from higher, not pushing the ball as much as he has in the past. This could be due to work with shot-guru Fred Vinson, who has earned a reputation around the league for being able to improve shots over time.
Alvarado just continues to impress and there are a whole lot of teams around the NBA right now who are wondering how this guy ever slipped out of the draft.
Puerto Rico will next take on Brazil in the second round.