New Orleans Pelicans: This coach will be key to player development

Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans talks with assistant coach Fred Vinson (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
Jaxson Hayes #10 of the New Orleans Pelicans talks with assistant coach Fred Vinson (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans will go into next season hoping to contend and a lot of that will depend on the development of their young players.

The Pels have a good mix of youth and veteran talent, but will be counting on guys like Herbert Jones, Trey Murphy III, Jose Alvarado, Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr. and rookie Dyson Daniels to make big contributions.

Hayes and Lewis Jr. in particular are in “prove it” years for the Pelicans, who will have to make some tough decisions about their team options and future.

One area that the whole team, including the young guys, need to improve is 3-point shooting, as the Pels were near the bottom of the NBA in both accuracy and makes per game.

Zion or Simmons: Which former #1 is going to bounce back?. light. Related Story

The Pelicans didn’t add any shooting when they drafted Dyson Daniels, so are hoping for more volume and accuracy from guys who are already on the team.

New Orleans Pelicans: Coach Fred Vinson

Luckily, the Pelicans have assistant coach Fred Vinson, who has a reputation as one of the best shot doctors in the NBA.

He has had plenty of success with the Pelicans, helping to fix the broken shot of Lonzo Ball, and turning him into one of the better volume 3-point shooters in the NBA.

Brandon Ingram’s 3-point shooting also improved with Vinson’s help and he also worked a lot with rookie Herb Jones, who went from a guy who rarely shot them in college, to a player shooting a respectable percentage in the NBA. Herb cooled off after a hot start, but looks like a guy who is a legit 3-and-D threat who is just getting more confident.

Vinson will undoubtedly be trying to do the same for incoming rookie Dyson Daniels, who shot just 25 percent from long range last year in the G-League.

Daniels is a gifted playmaker who can get to the rim and finish, so if he can start knocking down 3-point shots, it will completely change the ceiling for him as a player and potentially give the Pels another 3-and-D guy to go around Zion Williamson, Ingram and CJ McCollum.

Jose Alvarado is another guy who can take his game to the next level with the addition of a more consistent 3-point shot. He looks to have made some tweaks already and was on fire from long-range during the FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

Guys like Kira Lewis Jr., Jaxson Hayes and Naji Marshall would benefit greatly from adding a 3-point shot to their arsenals, as they too are guys who can make plays off the bounce (or in Hayes’ case, in transition or off lobs) but aren’t much of a threat from behind the arc.

Fred Vinson has his work cut out for him with this young group of players, but if they are all more consistent next season, the New Orleans Pelicans are going to be tough to stop.

Next. An interview with Zion's personal chef. dark