The New Orleans Pelicans’ bench really started to play well last season, and after a full offseason together, the second unit will be a weapon.
The New Orleans Pelicans’ bench
In the win over the Bulls, the Pelicans’ bench scored 88 points, led by Devonte’ Graham who had 21 points. Graham’s shot looked a lot better and he was much-more efficient, shooting 45 percent from the field. It’s only one game, but that’s a big improvement from last year’s mark of 36 percent. If Graham can shoot like this all season, he can be the primary scorer off the Pels’ bench.
Not only did Devonte’ shoot the ball well, but he made plays and got to the line. Graham had five assists in the win vs the Bulls and got to the line eight times, showing how he can break down a defense and do more than just shoot 3-pointers.
Pelicans rookie, Dyson Daniels was huge for the Pelicans off the bench and gave them clutch moments in the fourth quarter when the game was within single digits. Daniels had a slow start when he entered the game in the second half, but was able to find his rhythm to give the Pelicans a spark. He ended with 15 points and hit the game-deciding free throws.
Daniels did struggle with ball control and shooting, turning it over three times and hitting just 33 percent of his shots in 23 minutes. But he played well defensively and showed he’s not afraid of the big moments.
Willy Hernangomez was a huge asset coming off the bench, keeping his offseason momentum when he won the FIBA EuroBasket tournament MVP. Shooting 60 percent overall, Hernangomez was efficient and took smart shots, even knocking down an open 3-pointer.
Defensively, Willy had a big impact on the game. He had three blocks and two steals on the other end of the court. The eye test showed that Willy Hernangomez has a lot of fight in him and is able to provide energy and make an impact off the bench.
These three along with Jaxson Hayes, Jose Alvarado and Trey Murphy III, are going to give Willie Green a lot of options, weapons and different ways to use them.
The Pelicans’ bench will be a huge part of this team and can be the identity as well. The depth will help the Pelicans further grow and climb the ladder in the Western Conference to make a deep run in the NBA playoffs.