What does the Bradley Beal trade mean for the New Orleans Pelicans?

Bradley Beal, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Bradley Beal, Phoenix Suns. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

Last week, we discussed whether the New Orleans Pelicans should try and trade for Washington Wizards’ All-Star guard Bradley Beal.

Well, that didn’t end up happening, but Beal is now on a different team. On Sunday, it was announced that Bradley Beal was being traded to the Phoenix Suns for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, and a collection of second-round picks.

For New Orleans’ fans, the question now becomes: what does this trade mean for the Pelicans?

For starters, this trade directly affects the Pelicans because they are in the same conference as Phoenix and play them three to four times a year during the regular season. Adding Beal for Paul/Shamet and some picks makes the Suns a significantly better team, so now the Pelicans will have to square off against a tougher opponent three/four times a year.

Looking at things from a more overarching perspective, the Suns (if they already weren’t) have established themselves as an inner circle title contender heading into next season. As it stands, the Suns and the Denver Nuggets look like the two teams to beat in the Western Conference.

Last season, when Zion Williamson was healthy, the Pelicans looked like they had the firepower to hang with anyone. But could this latest Beal trade by the Suns be enough to make the Pelicans lose hope in their current core and orchestrate a trade to move up in the draft and try to acquire G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson?

If you ask me, I still think that – while the Suns are better today than they were yesterday – the Pelicans still are a bad matchup for Phoenix’s current roster construction (when New Orleans is healthy).

As we saw when the two teams met early in the season, the Suns’ lack of interior size made defending Williamson’s drives to the rim an arduous endeavor. Last season, Williamson averaged 33.0 PPG/6.0 RPG/5.3 APG on 77.6% True Shooting with a +/- of +20.7 in three games against the Suns. The Pelicans were 2-1 in those games.

Phoenix is (probably) the better team against most matchups when the two teams are healthy. But the Pelicans are in no way overmatched by this new-look Suns team. Adding Beal may make them a more dangerous offense, but it does very little to remedy their paint-protecting limitations.

Overall, I think that if the Pelicans can stay healthy and address their spacing/rim protection concerns this offseason, they still have a shot at competing with any team in the Western Conference next season – even after this Beal trade.

Next. 5 trades for the Pelicans to move up and draft Scoot Henderson. dark