Who is the New Orleans Pelicans third-best player?

Trey Murphy III & CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Trey Murphy III & CJ McCollum, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

If you asked someone who was familiar with the inner workings of the New Orleans Pelicans’ roster who the best player on their team is, I feel like the answer would be fairly simple: either Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram (for me, the answer is Williamson). And if you asked them who their second-best player is, that would also be pretty straightforward: whoever you didn’t choose to answer the first question.

But do you know where things would start to get a little bit complicated? When you ask someone who they think the third-best Pelican is heading into the 2023-24. In that scenario, the answer doesn’t jump out at you the way the answer to the other two questions does. There are some obvious candidates, but no clear cut definitive answer immediately comes to mind.

So, as we tend to do with these sorts of quandaries, we decided to send out a Twitter poll (yeah, I’m still calling it that) on our Pelican Debrief (follow us @PelicanDebrief) page to get a temperature check on what the fanbase thought about the issue. The four players we included in the questionnaire were CJ McCollum, Trey Murphy III, Jonas Valanciunas, and Herbert Jones. Here are the results of our inquiry:

Overall, we received 109 votes. That’s far from the entire fanbase, but it is still a good sample size to help us answer the question.

This may be surprising to some people, but the winner of the poll wasn’t the team’s third-leading scorer (20.9 PPG) from last season, CJ McCollum. He came in second-place, receiving 39 of 109 votes (35.8%).

Instead, it was the Pelicans tantalizing soon-to-be third-year forward Trey Murphy III. Murphy accumulated 59 of the 109 votes (54.1%). After a rockstar second season, many people are eager to see how much higher Murphy can fly. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor even identified him as a sexy pick for next season’s Most Improved Player award. So, once you get past the scoring component of it all, it makes sense that Murphy ended up being crowned champion of the exercise.

Outside of Murphy and McCollum, Jones and Valanciunas also received some votes (I’d be curious to hear the rationale behind that). Jones finished in third with 8 of the 109 votes (7.3%). Meanwhile, Valanciunas finished fourth with just 3 of 109 votes (2.8%).

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