New Orleans Pelicans add sharpshooter who isn’t Buddy Hield

Kaiser Gates, Xavier Musketeers.(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Kaiser Gates, Xavier Musketeers.(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

The New Orleans Pelicans have added another sharpshooter to their roster. And guess what? It isn’t Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (remember, he’s on the trade block now).

According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the Pelicans are signing Kaiser Gates of the Long Island Nets to a two-way deal.

As Charania’s tweet above suggests, Gates can absolutely stroke it from downtown. He shot a blazing-hot 55.4% from three while with the Nets last season. For reference, the league leader in 3-point shooting percentage in the NBA last season, Luke Kennard, shot just 49.4% from beyond the arc.

As the thumbnail for this post illustrates, Gates spent his collegiate career at Xavier. He spent three seasons there before entering the 2018 NBA Draft. After going undrafted, he played a year with the Windy City Bulls before making stops with the Maine Red Claws, Long Island Nets, Hapoel Jerusalem, and then again the Nets (where he posted his bonkers 3-point percentage).

After finishing 2022-23 23rd in made 3-pointers (11.0) and 29th in 3-point attempts (30.1), the Pelicans have spent the offseason desperately looking to add some shooting around Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. That’s a large reason why they drafted expert marksman Jordan Hawkins with the 14th overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

In recent days, we’ve discussed the possibility of a Hield trade and what that potential trade would look like. Does this move signal that the Pelicans aren’t interested in dealing for Hield’s services? I don’t think it does, especially considering how unproven Gates is at this point in time (he’s never even played a single NBA game).

At the very least, he does give them another long two-way body who can shoot. This should be useful, considering they will be without their best lengthy shooter for at least a month of the regular season in Trey Murphy III.

The Pelicans have had great success with undrafted players before (see Jose Alvarado and Naji Marshall). Who knows, maybe Gates is their next home run in this department.

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