The New Orleans Pelicans may have just made a big mistake

Landers Nolley II, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Landers Nolley II, New Orleans Pelicans. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

On Monday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced that they are waiving undrafted rookie Landers Nolley II.

Of the three preseason games the Pelicans have played thus far, Nolley only appeared in one (their second game, which was against the Houston Rockets). In that contest, Nolley shot 1-3 from the floor (0-1 from three) en route to two points in five minutes of actions.

This sample size is way too tiny to glean any serious information from. Plus, it is still possible that he lands on their G-League affiliate in 2023-24 (if that happens, all this rambling kind of becomes irrelevant). But even with those factors in mind, I think the Pelicans are making a serious mistake waiving Nolley without giving him more preseason run.

First off, let’s think for a second what one of the biggest talking points around the team this offseason has been. Oh yeah, how do they get more outside shooting to space the floor alongside Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram?

Yes, they used their 2023 first-round pick to add the sweet-shooting Jordan Hawkins. But, generally speaking, you can never have enough shooting on your roster. As a 41.7% 3-point shooter during his redshirt senior season at Cincinnati, Nolley appears more than capable of contributing that skill to this team.

On top of that, he’s got good size (6’7 with a 6’11 wingspan), which fits the team’s length prerogative perfectly. Speaking of our team, the Pelicans have a pretty solid recent history when it comes to developing undrafted players (think about guys like Naji Marshall and Jose Alvarado).

But don’t just take it from me. Adam Spinella – a former high school head coach who recently took a job with the Philadelphia 76ers – called Nolley one of the best players not to get selected during this past draft. He even ranked him 43rd overall on his draft big board, which means that he believed that he probably shouldn’t have gone undrafted in the first place.

I will concede that I’m not privy to all the inside discussion that went into the discussion to let Nolley go. But from where I’m standing, the Pelicans made the wrong call with this personnel decision. Let’s just hope it doesn’t come back to bite them.

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