Pelicans Beat: 5-on-5 about Jrue, the 2014 pick, Vasquez, and Nerlens Noel

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Published: June 28, 2013
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1. What was your initial reaction when the Pelicans took Nerlens Noel at number 6?

James Grayson: Mixed emotions really. I wanted McLemore, but I did like the prospect of having two twin-towers, though I was extremely scared of the fact that the Pelicans didn’t have a ball creator.

Michael Pellissier: Happy. I figured that it wouldn’t look good on offense for a long while, but that defense could’ve been unbelievably quick in its rotations.

Joe Gerrity: Thrilled. He was the top player on my big board, and I expect he had as much trade value as anyone else the Pelicans could have acquired. Plus I loved thinking about Davis, Noel and Anderson up top, albeit for only a few minutes.Oh the block parties that would have ensued…

Michael McNamara: Very Excited. The perception of some was tha Noel was the best prospect in this draft, and in the NBA, perception is reality. Few guys are drafted and stay with a team for 10-15 years, so in reality, you are drafting commodities on this night. The Pelicans had a commodity that I knew at least a handful of teams found extremely valuable, fall right into their laps. Couldn’t have asked for much more on this night.

Jason Calmes: Pretty pumped. Dude will retain trade value whether he pans out in Nerlens . . . I mean . . . New Orleans. I wanted McLemore since he had fewer red flags, but I was pumped. I gestured. I cussed (in the good way). I had a nice long drink of my delicious, ice cold coke.

2. What was your reaction when you found out the parameters of the trade that landed us Jrue Holiday?

JG: Confused. I didn’t know what the details were initially and thought New Orleans was receiving a 1st-round pick. The pick is top-5 protected so I guess that’s nice. This team still has a major hole at the small-forward position, so after free-agency I will assess.

MP: Confused as well, because there were conflicting reports about who was receiving the first rounder. But my initial reaction? I was ecstatic and slapping the picnic benches at Pluckers. And no, I hadn’t had any adult beverages, but I was definitely having a sugar rush.

Joe: Thrilled! The first thing I heard was a completely lopsided trade that landed us a 2014 first rounder in addition to Holiday. Once it was corrected my enthusiasm dulled. I’m pumped that we’ll be competing for a playoff spot from here on out, but I’m not sold that it was ideal to do it this year as opposed to next. Time will tell.

MM: Disbelief. When I thought of us moving the pick for a young vet, I thought of guys like Wilson Chandler – you know solid players who might be able to start or be very good reserves, but not All-Stars by an means. I didn’t think that a guy like Holiday was on the table, but it’s nice to be wrong.

JC: Pretty @#$%^&# pumped. It took us a while to get it all straight at the party, but I think this is great. Holiday was someone I wanted to get on the team when he was on his way to becoming a restricted free agent, but I just thought it was impossible once his contract was extended. In walks Cleveland, and out walks impossible. Dell just acquired the restricted free agent point guard I most coveted when he was restricted from even being a free agent. The restrict free agent trend, thus, continues. I am still considering this, but I think this is major. If we play our cards right, this team could be a 4 – 6 seed in the West this coming season.

3. Comparing Vasquez to Jrue Holiday; Is Jrue Holiday a: Major upgrade, Minor Upgrade, or No Upgrade?

JG: Major upgrade. Vasquez is a good player, but Jrue Holiday is pretty awesome. The question will be whether he can improve the team.

MP: Major upgrade. We needed a quicker guard to initiate offensive sets and a better perimeter defender. Check and check. I have been harsh on Greivis, but now that we have another primary ball-handler, I would love to have him as a Swiss Army Guard. He’s given this organization everything he has.

MM: Major upgrade. I watched the Finals the last two years, and I have no idea how Greivis Vasquez could play in a series at that level. Jrue Holiday, on the other hand, can thrive. Not only is his skill set better now, but he is younger and he is infinitely more gifted physically. I had Vasquez as the 23rd best starting PG last season, while Holiday was top-10 and climbing. So yeah, major.

Joe: Minor upgrade for now, but Jrue should be a much better player than Vasquez in a few years. That said, I worry that he’ll never be more than a third tier point guard in a league where championships are won by first and second tier talent.

JC: Major Upgrade: Greivis is near elite at passing, but his deficiencies do not work and play well with the other deficiencies on the roster. Since he is the initiator, it falls on him, right or wrong. Jrue’s performance suffered when acquired the privilege of playing Bynum to sit around and do nothing, but he is a more complete player and a much better defender.

4. What does this trade say about Dell Demps?

JG: Says much of what we already thought. Demps said last off-season that this year the Pelicans would add their “next-piece.” They did it through Demps’ favourite method: trade. What concerns me is that this team has no on at small-forward and the team still has a long ways to go.

MP: We’ve been talking about how Dell wants to establish a culture here, and this trade shows that desire is real. The future is now, and they are ready to start winning. Dell is a very clever GM, and I’m glad we have him running our team.

MM: It says that he is always prepared for anything. There is no way that this trade was discussed in detail prior to last night, because I doubt either team believed that Noel could fall to 6. But it happened, and when it did, Dell snatched up the commodity and started fielding offers. When the bidding ended, he walked away with an All-Star.

Joe: It says that Tom Benson is his boss, and playoffs are on the agenda. For now that’s nice, but I’m not sure that we didn’t rob ourselves of a superior chance for greatness in the process.

JC: It says that Dell is a smart, smart man. He knows that if you are not drafting a superstar, then these high draft picks are MEANINGLESS unless you can keep them on your roster. The data shows that this is much harder than is commonly assumed. A winning culture is needed, and you have to win to build that. Plus, these first round 120% scale contracts aren’t all chocolate unicorns filled with money either. The fact that we just declined the options on two lottery picks and still had to play the year with them should just be the appetizer for that entree of a discussion. Dell cashed in two assets as their highest value to get the kind of player he wanted who was at value trough, and one who can be flipped as long as he performs due to a decent (not great) contract. All bases covered. All your base are belong to Demps.

5. Is our grade for this trade dependent on where the 2014 pick that we gave up lands next year?

JG: Somewhat, yes. If it lands in 6-10 it’d be pretty depressing. However I think there’s this mystic with draft picks that their future value is greater than today’s present value. Known commodities are chastised because they have little resonance among NBA fans to grow or ascend. Yet that is time and time again proven to be a falsehood.

MP: I think you have to factor it in, but the difference to me is negligible. If we throw this current roster out there and still manage to land in the 5-10 range, we have problems that extend far past not having a 1st round pick. I can’t take another season of rooting for a high draft pick. I’m a fan of Jrue and I think it’s imperative to find difference-makers wherever you can. Dell found that tonight in Jrue. It’s time to move forward.

Joe: Not really. Too much can affect the final location of a pick– Injuries, lottery balls, or even a coin flip shouldn’t really determine whether or not the deal is solid. The expected location of that draft pick is right around 15 today in my opinion. Unless Jrue plays substantially better or worse than expected, that’s the benchmark that we should use to judge it.
One unknown that may play a role in explaining why this deal inspires such differing emotions is the expected position which we would have drafted had we kept Noel and allowed him to sit most of the season. For me, that was in the top 8. So one way of looking at it is that we gave up a top 8 pick in 2014 and Noel for Jrue. I think that’s why a lot of people are upset about the deal.

MM: Not at all. We will never know what our pick would have been next year in the alternative universe where we just kept Noel. What I do know, is that our own Ryan Schwan has shown us year after year in his value of a draft piece article, that picks after number #5 are far less valuable than picks before #5. This pick is top-five protected. Do you think that is a coincidence?

JC: No. It’s dependent on what we would have done without this trade. That is basic, day one economics. Everything else is distraction. While this is unknowable, comparing Noel + the results of $12.5m in cap space + the 2014 pick result to Jrue + the result of $5,863,093 in cap space + Pierre may be a reasonable thing, as least for me. Noel wasn’t going to become a solid player this year or next based on his age and body type. That cap space had Brandon Jennings or Tyreke Evans all over it. That pick next season would have been a lottery pick, but likely worse than 6. Moving forward, that team is still building chemistry and losing. The Jrue-ful team is building chemistry and winning. The latter is what this team needs, bottom line. Where the pick lands is a only a proxy of how much this team loses, perhaps discounting `injury losses’ . . . still thinking on that.

46 comments
LaNative
LaNative

Six guards are too many but some will either be packaged in a trade or possibly sent to the D League.  I'm really liking the Baylor kid compared to Nate Robinson.  It would be interesting to see him a spark plug coming off the bench.  I really hope we can get Al Jefferson - love his game and thinks he fits in perfectly with what the Pelicans need/want.  I also really like Earl Clark but I don't see the Lakers letting him go.  Next of the possible SFs would be either Dorell Wright or Corey Brewer.

yaboytonez
yaboytonez

I like the line up now. Draft night I freaked out. Davis is by himself in the front court and I thought this year or next year's draft could find him some help. We have 6 guards. Roberts, Vasquez, Rivers, Gordon, Holiday, & the 42nd pick. Anybody else have this concern?

CoReMeGa
CoReMeGa

My top 5 SFs that could be signed for our $6mil in cap space-

1.) Corey Brewer

2.) Matt Barnes

3.) Dorell Wright

4.) Earl Clark

5.) Martell Webster

People are freakin out because we need a SF.. well Trust in DELL... there are lot of nice SFs that could be had for under $6mil and not have to overpay! Or Dell will just trade for some guy that's been collecting dust and we've never heard of and he'll be awesome!

CoReMeGa
CoReMeGa

I really hope we keep Vasquez (unless a Gr8 SF is available) and use him like a lot of people have mentioned in the Ginobli role.. he really reminds me of Ginobli, sometimes maddening but also makes some Gr8 plays. Having Vasquez and Rivers now come off the bench along with Anderson will be awesome. He won't have to play against the starting unit and won't have as much pressure next yr.

A small ball line-up of - AD - Ryno - Vasquez - Gordon - Holiday would be one of the best in the league!

BigBLDavis
BigBLDavis

Looking for help here!  Talking with a T'wolve fan who suggested us going after Derek Williams.  I know SF isn't his natural spot, but he was making moves to play there last year.  Also heard a writer suggest option for GV as a rotational between SF and PG.  Do ya'll think both scenarios could work....or is that reaching wwwwaaaayyyy too much? 

DavidLeBoeuf
DavidLeBoeuf

First of all, I love the trade for us.  I also love the trade for Philly, but these are two franchises on different timelines.  I think the idea of Noel/Davis playing together was intriguing for a minute, but I never thought a  guy like Jrue Holiday would shake loose.  I think getting a sure thing, an All-Star who can be part of your foundation and a start of building a winning culture, is a safer bet than crossing your fingers and hoping you get another high draft pick.  That's how you fall into the Sacremento/Charlotte/Toronto trap of constantly rebuilding w/ draft picks and not getting better.  I don't think you can look at it in a vacuum, you have to think about each situation playing out.  

We make the trade:

Our Situation:  We add a legitimate All-Star PG to our roster, and fill one of our two biggest areas of need.  We still have almost 6 million in cap space, plus the flexibility of the MLE, sign and trade, and highly moveable contracts of Lopez, Vasquez, Smith, and even Ryan Anderson (if a real big fish came available).   There are sure to be other roster moves made to upgrade, especially at the 3.  If we get the right SF, I can easily seeing us in the mix with all the teams in the West, save for OKC, SA, LAC, and maybe Memphis.  With Memphis and San Antonio a year older and LAC being flawed, competing with them isn't inconceivable either if everything breaks right.  Holiday also falls in line with the timelines of Gordon, Davis, and Anderson going forward, whereas Noel and next year's 1 would not.  

The Draft Pick:  IMO, the likely spot of the pick falling is in the late lottery to mid teens.  Even in the mythical draft of 2003, there were only four legitimate impact players.  In the 2012 draft, the last draft to be labeled best one ever, there only is one guy projected to end up being a truly impact player, and we got him.  

Worst case scenario:  Gordon gets injured, AD doesn't develop, and we flop, then we are still in play for the impact guys in this draft.  If we fall at #6 in the draft, the worst of the worst situations, the 6th best player from the 2003 draft was Kirk Heinrich.  If we could trade Kirk Heinrich & Nerlens Noel for Jrue Holiday, you do it every time.  

Cap Space:  The argument that holds more water, for me anyway, than the talent for talent issue, is using the cap space.  It's a viable argument, but the question is what were we going to use the cap space on?  Brandon Jennings at 8 million?  Al Jefferson at 10?  Monte Ellis at 9?  Those are the contracts that get you in trouble:  Borderline, flawed talent on inflated, long term contracts.  Think Gerald Wallace, DeAndre Jordan, Jeremy Lin, Stephen Jackson, and the list goes on and on.  IMO, getting a in their prime All-Star player in that 2nd contract extension is the most valuable "player/value" combination in the NBA, even more so than a Super Max guy not named LeBron.  Chris Paul from 23-27 at his 13 million/year extension money is more valuable than Chris Paul from 27 on at a super max deal, for example.  It's why Miami is in trouble going forward:  They paid a non-max player super max money.  

If we didn't make the trade - 

Our Situation:  We add a pogo stick of a Center to eventually play next to Anthony Davis, possibly having the best shot blocking front line in the NBA in 2-3 years.  Since Noel won't be able to play until December at the earliest, we are almost assured of having a lottery pick in the "loaded" 2014 draft.  The big time free agents will avoid us like the plague, and chances are we will spend our cap space on guys like Brandon Jennings or Monta Ellis to fill in at PG and the Corey Brewers and Chris Copelands of the world to fill in at the 3.  With that roster, we are still better than we were last year, especially figuring in AD and AR's development, when we finished with the 5th worst record.

Draft Pick:  In this scenario, we will still be a lottery team, but we will be better than last year.  You can almost pencil in Charlotte, Sacramento, and Phoenix being worse than us again.  Then, you have to take into account the landscape of the league.  Boston and Philly are breaking it down to the studs.  If LAL lose out on Dwight,   they are all worse than us.  We are in the mix record wise w/ TOR, MIL, ORL, POR, UT, DET, & whoever strikes out completely in Free Agency (ATL, DAL, CLE).  Not only that, but whatever team is underperforming at mid-season, will fold their hand much earlier than in a normal year's draft.  I think next April we will be talking about half the league pulling a tank job of epic proportions.  My point is, we don't lose out on Wiggins because we won't be bad enough, with or without Noel.  

Best Case Scenario:  We end up with the 6th pick, and have Nerlens Noel, Brandon Jennings/Monta Ellis, and the equivalent of 2003 Kirk Heinrich instead of Jrue Holiday and 6 million in cap space.

Cap Space:  Without any proven players on the roster, we become end of the line for free agents.  We end up falling into the trap of overpaying for guys, just like what we did with Mo Peterson, James Posey, and Peja in the past.  Cap space is great, unless no one wants to take your money.  


NOLAbrah504
NOLAbrah504

you guys should do a quickie article about how Chris Copeland would look as the starting 3 in this lineup.  He's better than AFA for a comparable price IMO.  AFA is a borderline retard on the court - reminds me so much of JuJu and I have an irrational hatred for him as a result.  Would be nice to have a glue-guy like Copeland who can drill a corner 3.

lsucpolk
lsucpolk

It blows my mind that a few people dislike this trade.  You obviously can't please everyone, but just like the rebrand, it will all blow over once Holiday, Davis, Ryan Anderson, and Co. take the court, and start winning some games.  I'll admit, I was as big of an Eric Gordon critic as there was, but I echo the sentiments of a previous poster in saying that I hope that they keep him around this year, see if he is indeed 100%, and give him an opportunity to show what he can do with a star quality pg.  He seems stoked about the trade.  Maybe that's what it took to change his attitude.  

Major504
Major504

I can believe that Mario Chalmers is nowhere close to being a top tier point guard. What was the last time to win a championship with a point guard, the Lakers. You just need a point to get into the offense, penetrate and don't turn the ball over. Scorers win championships.

Pelicans3fan3
Pelicans3fan3

Anybody down for starting Jason Smith at center? Trade away Lopez because theres no need to waste any more cap space on a center. We're going to finish games with AD and Anderson anyway, so just let Smith start. Finals this year proved that 3 guard lineups are the way to go.Then we have all the cap space we need to go get Iggy. How deadly would a closing unit of Holliday Gordon Iggy Anderson and Davis be?

dbeard06
dbeard06

Another issue with all this draft talk, people forget you need chemistry to develop a team into a contender.  If you are constantly bringing in young unproven draft picks, that is taking away minutes from your veteran talent.  You are constantly shuffling the roster to find minutes to help develop your draft picks.  Doesn't make sense.  You have to get to a point where you say enough, let's take what have and start to develop a TEAM!  

lsutigers33
lsutigers33

burke will do ok, but he will be burned by some PGs on D.  If you watched every KU game, Ben Mc was sleeping in some.  He will be a role player at best in my eyes.  Talented, but doesn't have attack mode in his body.  his stats may look good b/c he is on a big losser in Sac.

Love the move and the protection on 2014 at least keeps you in play with the studs next year if we have major injuries.  

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

I think it's funny that everyone was so keen on Bledsoe and now we have Holiday for less than we would have given to get Bledsoe.  UPGRADE!


Possibly 4 (depending on Gordon) All-Stars for Pelicans IN NAWLINS this year!

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

I liked McLemore, I liked Burke if PG was a necessity. I'm not sure Jrue is a "third tier" talent but I'm not sure he's better than an occasional All Star. Quick question over the next 4 years who will have more All star appearances Jrue or McLemore? In 4 years will Burke be an All-star, A starter, A Back up or out of the league?

nolahog
nolahog

ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO DEMPS!!!!

I just woke up this morning and remembered that Jrue f#%king Holiday is on our team!  Anyone that doesn't like this trade is crazy.  We had the 3rd worst defense in the league last year, and Vasquez's lateral quickness was a big contributor.  I fully expect the Horn. . . I mean Pelicans, to keep Vasquez and use him to add some real teeth to the bench unit.

I really hope we don't trade Gordon.  I would love to see for just one year how he does with a quick penetrating point guard and healthy legs.

lsutigers33
lsutigers33

top 5 at least gets us covered on wiggins, smart, parker, harison, gordon.

On paper, we look very attractive now to FAs.  Hopefully we make a little room to get iggy or brewer /copeland and this team is pretty solid.   

dbeard06
dbeard06

What many people are not realizing is that many of the top guys in next years draft just graduated from high school. HIGH SCHOOL!  We have not seen any of these guys compete on the next level.  And the pick is still protected just in case we suck again this year.  It's unbelievable the reaction.  We got an All-Star PG. And don't forget we still have ANTHONY DAVIS, remember the frachise changer from last years draft!  AD may become a hall of famer and we have him now.  Why are people so upset over prospects we know NOTHING about when we have proven guys like Holliday, Davis, and Ryno!  That's All-Star level talent right there.  And we haven't seen the best of River or Gordon (if he stays) yet!  Dell also is not done making moves, SF is still a gaping hole. So screw next years draft, it's time to change the culture of this franchise and start making playoffs runs. That's how champions are created, not by constantly tanking for draft picks.  Just look at the Bobcats. LOL!!!!

spatching3
spatching3

All I know is that our chances at winning the 2013 summer league tournament took a huge hit tonight and I'm not sure this franchise can come back from that...

mateor
mateor

I think the fact that Jrue Holiday remains a tradable asset is an important one...although likely untradeable for two first rounders (which is what landed Deron Williams two years ago...much lower first rounders netted Steve Nash for the Lakers).

Still, I did not believe that they ever planned to move forward with Noel...that is admitting that you don't intend to compete through AD's initial contract. Years of losing makes resigning stars very difficult. I am sure that was part of the calculus.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

If the season started tomorrow, yeah. Luckily though, Dell has four months to get the roster in order

ecolli
ecolli

I like Webster a lot. He can shoot defend and is know to be a great locker room guy.  The guys at TruthAboutIt liked him a lot during the season

yaboytonez
yaboytonez

I like the idea of a SF who can handle the rock but GV just can't do it on the defensive end IMO,

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

You know us by now. We are going to do MUCH more than that. But yes, Copeland will be one of the guys we profile

mazonmafia
mazonmafia

@Major504 Actually LeBron james should be considered a top 10 pg and a sf when on the floor.  His assist averages are well above average for a pg.

That being said, I agree- when you have LeBron or Kobe or Jordan, you don't need a stud point guard.  So as soon as you find me the next Jordan, I'll agree that we don't "need" Jrue Holiday. 

dbeard06
dbeard06

This is exactly what I have been saying.  We have All-Star level talent already!  Why get upset over unknown, unproven draft picks?  Doesn't make sense.

Papa Pelican
Papa Pelican

Trading Gordon and Vasquez is the only way.I perfer Bewer and Eillis with the Pels.

hewhorocks
hewhorocks

Holiday isnt CP3, or Westbrook or Parker or Irving. He's not Curry, Wall or Williams.  So the One time all star (last player of the bench) is young and may develop into more but he's not a been a supper-star. He does firm up the position for the length of his contract. He will be fun to watch and won't be a liability on D and maybe he will address the turnovers. 

I'm not sure looking down at the Bobcats is something that Pelican fans can comfortably do.

mateor
mateor

JC, what do you think...the Deron Williams trade has to be about the closest recent comparison, huh?

BigBLDavis
BigBLDavis

@yaboytonez I think the problem with my idea on williams is there are at least 5 other SF that we can get.  The reason why I'm liking the idea is we could take advantage of T'Wolves rebuild mode and make some other moves with them.

DavidLeBoeuf
DavidLeBoeuf

@Michael McNamara I used to do some free lancing.  Let me know when you guys' are looking for new ppl again!  Would love to get back into it

ecolli
ecolli

But he has been to more all stars than wall and curry and though curry and Irving can score a lot they are not the defender holiday is.  Wall and Westbrook are know to be turnover machines.  With the exception of Westbrook all the guys you named are expected to be the star of there team but we already have that covered with Davis.  Think of this would you rather have cp3 in his prime but with his knees being a concern and Blake griffin as the second best or Anthony Davis as your best and jrue Holiday as the second best while both have lots of talent and are young yet to reach their prime and can grow together

smill62
smill62

@hewhorocks Jrue Holiday is def better than John Wall.. watch some basketball if you are going to comment on it.

dbeard06
dbeard06

Actually we can, the Bobcats have only made the playoffs once since the franchises was established.  This of course does not include the Charlotte Hornets.  The Pelicans/Hornets have been in the playoffs 5 times since they came here in 02.  So yes, I think we can look down.  And I only mention them because they are a constant lottery team that does not improve.  So constantly acquiring high draft picks is not always the answer to building a contender, there are a lot of other factors involved.

mateor
mateor

Whooops...they also got Devin Harris (and his contract) and Derrick Favors, an undeniable asset at that time. My memory of this trade was WAY off.