Pelicans Scoop: Post-Evans-Trade Reactions

Published: July 5, 2013

The above is a wallpaper, available here for computers and phones courtesy of Dariuz Ejkiewicz and

1. Did the New Orleans Pelicans give up too much for Tyreke Evans (and Jeff Withey) by sending Robin Lopez and Greivis Vasquez to the Kings in the sign and trade?

Michael McNamara: In my opinion, no. Look, they were going to have to waive or trade Lopez any way just to be able to extend the offer sheet to Tyreke and Greivis Vasquez had no place on this roster with all the guards we have here now. You can argue that maybe you could have traded those two elsewhere and called Sacramento’s bluff. Maybe they would have chose not to match and you get Tyreke plus a late 1st round or 2nd round pick in that scenario. But is it really worth risking losing Lopez and Evans? I don’t think it is; not for two of the slowest players I have ever seen in a Hornets uniform. New era, moving forward; goodbye lead feet, hello speed!

James Grayson: No. Both players values are at their peak. Greivis Vasquez was due an extension following this season and was bound to be overpaid. Robin Lopez is on an excellent contract, but was never going to be a part of this core moving forward. I love both of these players, but to add the next piece to the puzzle, you have to give something up.

Michael Pellissier: No. I love the attitude and energy Vasquez and Lopez brought to our team, but they are role players, and you cast those aside in a second to grab someone you believe can make a difference on the team. We have plenty of other options at guard and there is no reason we can’t find someone cheap to provide a watered-down version of what Lopez did.

Mason Ginsberg: In a vacuum, yes, but in the grand scheme of things, no. First of all, making this move is FAR better than Tyreke signing the Pelicans’ offer sheet and hoping that the Kings don’t match. The result of that could have been swapping out Robin for pennies on the dollar and Tyreke staying in Sacramento. Making this move gives the Pelicans cap space to make subsequent moves to complete the roster, and that is key. The fact that the team also added Withey cannot be overlooked, either. He was a player projected to be drafted as early as right around pick 20 who ended up sliding into the second round, and yet he could very well be the Pelicans’ starting center (though only getting 10-15 minutes) on opening night.

Jason Calmes: Absolutely not. Lopez and Vasquez outperformed all expectations, and the tendency is to that think that increase will persist ad infinitum, or at least consider the possibility that some buried talent treasure is somewhere in there. Likely, teams will have adjusted to their newfound level of play, and the improvement will be stifled. The Pelicans now have two assets who will likely be of at least equal production with who could very well be undervalued. They also gave up some cap flexibility in the future, which should not be understated. Overall, however, worth it for the Pelicans.

Joe Gerrity: Could Dell likely have gotten better value had he traded Vazquez and Lopez independently without a timeframe? Sure, but that’s not the reality of the NBA. He has time and cap constraints that require him to make moves in less of a timeframe than may be ideal. I’m OK with things going down as they did.


2. If the team plans to use Tyreke Evans as a “super sub” off the bench, is $11 million per year too high of a price to pay?

MM: Manu Ginobli got just 28-31 minutes per game in his prime. James Harden got just 12 shots per game in OKC. Despite not playing huge minutes or taking 20 shots, it is impossible to argue that their impact wasn’t enormous. Tyreke might not start games, but he will change them and he will finish them. He had his most efficient season as a pro last year as a top option. Now, he gets to play against 2nd units for large stretches. The thought of that is scary for the 29 other NBA teams.

JaG: I think so, it just depends on the minutes and the role. I really do see Evans as a small-forward project. It’s likely that he’ll receive above 30 minutes per-game, so in that sense $11 million is quite fair. My issue is on the player development side. Does Evans develop a jump-shot, can he stop taking stupid shots? This is what I’m more concerned about when judging his contract.

MP: If you are looking at his career, 11 million per year may be too much regardless of his role, but you are going to have to overpay for some players, and I’d rather do it for someone who can score like Tyreke; in the end, I only think we’re overpaying by about 2 million per year, and that’s bearable. I have been watching tons of film on Evans and there is definitely room for growth.

MG: Yes, but it was a necessary overpayment. If the Pelicans made the Holiday trade and then failed to add any additional talent, it would have been an offseason that many questioned, as it would have sent a conflicted message about the team’s direction. By adding both Holiday AND Evans, the Pelicans add two athletic, talented 23 year old players who can grow with the rest of the team’s young core. Also, it doesn’t matter if he comes off the bench; it’s all about amount of playing time (Evans will get starter minutes) & who’s on the court in crunch time (Evans will be).

JC: If Anderson’s deal is great with 18.1 PER, 0.548 TS%, 30.9 minutes per game last season, I’m not sure how Evans’ deal can be considered so un-great when it’s valued at about an Austin Rivers more money for the same PER, slightly higher TS%, and nearly equal minutes projected. To de-narrow the question’s scope, he also provides some insurance against the potential absence of maximum-salaried guard, Eric Gordon. Moreover, he adds skills the team lacked dearly, aside from Xavier Henry. Yeah, Xavier Henry. Dude can drive and get to the line. For a Sixth who is a walking, talking, dunking insurance policy who allows you to let Xavier Henry go gently into that good night . . . the money is just fine.

JoG: It doesn’t matter who starts, it matters who finishes. If Tyreke is successful in finishing games for the Pelicans alongside their other stars, his salary won’t be considered anything but fair.


3. Which deal do you like better for the Pelicans: The trade for Jrue Holiday or the trade for Tyreke Evans?

MM: I love the Holiday trade because I don’t think any of those guys available at #6 or later had the ability to really help us this year, and I don’t even think their upside is close to that of Holiday’s. Couple that with the fact that several teams are  tanking and our 2014 pick will likley be between 11 and 20, and I think the Holiday trade was a steal.

JaG: Jrue Holiday. I love this trade because it will help Anthony Davis. Holiday is a decent playmaker, but more importantly is a good defender. This is what makes me giddy because Davis can finally start to develop his defensive game. Hopefully the Pelicans can bring in a center who can at least provide a role similar to Robin Lopez.

MP: Jrue Holiday. There is no doubt that Holiday is worth every penny of his contract, and there was also no doubt that the Pelicans were going to be active in the offseason and improve the team. How does that 2014 pick look now? Dell grabbed an All-Star caliber talent who just turned 23 and who will be on a reasonable contract for the next 4 years. He is a big-time upgrade on both offense and defense. I can’t wait to see him in a Pelicans uniform.

MG: I like both of these moves together much more than I like just one of them. The Jrue trade signified that this team was expediting their rebuild, so they needed to keep that going, which the Tyreke trade successfully does. If I had to pick just one, I would take the Tyreke + Withey trade because the team would still have Noel and next year’s first round pick, but who knows if Tyreke agrees to go to New Orleans if the Pelicans hadn’t acquired Jrue?

JC: Holiday, all day, every day. Holiday is on a better deal and gave up two sets of potential. One is a complete mystery, the other has huge upside, a low floor, and enough off-the-court red flags to look like Pamplona tomorrow night. Jrue is an All-Star, 23, and on the rise by many measures. Evans’ trade required more assets and more salary commitment. Those assets had zero chance of being involved together on a title team, but they were known, solid, and liked (for what that is worth).

JoG: Both are above good, but not great. If I had to choose Holiday or Evans as individual players I’d choose Holiday. Given my feeling that Noel will one day be something pretty special, I guess I prefer the Evans deal overall.


4. What are your expectations for Tyreke Evans next year with regards to production?

MM: I think we will see a reduction in his raw numbers, but an increase in his efficiency and per-36 numbers. As I said before, he will terrorize 2nd units and/or winded 1st units. I also think he will get to the line more often, as Monty emphasizes that he attack at all times. And lastly, I think we see the first step in what will be a journey that culminates in Evans being a good to very good NBA defender. All the raw tools are there, and now it is up to Monty to get him to reach his potential.

JaG: Raw numbers: 14 points-per-game, 4-5 assists, 4-5 rebounds. What I really want to watch is these numbers: Steals, blocks, FG% (16-3PT range) and his usage percentage. I believe that Tyreke will improve especially with his defensive abilities. I see his production as something that will coincide with his team-mates.

MP: Tyreke is a tank with some serious ball-handling skill, an explosive first step, and strength to finish at the basket. He will also get to play with Smith and Anderson on the second unit, assuming no other major roster changes, and I’m drooling over Tyreke pick/rolls and pick/pops with those guys. It’s hard to project his production without knowing what kind of minutes he’ll get. If he gets ~30 minutes per game, I expect a small increase in the points/rebounds/assists categories and a more significant increase in his efficiency.

MG: I hate quantifying expectations for players, so I’ll just explain what I hope he does instead. I think that it will be important for Tyreke to remember to attack the rim as frequently as possible instead of settling for jumpers. With guys like Holiday, Gordon, and Anderson around him, he will likely have room to shoot almost whenever he wants. Evans shooting is average; Evans driving to the basket is elite. If he doesn’t settle for jump shots too frequently and focuses on penetrating the lane, this Pelicans team will be dangerous on offense. All that being said, defense is where I’m going to be watching him closest. With his athleticism and 6’11” wingspan, he has the raw ability to successfully defend opposing small forwards; the question is whether or not he has the motor and dedication on that end to do so.

JC: I expect him to lead the team in free throw attempts per 36 minutes with at least 6. I expect his defense to start to come around. I expect him to be no less than 0 in the +/- category when coming off the bench since he’ll have large swaths of minutes against inferior opponents. I expect good performance in relief of Eric Gordon, when necessary. I’ll expect more next season.

JoG: 30 minutes. 15 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds. He’ll set career marks for fg% and 3-t % while turning over at a lower rate than ever before.The more I think about Tyreke, the more he makes perfect sense as a 6th man. For some reason I think he’ll buy into the system and truly care about the team’s success.


5. The Pelicans have some cap room left and also have the room exception. How would you like them to fill out this roster?

MM: I am a huge fan of Corey Brewer. I know his shooting numbers look awful from last year, but he had stretches where he was lights out, including a couple of games where he hit 5 or more three-pointers. He is bad, but he is a threat teams have to respect. He is not Al-Farouq Aminu. Defensively, he is so quick and long and really traps the pick and roll better than almost any wing I watched last year. Sign him and then bring in a shooter capable of playing multiple positions like Carlos Delfino. Then, use the MLE next year to get a better 4th big and I see a top 4 seed in the Western Conference as a real possibility.

JaG: Really need to fill SKILLS, not necessarily positions. This team needs shooters, maybe a player who can fill that SF “position.” They need a center who can defend, but also rebound the basketball. Finally, they need a veteran or two. I love that Dell is forming his core with players under the age of 25, but this roster seriously needs some veteran leadership, especially for Anthony Davis’ development. Think of what David Robinson did for Tim Duncan and to a lesser extent what PJ Brown did for David West.

MP: I want some shooters to surround our aggressive guards with. I would really like to squeeze Copeland into the roster if possible. People think of him as just a 3 point shooter, but he’s got more skill than that. He can put the ball on the floor to create for himself some and I would love to see him on our second unit. As for the first unit, I’d like to grab someone who can act as a stop-gap 3, like Carlos Delfino. After that, just pick up a cheap big for the veteran’s minimum.

MG: Dorell Wright has always been my priority at small forward, and the Tyreke trade doesn’t change that. He would likely cost more than the room exception, though, so the team’s replacement for Lopez would have to be a fairly cheap player. I would love Dalembert, but he’ll probably be too expensive if the Pelicans use their cap room on a small forward, and with the addition of Jeff Withey, it makes the decision to use the cap slace on a small forward even easier. With that room exception, I wouldn’t mind Cole Aldrich; he’s still young (24) and would be a solid body in the middle. If he can continue to develop a bit more, he could be a guy who sticks around here for a while as a player who gets about 10-15 minutes per game. But you know who else can? JEFF WITHEY!

JC: At this point, I want to take balanced approach on chemistry, cap, and cardiac arrest. Next season, the team does not project to have much cap space, if at all. Grab Aminu and Copeland. No more than 1 year guaranteed for Aminu, 2 for Copeland if he’ll accept under $3m per year, flipping Roberts or Jackson if need be. That will leave Room MLE money to give another backup big to complement the young Withey. Then bring back Mason at the min or slightly more if possible. Dell eats for free in the City until Bastille Day.

JoG: Is Aaron Gray available? Miss that dude. He’d be a pretty perfect option at OC (occasional center). Frankly I’m going to be upset if we aren’t finishing most games with Holiday-Gordon-Evans-Anderson-Davis. Whoever we bring in at small forward needs to be able to play good one-on-one D while stretching the floor on offense. I’m not too picky.


  1. Pelican Poster

    July 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Great comments and insights as always gentlemen!
    1) It is apparent most non-locals did not realize what we had to do to free up space for the cap situation.  I think our moves were thoughtful and checked off multiple needs at the same time.  I still profess an inability to believe we are where we are right now with personnel so quickly, and will admist I’m a bit giddy about our potential.
    2) I also watched Tyreke’s incredible abilty to finish at the rim.  Placing him out their with spot up shooters will open the lanes and he will flourish.  Dude is still young and jumper improve as he matures.
    3) Holiday’s skills and what he brings offensively and defensively now is very enticiing.  I’ll go against the grain with Evans only because if he becomes the player he has been before and better in other ways, that will make his deal appears undervalued.
    4) If Monty can continue the lunchpail type efforts we’ve seen for the past two years, with guys giving it their all and not giving up on games, Evans will see a resurgence in his play due to attitude and environment alone.  (Hello Gordon?)
    5)  Agree on Wright and Brewer…do believe we must sign Aminu as a backup again at least for his defense and rebounding and because he is still just 22!
    Keep up the excellent work guys…who’s going to Vegas for the Summer League?

    • Michael McNamara

      July 5, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Joe will be there for the first part of Summer League and I will get the games and playoffs. Should have plenty of content for you guys

      • DavidLBrown

        July 5, 2013 at 12:10 pm

        Do you think they will include Jeff Withey to the team?

      • Kempleton

        July 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

        DavidLBrownJeff Withey is not included in the initial roster:
        Is that because we cannot sign him until July 10 and the minicamp in Vegas starts in July 8? Is it possible to add players to the roster later on?
        By the way look at that roster, there are 6 players who played in Europe last year. Do not be surprised if Demps brings any of those and we end up seeing more quality bench players on the roster at great value. I think Demps is a good scout finding good fits to the team. Ayon and Roberts played in Spain and Germany before they signed with us.
        Excited to see what Demps will keep doing.

      • TristanBisnezzWilliams

        July 5, 2013 at 2:45 pm

        Kempleton DavidLBrown Our first summer league game is july 12th

  2. CoReMeGa

    July 5, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Downloaded McNamara247 draft class for 2K
    Simmed last season actually got the #1 pick (played Aminu and Henry a ton a mins) Took Noel! made the HOLIDAY and EVENS trades (had to FORCE TRADES and even gave extra 1st and 2nd round picks… which as we know DEMPS is the man!). Signed Corey BREWER and COPELAND.
    SImulated 2013-14 season and we made the playoffs as the 8th seed!!!
    I know it doesn’t mean much but I love doing this kind of stuff while hoping and dreaming of what will come next season and beyond. 2K actually sims out some freaky stuff. I’m so EXCITED about next season and I think that both of these moves were Gr8 and getting Withey as an added last second part of the deal is  just plain GENIUS!

  3. lsutigers33

    July 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

    If we can get aminu, brewer and copeland that would be a pretty solid team and its all about understanding your role on the team for us to be in the playoffs.  Doubt we pull that one off.  Aminu Delfino would be a nice combo.

    One thing I said last year.  We have to get more athletic(run and dunk for fans and $$$ for benson) and better defensively.   

    We did that!

  4. Roger.That.

    July 5, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Great post – I’d literally kill for you guys to have that Amine (former Magic guy) back on to give his thoughts on the moves that we have made.  He impressed the hell out of me and his explanation of why you can’t “slow pedal the rebuild” resonated with me like none other.  Hope that he agrees with our moves and strategy!

  5. Come On Pelican

    July 5, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Obvious Pelican certainties for 2013-14: AD23 is a beast and will progress further into his role of becoming a dominant big man in the NBA (though it will be primarily as PF and not as a starting C). Ryno will continue to develop and solidify his reputation as one of the best outside shooting big men in the league. Holiday will be a major upgrade in the PG position (though Vasquez will always be remembered fondly for his contribution and will likely receive a standing O the first time he returns to the New Orleans Arena in an opposing team’s uniform).
    Beyond these certainties, all we can do is just try to predict what else might happen during the next 16 weeks between now and opening night. 
    Here are my predictions:  Eric Gordon will never suit up for a regular season game in a Pelicans uniform.  Other than spot starts due to injuries, absences or rest, Evans will not be the Pelicans starting SF (he will be the starting 2), and neither Withey, Smith or Davis will be the Pelicans’ starting center.

  6. AngryCookies

    July 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    One guy nobody is talking about that I think would fit perfectly is Franciso Garcia guy can space type floor has. Deep range and did a decent job on Kevin Durant in the playoffs. He should be our first option.

  7. Papa Pelican

    July 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    Im maybe in minority the Pels should make a play for Andrew Bynum but at a low price because of his knees he’s not going to get $10 to $15 million a year anywhere.I say sign him to a 4 year $24 million dollar deal.Then sign Corey Brewer.

    • Roger.That.

      July 5, 2013 at 1:32 pm

      Papa Pelican nah we have way too many risk/reward guys on the roster already.  Gordon and Evans both fall into that camp IMO and they alone combine for $26 million of salary a year.  That’s way too much and I guarantee you that we’ll be Harden-ing Gordon as soon as his value raises a bit.

      • Papa Pelican

        July 5, 2013 at 1:35 pm

        Mullens would be the best choice

    • Pelican Poster

      July 5, 2013 at 3:31 pm

      Papa Pelican I would not even want that guy on my bench for free…ditto Demarcus Cousins

  8. bigindian

    July 5, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    Kevin Pelton on ESPN hates this trade, as he did the Jrue trade.  He’s making the hilarious argument that the Pels gave up their best interior defender in Lopez and got nothing back.

    • Papa Pelican

      July 5, 2013 at 1:19 pm

      It’s ESPN their writers are small market teams bias.They hate New Orleans anyway.

      • RonJohn63

        July 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        Papa Pelican That’s the most discombobulated sentence I’ve read this year.  Did you mean to write, ESPN writers have an anti-small market bias?

    • Roger.That.

      July 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm

      bigindian Meh.  The Jrue trade is a no brainer – I kind of think this Evans deal is a WAYYYY bigger risk than any other Pels fans seem to.  The saving grace (in my opinion) was pointed out above – that he doubles as a slightly cheaper (and potentially better) insurance policy to keep Eric Gordon in line.  I still believe that we ship out EG10 as soon as his return value has escalated to the point of it becoming palatable for us.

  9. Kempleton

    July 5, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    I am curious to see if we will see Tyreke Evans as the ballhandler (PG) when Holiday is on the bench. Otherwise, if Gordon and Evans share majority of the SG minutes, Rivers will struggle to get minutes unless he managed to improve his playmaking ability. I would like to see Rivers see playing time and grow. I hope Tyreke would not block his way. I also agree with James that we need another perimeter shooter. Holiday and Anderson are very good-great but Evans, Gordon and Rivers are not great 3PT shooters.

  10. TristanBisnezzWilliams

    July 5, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Pels need a VET! One who can shoot and also defend. How about Capt. Jack? I love his size, attitude, and the fact that he can play SA four times a year. I know he wants payback.

  11. AngryCookies

    July 5, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    We need Francisco Garica a vet who can shoot and defend
    Watch this

  12. DavidLeBoeuf

    July 5, 2013 at 3:12 pm

    My pickups to round out the roster:  Kenyon Martin, Carlos Delfino, Corey Brewer, and bring back Amundson. Also  Roger Mason should be in the mix as well.  
    C:  Martin/Withey/Amundson PF:  Davis/Anderson/Smith SF: Brewer/Delfino/D.Miller  SG:  Gordon/Evans PG: Holiday/Rivers/Roberts/Pierre Jackson

    • palochak

      July 5, 2013 at 3:34 pm

      DavidLeBoeuf would be on board with everyone except Kenyon Martin. Like the other guys

  13. RonJohn63

    July 5, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Who’s going to pick up the slack on all the rebounding which AFA did last year?

    • 504ever

      July 5, 2013 at 5:38 pm

      AFA!  Our second singing at SF.

      • RonJohn63

        July 5, 2013 at 6:10 pm

        504ever RonJohn63 Not if he’s a second stringer sitting on the bench more than half the game.
        So, which starter will fill the hole left by AFA’s return to the bench?

  14. RonJohn63

    July 5, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    it was a necessary overpayment
    If you need to over-pay, is it actually an overpayment?

  15. fixthefreakingpotholes

    July 5, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    Anybody know who this Armando character is??

  16. dalshearer

    July 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm

    I’d like to see the Pelicans resign Aminu and bring in either Francisco Garcia or Carlos Delfino

  17. chiefyoungblood

    July 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

    will their be a small forward piece on stephen jackson?

  18. 504ever

    July 5, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I am not sure I think we need any more ‘older veterans’ on the team, beyond those we already have.  What’s wrong with letting a bunch of up to 27 year-olds, and their coaching staff, figure out winning as a group?
    So I want Brewer/Wright and Aminu.  No (well traveled) Delphino, who I see as a SG anyway, and no K-Mart for me, thanks.

  19. Sportnlyfe

    July 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Hoopshype now forwarding a tweet by Yahoo’s Wojnarowski that Ryan Anderson for Asik is the “likely” scenario for Houston’s next move. ( Wojnarowski then tweets that “Pelicans may resist moving (Anderson) without more than Asik in return, sources tell Y!”
    Do tell. 
    Let’s start by adding a big helping of Chandler Parsons and move on from there.

  20. RobertWelch

    July 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Well, the big news at this moment…Howard to the Rockets. So what does this mean? It means the door is open for the Pelicans to make the playoffs for sure. The Lakers have been drained, they are now just a big hole in LA. No Howard, no Bryant to start the season at least, no playoffs for you. With the upgrades the Pelicans have made, I think they are the obvious favorite for the 8th seed easily. Utah and Portland might like to think they have a shot, but do they? The Pelicans might even be able to jump the 8th seed and make in above another team or two with the talent they have now, and especially if they add a good SF. In the following couple of years, it’s looking even better as the team gets some experience together on the court.
    Hang onto your seats, New Orleans, the Pelicans may well fly into the postseason in their first official year with the new name. That’s pretty awesome.

  21. AngryCookies

    July 6, 2013 at 12:46 am

    How about Eric Gordon and a future pick to Golden State for Andrew Bogut and Klay Thompson

  22. AngryCookies

    July 6, 2013 at 1:00 am

    Via Twitter Marc Stein
    Have it on strong authority Pelicans not only haven’t talked to Rockets about Asik sign-and-trade but likewise have no interest in him

  23. Dillion77

    July 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm days ago
    This guy McNamara really get its.  Bring Evans off the bench as a pure scorer for 28-31 minutes. That’s his best roll.  A Sac fan and our Michael McNamara Becoming even more famous!- See more at:

  24. lottoni81

    July 6, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I love Carlos Delfino and I think he would be a great fit for the Pelicans. I don’t know what Dell expects to present him an offer …

  25. dschmid4

    July 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    So where does all this leave us in the West?
    I count 3 teams, that barring major injury, are all but guaranteed to be much better: Spurs, Thunder, Clippers
    Two teams I am pretty sure are better: The Grizz and the Warriors
     Two teams that seem definitely worse than the Pels- the Suns and Jazz. Otherwise there is  a lot up in the air – three playoff spot for example.  
    All 5 of the above good teams made the playoffs last year and seem set to return; the two bad teams – not so much. The remaining playoff teams from this past year all have big question marks.The Rockets are supposed to be a threat for a championship, but they said that about the last team Howard joined and that team just barely made the playoffs. Speaking of which,  the Lakers are alway popular with the pundits (especially the lazy ones), but losing Howard and adding nothing – will they really be better? Denver has even more question marks after losing their coach and two starters.  Not to mention their GM. To make matters worse their owner sound more and more like the NBA’s Jerry Jones with each press conference.  
    On the other side of the coin, who the hell knows what the mavs will be? The wolves should be great, if they keep Pek, find a way to defend and keep everybody healthy. A lot of ifs.  I really like what Portland is doing, but they are taking their time with it. And currently really like depths. 
    The team that stands to improve the most (if not the Pels)  are the Kings. They will have a really good offensive team and I  think Vasquez  play a key role – possibly competing for league  assists title. Now they might not defend anybody, but if you score enough point you hardly need to.  
    I place the Pelican down for 8th in the West. Would not be surprised with anything from 16 to 13th in the West.

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