Since the 5 position is critical for us, I think Onuaku makes the cut. We cannot afford to let him get away and hopefully he's showing an enormous upside in practices. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him because the 5 is really scary for us - really scary.
New Orleans Pelicans Training Camp Bodies
Waiting for someone to call
And turn your world around
Looking for an answer
To the question you have found
an open door
— Rush, Something for Nothing
New Orleans Pelicans News
The New Orleans Pelicans have gone 2-0 since the last news piece, bringing their preseason record to 3-0. The defeated the Mavericks 94-42 (I hate the Mavericks), and took care of Orlando twice as handily, 99-95. With about a two-point average margin of victory, these games are very nearly coin flips, so fans should enjoy, but not get too excited.
Tyreke Evans should be ready for the regular season, if not the Heat game on the 23rd. Anderson and Roberts joined the team in Dallas and played in Orlando, as well.
The Pelicans held a select-a-seat event at the Arena, so we got some pictures and took some notes about the renovations and a little more.
After practice today, many players were working on their shot, including Davis, Holiday, Anderson, and Rivers. Rivers was the last to leave the floor. He was working on free throws, short shots off of a cut, and long shots off of a cut and catch-and-shoot. He made well over half his free throws, for what it is worth.
Brian Roberts mentioned that Monty wants him to be aggressive in getting to the basket and getting people set up.
The Pelicans play again Sunday in Biloxi at 1 p.m. CDT (UTC -5) against the Hawks. There will be no local TV or radio for this game. They have four practices between now and then, as well.
Around Bourbon Street Shots
Michael and Ryan discuss the preseason games, the “What If’s,” and the Pelicans Model on this week’s In the NO Podcast.
As discussed on the podcast, Ryan delves into the question about whether Dell Demps is in win-now mode.
Chris Trew pitches ideas for preseason game locations in the region in this week’s Trew to the Game.
`Voices’ of the People
I live in Shreveport and have been a very active member of the 247,bss comment section. I see more pels hats around here than you could imagine.I would literally shit my heart if we had a preseason game here. Also, during preseason we have the red river revel which is a huge arts and music (and drinking) festival which draws a lot of out of towners. You are also correct about all the movies being filmed here. Chris, work your magic and make it happen. P.S. Shreve-city is actually already an area of shreveport with shitty bars and sex stores. We usually call Shreveport port city or the port. Thanks for the love!
I think Dell has been quite a contrarian with his approach to building a contender and is capitalising on a system that always has teams chasing the highest potential and overlooking stable proven production, you need look no further than to the first pick of the draft to find evidence of that. And as you point out, the sneaky thing is that these guys his targeted still possibly have a little unforseen potential. I disagree with the argument about the cost contracts because honestly in the case of OKC they only had one season of serious contention before they had to ship someone out because they couldn’t pay them all. And at least this way when Davis gets his pay day, and one of the other 4 highly payed guys will have to be gone you can make an accurate judgement on who is worth less to the team, as in the case of OKC they weren’t sure on who had the highest ceiling so they banked on the bigman in Ibaka when already one year later that’s looking like the wrong choice.
If nothing else, this has made our team far more fun to watch on the court for the next 2-3 years rather than looking to the lottery instead.
Just started listening to the thing so I don’t know about what you guys said but.. Awesome intro.
— Mr. West
With training camp rosters allowed to swell to 20 members compared the normal 15 in the regular season (other than in exceptional circumstances), most teams add some bodies to help out in practice and get a good look at. Even if they do not end up needing the player, they can give recommendations that should be reciprocated when the need arises. Such is the way in tight-knit circles such as NBA coaches and executives.
Camp contracts are throw-away deals for the most part. The roster has to be trimmed to 15 by the regular season, so camp bodies are given contracts with no guarantees. Since they stand at 16 players, they have to waive someone. The Pelicans also have `real’ contracts with little to no guarantee that could theoretically be dropped if a camp player really shined. Lance Thomas’ contract is only $15,000 guaranteed, and Arinze Onuaku’s deal has no guarantee. Lazar Hayward is on a camp deal, as was Rodney Carney who was waived prior to the Rockets game.
See? Throw-away deals.
For reference, Rodney Carney is a 29 year old, 6’7″, 205 lb. swingman. He played four years at the University of Memphis where he was decorated, then was drafted 16th overall by the Bulls in 2006, then traded the 76’ers with a future second rounder for Thabo Sefolosha. After a couple of years, he was traded to Minnesota along with Calvin Booth, a future first rounder, and cash for a conditional second-round pick (that they ended up not receiving) so Philadelphia could clear room to sign Elton Brand. He has been a journeyman ever since, racking up 5 years of NBA experience in addition to three seasons overseas in China and Turkey.
Since Lance Thomas has been with the team, was already waived and brought back, I’ll assume he’s more than a camp body. I will not assume that Arinze Onuaku is more than a camp body, yet, despite his contract since it is has no guarantee.
Lazar Hayward played three years at Marquette and was drafted by the Washington Wizards with the 30th pick in 2010. The 6’6″, 225 lb small forward, who will turn 27 this season, was traded to the Timberwolves, then to the Thunder, and finally to the Rockets as part of the James Harden trade. After being waived shortly after being traded to Houston, he played with Minnesota for a small part of the season. He’s also played in the D-League.
Hayward did not play in the Orlando game due to illness, but in the other two games, he totaled 15 minutes, 2 points on 3 shots, 3 defensive rebounds, 1 steal, 3 steals, and 3 fouls.
Arinze Onuaku is a 26 year-old NBA rookie, much like Brian Roberts was in camp last season. At 6’9″, 261 lbs., he is listed as a forward-center. He played for four seasons across five years at Syracuse, missing the 2006-2007 season due to surgery on his left knee. In 2010, surgery to repair a torn right quadriceps muscles kept him out of the NCAA tournament and went undrafted. He’s played overseas and in the D-League, being named an All-Star there.
He was part of the Phoenix Suns Summer League roster before coming to a minicamp in New Orleans and signing his NBA contract.
Through three games, Onuaku has logged a little over 40 minutes, scored 10 points on 9 shots, going 2 of 4 from the line. He grabbed 11 rebounds, 4 of them offensive. He had 2 steals and 3 blocks compared to one turnover and being blocked 3 times. The big thing here is he also racked up 11 fouls. Monty says he encourages the guys to foul, and to his credit, let Onuaku finish his 20 minutes in the Rockets game with 5 fouls.
Of Hayward and Onuaku, Onuaku is more likely to make the team, fouling aside. His position is one of greater need and one of greater cost. Finding value in a big man has greater return on investment from a purely `books’ perspective. He’s been through some tough times to get to this point, and that may be part of what is motivating “AO” to succeed. He’s paid his dues, and now we get to see if paying will pay off.
He has a chance to face Elton Brand and Paul Millsap Sunday. It’s just preseason, but for Onuaku, it’s more than that. A rousing success is not necessary for him to remain with the team, but getting pushed around and how he reacts to it (if it happens) will tell the staff a good bit about what they have in their nontraditional rookie.
@LaNative His contract also allows the team to effectively keep him as a prospect while also maintain a roster spot open since he can be waived at no further cost.
Onuaku is built like a monster. Maybe being around Brow will help him take the next step in his game. If nothing else, he can get physical in the paint and provide 6 fouls.