New Orleans Pelicans MLE Tournament: Andray Blatche vs. Kevin Seraphin

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Published: June 25, 2014
semis

Andray Blatche (3 Years and $15 Million)

by Jake Madison

I’ve been saying it all tournament and I’m going to say it yet again: Monty Williams wants a center for the Pelicans. And a lot of you agree with me based on the fact that you’ve been voting for the biggest of the bigs throughout the Bourbon Street Shots MLE tournament. So here we finally arrive at two centers facing off to go into the finals. But which one do you choose? Andray Blatche.

The Pelicans are not looking to add a star player; they aren’t even looking to add another player to their core roster. The Pelicans are simply looking for a complimentary piece. And that is most likely a center or small forward who can be a starter or key guy off the bench. Not a first, second, or even third option. But maybe a fourth or fifth depending on what happens later in the offseason. Well Andray Blatche is that fourth or fifth option. That sounds kind of weird, and, let’s face it, unsexy and unexciting. Yet is exactly what the team needs.

Monty went with a center-by-committee last season but that was simply because no one was good enough to handle the starting job by themselves. The season prior Robin Lopez started all 82 games and played 26 minutes per. Before he got hurt Emeka Okafor started all the games he played in during the 2011-12 season and in 2010-11 he started 72 games. Give Monty a proven center and he will unequivocally start.

For his career Blatche has played 22.1 minutes per game, averaged 10.1 points, grabbed 5.4 rebounds, and defending other centers. The points and rebounds will certainly increase along with his minutes as he steps into a starting role. Most importantly, last season, Blatche had a net rating of 0.4, meaning that his team was basically neutral when he was on the court. He didn’t exactly elevate them, but more importantly the team did not play worse when he was getting minutes.

Kevin Seraphin on the other hand is an entirely different story. Seraphin had a net rating of -4.6 last season. When he plays his team is getting outscored. That’s not the type of guy I want to see starting on the Pelicans.

Let me focus for a moment on the last point I made about Blatche: his defense; he defends centers. Our own Michael Pellissier recently wrote a post where he talks about how Dwight Howard just abused Anthony Davis in the low post. Well, with Blatche the Pelicans wouldn’t need to worry about that anymore. Even if Blatche doesn’t contribute much in other areas, he’s the sponge that soaks up abuse that would otherwise go to the team’s franchise player.

Seraphin isn’t capable of that. According to 82games.com, Seraphin was outplayed in terms of PER by 4.1. He’s very undersized for a center at 6 foot 9 inches. That’s rough if he plays on playing significant minutes against the league’s premier big men. Seraphin’s rebounding stats reflect this. He has a career ORB% of 9.3, DRB% of 15.6, giving him a TRB% of 12.4. Blatche clocks in at 9.6, 18.9, and 14.1 respectively. Oh, and he’s 6 foot 11 inches.

As for their contracts, both are for 3 years yet Blatche is 5 million more total. That makes Blatche 1.667 million more expensive. That’s nothing. It won’t prevent the Pelicans from making any other move they want.

Since I’ve started covering the Pelicans and the NBA there is a word I’ve very much started to hate: Potential. For a rookie it’s okay. But for a fourth year player like Seraphin? Nope. And that’s all he is. In four seasons Seraphin hasn’t proven anything to make someone think he should be a starter.

Blatche on the other hand is acceptable if unspectacular. And, like I said before, for a fourth or fifth option that is more than alright. I’d certainly pay 1.667 million more a season for that. And I bet Dell Demps and Monty Williams would as well. Go Team Blatche!

Kevin Seraphin (3 Years and $10 Million)

by Michael McNamara

I know that you want to skip past my argument and vote for Blatche, but please hear me out. I am not going to argue that Blatche is more productive, nor am I going to say that he has more upside, because I personally don’t believe either is true. But I do believe that if Dell is faced with these two guys at these price tags, he should sign Kevin Seraphin. I mean, let’s be real here – Even though one guy might be more talented than the other, these are both stop gap guys, and more likely than not, they would both just be passing through. This idea that every guy we sign is going to be here with our core is just a fallacy. Teams rotate fringe pieces in and out all the time, always looking for the perfect combination of accessories to add to its foundation.

My argument here is two-fold: Seraphin is the better guy to play the kind of role we need a big to play and he will be the easier asset to build up and flip due to his skill set and contract. First things first, let’s talk about what we need from a big man. We need a low usage guy who can give us 25 minutes one night and perhaps only 10 the next depending on the matchup. Look at a team like San Antonio – do they stick with the same rotation for all 82 games? Of course not. Heck, they change up rotations in the Western Conference Finals and midway through the NBA Finals. Ajinca did great against bigs like Hibbert and Jordan, but stunk against Howard. Blatche was great against Howard. AD mostly plays power forward to start games, but he could play at the five exclusively against small ball teams.

The point is that the Pelicans are likely to go center by committee if they get a middle of the road center this summer, and if they do that, how much confidence do have you in Blatche staying silent and being a team player in the locker room when he gets a DNP one night after getting 25 minutes? And how about his usage rate? Any center who is brought in will get 6-7 shots per game, tops. Blatche’s usage rate over the past two years in New Jersey was 26%. Seraphin’s was 20% lower and more than 20% of his shots in his career were assisted on, meaning his needs the ball less and he doesn’t try to create for himself. If a guard sets him up for an easy shot, he will finish it, but he won’t demand the ball and dance with it like Blatche does. Yes, Blatche is the more skilled big man, but every time Blatche dribbles twice between his legs and takes an 18 footer, that is lost shot for Davis or a lost drive for Reke, a lost bomb from Ryno, etc.

The guy that comes in here to fill this role needs to be defensive minded first and foremost. And yes, like Monty said, he has to be a threat offensively. But just a threat, not a creator. If this was a game of one-on-one, Blatche would probably destroy Seraphin, but this is about fitting a need for a team with a terrific foundation already in place. It is about complimenting the bigs already on the roster and filling in gaps on the defensive end. This team lacks a big who can defend in the post and who has the wingspan and foot quickness to trap in the pick and roll. Seraphin can give them that. And when they need something else, they go to AD or Ajinca or Withey at the five if it fits what we need in that specific game.

And then, lets talk about the players as assets. Again, players come and go. The Pelicans will likely continue to look for the perfect compliment up front until they find him, and when they do, guys like Seraphin and Blatche will become superfluous. If you want to trade one, or in a worst case scenario dump one of them, next summer – Who would be easier to move? The worst case scenario with Blatche makes him a mini anchor on your roster, and even if he has a solid year, he might not be easy to move . I mean, at a similar salary, and at a younger age, coming off a very productive year, all the Pelicans could get for Robin Lopez was a 2nd round pick. Considering the role he will be playing, it is hard to imagine that Blatche can post similar numbers to what Lopez put up. And if that is the case, he could be hard to move. Meanwhile, lets say we land our center next year after Seraphin has a bounce back year as a rotation player for the Pelicans. Now, he is a guy who just turned 25 with two years and $6.5 million on his contract. Easier to move, easier to entice.

In conclusion, the argument for Seraphin is his fit in the present and his ability to be flipped in the future. If you believe that Blatche is the final piece to the front court, then by all means, go ahead and vote for him. But if you see it like I d0 – that these are just two guys filling a temporary need before eventually moving on, then take the better fit and the better contract. Choose Kevin Seraphin.


16 comments
Kempleton
Kempleton

After hearing the Omer Asik trade, Looks like the MLE (if we'll have one) will not be used for a Center. Should we call Tucker vs. Sefolosha as the final of the MLE tournament instead? :)

CoReMeGa
CoReMeGa

Dude... I just got an alert.. Did we really just get Asik??????... And not have to give up Ryno for him.. THIS IS PERFECT

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Or maybe dell will just get us asik instead of these two joker s!!!

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Not loving either guy, but scared of blatche due to work ethic / character questions.

Read in fallout of chandler trade NY might b willing to move dalembert, think he might b a better fit

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

I don't like neither one of them. But, if I had to chose one, I would go with Blatche because of his skill set and Basketball IQ.......Seraphin is just a big body....He couldn't crack the rotation in DC......

NOEngineer
NOEngineer

I voted Seraphin because his tatoo is on his back where I don't see it during the game. I don't want either guy, and would rather pick up a couple of undrafted rookies to compete for the role of 5th and 6th big.   As mentioned above, Sim Bhullar is rated highly for his blocks and rebounding.   Other guys are out there that won't get drafted in 2 rounds.

Lebron2Pels2014
Lebron2Pels2014

Trade to get a 2nd rd pick for Sim Bhullar 7'5 center with an 8ft wingspan he could be a steal in the draft for the Pels.

Mr. West
Mr. West

I went into this thinking "Well its Blatche, easy" but damn if I wasn't intrigued by Seraphin's case. I'm honestly torn at the time of writing this and still unsure who I'll vote for. McNamara, you are very good at this.

NOH Domination
NOH Domination

I'm going to keep posting this until I get answers darnit! And I want them from the writers of this site or a fellow reader with a link.

Last year when the Pellies went through the re-brand I remember hearing (I believe on this site) that they were not allowed to have an alternate in the first year due to NBA rules and that they could eventually add an alternate after some time (1 year or so). If this is indeed the case then why was Charlotte allowed an alternate jersey immediately? Continuing with this line of thought, has there been any news on the development of an alternate uniform for the Pelicans now that the first year is completed?

Caffeinedisaster
Caffeinedisaster

Kevin WHO?!!!

Never heard/seen of him.

I think Blatche did a great job of deferring to the Billion dollars worth of guys NJ (I mean Brooklyn) brought in.  It is my understanding that with Withey's work ethic (Monty keeps talking about him getting to the gym before him) and progress this past season (nobody expected him to start his rookie year that well) that he will eventually become the starter/rim-protector.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

@Mr. West Well I appreciate you reading both before voting! I know it must be tempting to scroll down to the bottom on first glance

prpcpa1
prpcpa1

@NOH Domination You keep posting the same question and getting the same responses.  Do you not check back to find the responses or are you awaiting a personal phone call?  If so, PLEASE hold your breath.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

@NOH Domination And I have never answered because I honestly cant think of one thing I know or care less about, so I cant be of any help

Jake Madison
Jake Madison

That isn't exactly the best way to get an answer to your question, and, in fact, is more likely to provoke action from a moderator. I've seen responses to it in other posts and you're just a google search away from your answer.

The Pelicans have not announced anything regarding an alternate jersey.

NOH Domination
NOH Domination

@Jake Madison I don't understand the offense to the question. I have sorted through many google searches to no avail before even bringing the question here. I brought this question here because it was this site that reported on the Pelican uniforms and a lack of an alternate last year. I assumed the source of the information I received would be able to enlighten me as to why the apparent double standard. Has the rule changed, was it merely a matter of petition, was the information initially wrong, or is it in fact because the Hornet brand is a retread as one fellow reader supposed?


I am sorry my question incited such offense. If there is a better way to get an answer Jake, then please let me know. prpcpa1, I'm sorry for any inconvenience and stupidity I have brought into your pristine life. I hope it has not rubbed off on you in any way. And Michael, I appreciate the candid response. The non-basketball side of things certainly doesn't interest everyone. I was/am mostly hoping for a response from Jason as he is a person with immense knowledge of the non-basketball aspects.