Red Hot Start Helps the Pelicans Take Down the Lakers

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Published: July 13, 2014
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Courtney Fells called himself a “more athletic Anthony Morrow” last week, and for one day at least he didn’t look so crazy. Fells dropped 25 points on just 13 shots, going 4-6 from deep to help the Pelicans defeat the Lakers 90-73. Fells jumper was working early, and that helped the Pelicans race out to a double-digit lead early in the first quarter, but he wasn’t one-dimensional by any means. Fells was able to drive to the rim and finish with both hands and also got to the line a couple of times.

But Fells wasn’t alone, as Dominique Jones and Arinze Onuaku made big contributions after not playing in the first game. Jeff Withey and Patric Young also provided a physical presence to start off the game, as Coach Gates moved Young into the starting lineup, and as a result the Pelicans controlled the boards (33-23). Russ Smith struggled to find his shot and had a few head scratching turnovers, but you could not possibly question his effort or his desire to get his teammates involved (8 assists). And Patric Young joined him in the effort department, as he dove for any and every loose ball, while going 5-6 from the field (10 points) and grabbing 6 rebounds, leading the team with a +25.

It was a balanced effort on the offensive end combined with just enough defense today, as the Pelicans move to 2-0 in Summer League. There is a solid amount of talent on this team, but what really stands out is their effort. You never see a defensive possession where guys are just standing around or an offensive possession where at least one or two guys don’t aggressively crash the boards. They are a fun team to watch, and without a doubt, an easy team to root for.

Notes and Observations

- Jeff Withey got some opportunities in the low post and made the most of them, but the most impressive play to me came up in the 2nd quarter when Withey got the ball on the wing, faced up and drained a smooth jumper. Teams are going to give him the 14-16 footer this year, and while I don’t want him taking a bunch of them, it would be nice if he can hit them.

- Patric Young showed off a nice little jump hook early on, but he also air balled one from a little further out later in the game. But, this is not where he is going to impact our team if he makes it in October. Any offense is just gravy with Young. His defense is terrific already, and he will go after any and every ball, whether it is on the glass or on the ground. I don’t know if he could get any playing time if he were to make the roster, but just having that guy in your locker room and at your practices is valuable.

- Russ Smith was the spark plug early, as he got into the lane at will and made some great kick out passes for open threes. Where he struggles is when he tries to pass the ball in and across the lane. It’s going to be an adjustment for him with all the size in the NBA, but it is hard to believe that he won’t figure it out. The one thing that will be hard for him is when his man cuts back door on the defensive end. Several times in this game, the Lakers just threw the ball over his head as his man cut and it resulted in a layup or two free throw attempts. He is a terrific on ball defender, but I can see him struggling off ball, especially since he isn’t exactly a huge deterrent when he closes out on his man.

- Onuaku is still a beast. Not very skilled, but he is a physical presence, and he (along with Withey and Young) gave Julius Randle some problems in his first game. In fact, on the buckets Randle scored, he pushed off hard with his off arm and I have to think that will get called by NBA officials. Onuaku has no chance of making our team, but I would like to see him in the league. I mean, if Hilton Armstrong can get playoff minutes….

- Josh Howard shows flashes of a guy who can still play in this league. I am really curious to see if he gets a shot.

- The Asik trade should come any time now, probably tonight or early tomorrow. From there, it will all be about locking down a solid SF. Can’t wait to see who that guy is for Demps. Edit: The Pels have traded a handful of non-guaranteed contracts for Asik and Omri Casspi. They still have the Room Exception ($2.7 million) to lock up another small forward. Dell did amazing work this summer. Hats off to him. 

25 comments
Pelican Poster
Pelican Poster

Now is the time for the illustrious expert panel of BSS to show their stuff! 'Tis why I come here! Not sure where else to list a request like this so I post it here:

Wish List:

1) Before and After Comparison - 42 style? Explaining all the moves... what we were facing monetarily, exception-wise, contract-wise, free agent signings, no picks, the whole kit and caboodle.

2) Don't remember if you guys issue grades on things like this, but I'd love to hear and see your grades and opinions on how you think Dell did taking into account the above referenced factors, gains vs losses, etc.

3) Opinion on our Division rivals moves...Dallas big hitters, Houston not so much given the losses, Spurs we are fine already?

4) The first two summer league games give me cause to figure out proper reg season game music snippets for Russ Smith, and Patric Young...and now I suppose for, Asik, Casspi (and I still think Ryan Anderson's should be the uttered by Agent Smith....MISTER ANDERSON!)

Well I guess this looks like it very well qualifies as separate articles, but either way I'm sure I'll see some of this soon on the site...thanks guys for your continued efforts to provide your own Paul Harvey version of THE REST OF THE STORY for us Pel fans!

lsucpolk
lsucpolk

If everybody stays healthy, the Pels will be pretty good.  But in the words of Joe Namath, "'If':  what a big word with only two little letters."

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

Just read Caron Butler close to signing with the Pistons for 2yr 9mil range.....that's a bit high for him IMO........

kfte
kfte

I think the Patric kids has a nice up side, and Fells should be invited to camp.

xman20002000
xman20002000

With Asik and Casspi and the best SF out of the Summer League... LOL.. were are the caravan of Demps haters...LOL..  and we might just keep EG...

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

I would go after Marion, Butler, Anderson, Jones, Johnson, Garcia in that order

mojart
mojart

MM propsed a trade scenario that dell should try to fill that SF void...

bpec12
bpec12

Thoughts on Casspi?

jmbell7
jmbell7

Hey guys, do y'all have any idea as to why I can't view the game on articles or the farewell morrow article from my laptop? I have no problem viewing them on my mobile but the most recent thing I can view on my laptop is the player profiles and the Lebron and Melo are handcuffing Dell Demps articles.

Is anyone else having this problem?

Zed84
Zed84

Did you've to spill the beans this wont be on til after midnight

Pelican Poster
Pelican Poster

Mc your 3rd paragraph above hit the nail squarely on the head.  I ENJOYED watching this team play today in all phases. I think it was indeed due to their hustling.  Young is just a smart defender as many times I saw him cover and get to the right spots to assist his fellow teammates.  I think he actually has more potential for minutes depending upon matchups from game to game.  If AFA had Fells offensive ability, even 50% of it, he'd be a keeper for sure.  I see Fells and Howard sticking as they will want a little veteran presence around the youth.  With Babbit being gone as well, I guess we'll see a third new face there too. I think Dequan Jones also played great. These guys just seemed really active on the court.

PelicanSaints
PelicanSaints

@bpec12 I agree with MM. Definitely an upgrade for what we had last year at the 3.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

@bpec12 He is an upgrade over Miller, Southerland, etc. and the other backup SF options. Now, with the Room Exception, Dell can target one more SF. Some candidates include:

Francisco Garcia
James Jones
Alan Anderson
John Salmons
Chris Douglas-Roberts
Jordan Hamilton
Wesley Johnson
Shawn Marion
Caron Butler

xman20002000
xman20002000

@Jason Calmes @Pelican Poster The trade piece is much more important than the Summer League..  So this is within budget without disturbing our core players... Evans and Casspi played together with the Kings..  and everything we are doing fits within Demps' philosophy... no more big market foolishness... We look better than the Lakers and the Knicks..

loudlikepat
loudlikepat

Hey...you had to say Salmons. I at least want Darius Miller for backup. I still think he could develop.

jmbell7
jmbell7

@Michael McNamara @bpec12 Of those I'll take Hamilton. Unless Butler or Marion will sign for a 1 year deal (but I doubt they do). What about Dequan Jones? He played well today, any chance he gets a legit shot to make the roster? A young, athletic defensive wing. 

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

Or he could flip him with hopson and babbitt for a stronger option

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara moderator

@jmbell7 @Michael McNamara @bpec12 Richard Jefferson just signed for 1 yr and it was the min. I think the Pels got a decent shot at those guys offering 1 year and 2.7 mil PLUS a starting job. How many other places are they going to get that?

The roster is pretty loaded. Maybe one spot up for grabs. Maybe. Fells, Howard, Jones, Southerland all might get invited to camp to compete for it. 

Houpgarou
Houpgarou

In asik trade? Thought it was just gee going out in that one