I get the same feeling about the roster not necessarily being set...so far so good in qtr 1...Young hustling up and down the floor and cleaning the glass on both ends....offense started off hot, cooled, and got hot to close the qtr...Smith with both good and bad again in qtr but his first bucket was vintage Chris Paul on a pick and roll getting him a wide open floater in the lane as they feared the alley oop...
Game On: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
And now we have come to the 5th and final game of Summer League, as the New Orleans Pelicans end their run in the Consolation Bracket. After three close games, yesterday was tough, as the Hornets got red-hot and mowed down the Pelicans. Russ Smith was stellar once again, but he got little help outside of Courtney Fells, and if the Pelicans want to win this one that can’t happen again. Shabazz Muhammad, Zach Lavine, and Alexey Shved can all score on the wings and Gorgui Deng is an absolute beast on the boards.
Jeff Withey and Patric Young are going to have to show up today in the paint and on the glass to keep the Wolves from getting easy buckets and second chance opportunities. That is what killed them yesterday, and it can’t happen again. Those two also have to be more aggressive offensively. But at the end of the day, this team will probably go as Russ Smith goes, and he has had four games now where he has been brilliant for part of the game and maddening for other parts. It would be nice to see him put it all together and go out with a truly special performance.
Notes and Observations
– It looks like the Pelicans have filled out their roster with the signings of John Salmons, Jimmer Fredette, and Darius Miller. That brings us to 14, and you have to believe that Patric Young gets a contract offer any day now, which will max the Pelicans out at 15. The Pelicans have surrounded their penetrators and AD with shooters, and with AD and Asik on the back line, they can afford to go small from time to time. Expect to see a lot of three-guard lineups with AD and Asik on the floor, including a starting lineup of Jrue-Gordon-Evans.
– You have to wonder why the Pelicans didn’t leave a roster spot open for Fells and Jones, Southerland, etc. to compete for. Were they not as good in practice as they were in the games? Were they not willing to come to camp without guarantees? Who knows, but with how well Fells played in particular, I was a little surprised Demps gave Fredette that final perimeter roster spot.
– Unless somebody goes crazy or Russ Smith puts up a goose egg, Smith should walk away with the SL assists title. That’s something, right?
– Game tips off at 8 Central. It will not be on NBATV, but you can watch it on nab.com with the SL pass. Or you can watch it at 8:00 am tomorrow on NBATV