A View from the Outside — Truehoop

((In order to give some perspective on the franchise from the outside, I had a short discussion with Eric Goldwein of Hoop 76. Eric is Hoop76’s founder and editor-in-chief. You can follow him on Twitter @ericgoldwein. His work has been featured on TrueHoop, the Slate/Deadspin NFL roundtable and Yahoo’s ThePostGame.))

Jason: Eric, our teams have some similarities. Relatively new ownership, recent rebuilding, some interesting talent. They are in different places on their rebuilding timelines, and the methods chosen are kind of opposed. The Pelicans trade picks, including to you, and you collect picks. The Pelicans are rebuilding quickly, the Sixes are exercising patience.

I’d like your thoughts on the Pelicans’ approach since they drafted Anthony Davis. Don’t be shy.

Eric: I understand the approach. New Orleans had to start winning to keep ownership happy, and make sure that Anthony Davis didn’t bolt. And that kinda worked! They made the playoffs in the Western Conference which is freakin’ hard. More importantly, they just signed Brow to a five-year extension. That’s a HUGE accomplishment.

Was spending big money on free agents, and coughing up future draft picks for borderline starters (and, gulp, damaged goods) the best way to get to this point? I don’t know. I’m not suggesting the Sixers “screw today, save for tomorrow” model. That wouldn’t have been feasible. But maybe when a talent like Nerlens Noel falls on your lap, you don’t trade him and a first-round pick for an average starting point guard on a not team-friendly deal? Or instead of giving up a 1st for a year of Omer Asik (and then signing him for $60M!), you try to find the next Omer Asik for a fraction of the price? Or perhaps, not trade for a pricey guard like Tyreke Evans?

I don’t know if it’s because of what management has done, or in spite of it, but Davis remains in New Orleans. As long as he’s there, the Pelicans will be in a good place. He’s that dominant. Think LeBron-Cleveland, Part I.

But there’s a reason LeBron left for Miami, and it’s because the Cavs were never able to get him the supporting cast that he needed to win a title. I worry that the Pelicans are headed in that same direction. Thanks to their moves of yesterday, they’re short on assets and cap space, hurting their chances of acquiring a second star. With a rising cap, there’s a good shot they can get a big name down the line, and keep Davis happy. (Recruiting pitch: come play with the best player on the planet. Sign here.) But had they been a little more patient, they’d have a lot more flexibility — right now and in the future.

Jason: I think you see a little more hope than some writers, at least in terms of supporting cast. That gives me a little encouragement.

Speaking of trading picks, we traded 2 to you for Jrue. Let’s ignore the nondisclosure thing, we don’t know enough about it. Assuming he’s of average NBA health going forward, based on your knowledge of him in Philly, how do you see him fitting with Davis and Gentry? Any other Jrue tidbits are welcome.

Eric: Well that’s the first I’m hearing about the stress frac– I mean, non-disclosure thing.

Anyways, if reasonably healthy — and that’s a big if — I see Jrue being a decent fit next to AD, in part because AD will make anyone look good. He’s a plus-defender and he’s smart enough offensively that he won’t hurt you.

That said, he’s not a good 3-point shooter and he doesn’t get to the line. If you’re a guard and you’re lacking in both of those areas, you better be damn good at other things. I’m not sure Jrue is. But the good news is he just turned 25 in June. He’s still got time to develop. Give Jrue a consistent 3-point shot and things will run a lot smoother. (And, he’ll demand a big raise as a free agent in 2017).

Jason: I’m a little higher on him than you, but I’ve got a soft spot for the scrappy, all-around types. David West is miles away my favorite player. At any rate, guards… Boy, do we have a few. Evans, Gordon, Holiday. Each has some issues, and it’s a glut of imperfect talent out of the wings. Does it seem to you the mix works, the Pelicans are hoarding assets, they are deluded, what?

Eric: “A glut of imperfect talent” is a perfect description, but there’s certainly enough there that it can work. Anderson is as good a big man shooter as there is. Davis might extend out to the 3-point line. Evans, Gordon, and Holiday have all shown flashes of all-star potential. Alvin Gentry has plenty to work with. Last year he helped turn Golden State’s offense into a juggernaut and it wouldn’t shock me if he did the same with this crew.

Jason: Thanks, Eric. I appreciate your candor. The NBA is watching both of these teams with interest. Win or lose, we’ve got something to talk about. I’ll check back in another time. Also, let us know when you come to town, we have some legit Philly places for you take shelter at, Tasteykake and all, like Stein’s Deli.

3 responses to “A View from the Outside — Truehoop”

  1. A good synopsis of the debate that rages on for us between competing team building methodologies!  Thanks Doc!
    Any summer league articles coming?  I know that historically the summer league stuff is kind of written off as much ado about nothing, but I do see some interesting leads in the relatively swift change in their style of play, as well as the play of Curry, Drew, and DeJean-Jones?

  2. I appreciate his input and honesty but there’s a lot wrong with some of his statements:
    1.Noel was never going to stay here so it’s moot he brings that up.
    2. Jrue’s contract(and Tyreke’s for that matter) is a bargain in the current NBA. LOL at his comment about 3 point shooting,only curry has been higher in career %(jrue is at 37.5) among west starting PGs.
    3. Asik’s contract is more like 4/44. 
    4. Trading tyreke allows for a 7-9 year max player(such as durant). Even if they miss out in that scenario there’s at least 25-30 mil to get players.

  3. Is it just me or does Kidd-Gilchrest seem like a logical fit next year, assuming Durant stays with okc.

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