10-Dayer Power Rankings

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Published: March 22, 2017

Fans of the Pelicans have become pretty familiar over the past two seasons with the players littering the top of D-League rosters and back end of NBA benches. The Pels have been forced to sign these tweeners time and time again based on their combined need for veteran leadership at the guard spots and shooting from the wing.

As you’ll see, nearly every one of these players falls into one of those two populations. In reverse order, here’s a Power Ranking of all of the Pelicans players who have started their time with the team with a 10-day contract. There are somehow 16 of them.

16. Jimmer Fredette, 2014-16

Ha. Ha. Ha. Yeah, he’s last. I hope you understand.

15. Archie Goodwin, 2016-17

Remember this one? The most noteworthy consequence might be Cheick Diallo seeing a familiar face when he’s been in Greensboro with the D-League Swarm this year. Goodwin signed there following a disappointing stretch with New Orleans in the middle of the year.

He’s now on his second 10-day chance of the season with the Brooklyn Nets, and continues to try and find a home in the league in his fifth season.

14. Hollis Thompson, 2016-17

Zach Lowe tweeted during the middle of the season about how league-average 3-point shooters who can handle high volume and survive on defense rarely make it to bottom-tier free agency without a fight. He was referencing Thompson, who was eventually ditched by the Philadelphia 76ers as a result of their constant roster shuffling around the trade deadline.

Unfortunately, he did very little as a member of the Pelicans. Like so many guys on the roster the past two years, Thompson’s inability to make shots was his downfall. Such are the priorities and needs of this particular cramped offense.

13. Quinn Cook, 2016-17

Cook should probably be lower since he’s yet to do anything on the court for the Pelicans. Yet his performance in the D-League and throughout his college career leave room for optimism. That’s more than we’ve gotten from most of the guys on the list above him.

12. Orlando Johnson, 2015-16

The primary difference between this year and last is that the difference-makers on the team are actually healthy this season, whereas the players signed last March were expected to be legitimate contributors. Orlando Johnson was not a legitimate contributor. In 54 minutes, the former Pacer got up 17 shots and made 24 percent of them. The Pelicans went 1-6 in the games Johnson played.

Woof.

11. Wayne Selden, 2016-17

The disheartening waiver wire connection between Memphis and New Orleans continued last week as the Grizzlies signed Kansas alum and D-Leaguer Selden away from the Pelicans following the expiration of his 10-day contract.

It was disappointing for those in the camp who wanted the Pels to look harder at young players with their back-of-bench roster spots, but it was also disappointing that it was disappointing, because none of these guys are really moving the needle regardless and it shouldn’t matter who gets chosen to play in New Orleans for ten days in March.

Then again, it’s hard to tell what Memphis suddenly noticed while Selden was with the Pels. He took only eight shots in 47 minutes with the team, made five of them, and held up adequately on defense. He might some day have a place in the league, but it’s not like New Orleans brought out a hidden superstar within him. On to the next.

10. Nate Robinson, 2015-16

I could not have been the only one who was psyched to welcome Nate-Rob to the Pels in the final days of training camp last fall. He’s become one of those NBA news-stealers who gets attention no matter what he does based on name recognition and nostalgia. But when he signed to be the starting point guard on opening night against the Golden State Warriors, I talked myself into it. Please tell me I was not alone in doing so.

Unfortunately, Robinson posted an abysmal stat line on the first night of the year in a blowout loss to the Warriors, with five fouls, three assists and nothing else. That led to a mere four minutes the next night– he has not played in the NBA since. Hoo boy, please just let me keep him this high for my own sake.

9. Jarrett Jack, 2016-17

Jack and the next guy on the list are direct parallels from these two seasons. When the point guard rotation became too thin, the Pelicans looked to the veteran scrap heap for help, and failed to find it.

Jack played in only two games, scoring six points and dishing five assists before getting injured for what will probably be the final time of his career. He gets the nod over Nate Robinson because he played seven minutes in an actual Pelicans win.

8. Jordan Hamilton, 2015-16

Hamilton played his game the same way he’s played it wherever he’s stopped in the NBA– all limbs and losses. He’s another example of someone whose lack of shooting and playmaking ability can be narrowed down as the biggest reasons they were unable to stick around with the team. His height allowed him to ground rebounds and force turnovers, but he was un-impactful and stands out as an NBA example of the cursed “quad-A” delegation for MLB players.

7. Reggie Williams, 2016-17

I really thought Williams would be on the team through the end of the season when the Pelicans signed him early in the year. He filled the veteran hole, and made 5 of 8 threes in his second game with the team. When the right play was simple, Williams was able to make it. Unfortunately, nothing has been simple for the Pelicans on offense this season, and when his shot stopped falling, Williams had little else to offer. So go things.

6. Anthony Brown, 2016-17

The great Pelicans wing who never was. The Quincy Pondexter after Quincy Pondexter stopped being able to Quincy Pondexter. It was simply a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time for Brown. If you can think back a few months, you’ll recall that the Pelicans were even more desperate for shooting in December and January than they have been since the Cousins trade.

Unfortunately, Brown’s fantastic defensive potential was overwhelmed by his inefficient shooting streak in New Orleans. The youngster made only 6 of 24 threes, and failed to catch on. He’s the first player on the list who exists in the icky morass of could-haves that have populated the bottom of the Pelicans’ roster the past two years.

5. Toney Douglas, 2015-16

Those of us who chose to watch Pelicans games at the end of the 2015-16 season have a soft spot in our hearts for Toney Douglas (and his son). Especially after Jrue Holiday was shut down thanks to an orbital fracture, Douglas was the leader of the offense, and handled the task admirably for an aging player on a scrappy roster.

Mostly I just really appreciate this game against the pre-fun Nuggets when everything was miserable and Douglas went out and won a game for a team whose fans just needed a reason to get out of bed (turn on the television).

4. Jordan Crawford, 2016-17

Steezus is just doing the same dance he’s always done, except it’s working in New Orleans better than it has almost anywhere else. This team needs offense, regardless of where it comes from, and Crawford is offense. Most importantly, he’s made 19 of 38 threes and might somehow single-handedly save the Gentry-Cousins-Davis era if he keeps this up.

Crawford signed a deal to stay with New Orleans for the rest of the year and the contract contains a team option this summer to determine whether Crawford might be with the team through next season.

3. James Ennis, 2015-16

The Pelicans deserve little credit for “finding” Ennis. He had been in and out of the league for two consecutive seasons before catching on in New Orleans. Ennis impressed on both sides in nine games with the team before the Memphis Grizzlies signed him away last July.

The 3-and-D project somehow made 24 of 50 threes as a Pelican, so the Grizzlies logically stole him away in their endless quest to find extra two-way players. He’s maintained a decent amount of that potential and production in Memphis, and remains the second-best NBA player to come through the Pelicans 10-day carousel over the last two seasons, behind Frazier.

2. Bryce Dejean-Jones, 2015-16

As much as possible, we as Pelicans fans owe it to the franchise to remember and cherish the impressive run that Dejean-Jones posted last season while also ruminating on the tragedy of his death. The confusion and sadness in the wake of his sudden departure only pushed his achievement further into the spotlight in the days immediately following his passing. Hearteningly, the primary response following Dejean-Jones’ death was to imagine what could have been for a talented young man and impressive front office find by the Pelicans’ decision-makers.

Dejean-Jones averaged double-digit scoring per 36 minutes and shot 38 percent from behind the arc as a Pelican. He had a suaveness to his game that was unabridged basketball joy; you tuned in to watch him play.

He signed a 3-year deal to stay with the team long-term before his death last summer ended that situation before it ever began. Dejean-Jones remains an inspiration to keep looking for talent when you need it and give that talent a chance to bloom once you find it.

1. Tim Frazier, 2015-17

On March 15 of last season, right around one year ago, the Pelicans signed Tim Frazier to fill the backup point guard position the team had sought since trading Ish Smith midway through the year. As Jrue Holiday was eased off of his strict November and December minutes restriction, the Pelicans found a need for someone who could provide security and capably run the offense behind Holiday.

Frazier blossomed. He played 16 games after being signed to the team and his per-36 minute numbers were spectacular. Basically given free reign over the wacky roster the team trotted out at the end of the year, Frazier averaged 16.1 points, 9.2 assists and 5.4 rebounds. That team somehow won five games in March despite looking more like a D-League team than an actual competitor.

Then last summer, the Pelicans – so excited by his performance to close the season – signed him to a bargain bin two-year contract. It appeared they had found their backup point guard on the cheap, and it was one of the only moves made by the Demps and Co. in Summer Sixteen that was critically supported. When the Pels gave him another chance late this year following the trade of Tyreke Evans, Frazier returned to form, becoming basically a net neutral on the court and running the offense capably. He’s an NBA player, and a fun one– great value for a late-season roster filler contract.

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