Monday Scoop

Published: January 15, 2018

Are you satisfied with the starting lineup?


Ginsberg: It’s fine because of the great offense, but the Pelicans should not be satisfied with fine during a season as important as this one. The defense is a total train wreck that fails to maximize certain players’ strengths on that end – specifically Moore. He’s a decent defender when matched up with players his size, but he has struggled being asked to take on the role of starting 3. The scheme problems that come with playing three 6’4” or shorter players next to two 6’10” or taller players are apparent on a nightly basis, and that doesn’t even take into account the awful transition defense.


McNamara: Offensively, yes. Defensively, heck no. There should be enough there to be at least middle of the pack overall and top 3-5 in ending possessions with rebounds. But the effort and focus disgusts me.


42: Given Hill’s absence, sure. I look for him to start upon his return or after a short tune-up period. I don’t want to hear any lip about disruptions or whatnot. I am also more worried about finishing, which is also about as good as it gets. It not getting good enough, start or finish, is not a lineup choice issue.


Kumar: I was among those who thought that we absolutely needed to start Moore when Rondo returned from injury. Offensively, Moore has been a treat to watch. But as others have said, defensively we have been abysmal. Starting 3 negative defenders is not the recipe for success and has contributed the Pelicans starting the 1st and 3rd quarters slowly. I’m not happy with it and I think we need change.


Grayson: From a pure entertainment perspective, I am satisfied. As the guys have mentioned before, offensively it’s a very strong group. They shoot the ball well, pass to one another and put up a lot of points. But defensively they’re not very good, but to be fair a lot of the Pelicans lineups haven’t been good defensively.


If you could make one substitution among who starts, which players would you swap?


MG: Miller for Moore makes the most sense to me. Miller isn’t a great defender, but he isn’t terrible either, and his added size should help the defense on multiple fronts. Miller has also showed that he can do more than just shoot offensively, so you’re probably not losing much on that end. It also allows Moore to take on more of the back-court duties in other lineups, limiting the need for Jameer Nelson, who has been pretty bad ever since Rondo came back. I would be in favor of making Rondo the first sub out of the game and let him spend some of his minutes with the second unit, or just anyone besides Cousins. As far as closing lineup, Jrue-Moore-Miller-AD-Cousins makes a lot of sense.


McNamara: Boogie out, Otto Porter in. Is that allowed? If have to go with current roster, then take out Moore and put in Miller. It gives the Pelicans a little more size and also gives the bench some more firepower.


42: If it was me calling the shots, Boogie wouldn’t start. Davis would, then Boogie would come in for him. They’d finish the 2nd and 4th together, each playing about 36 mpg. Asik would get the start with a short. Put the low usage guy to work for some defense, rebounding, and any film that might help a trade. Put Hill in when he returns. The team can not do this, however.


Kumar: I think we should bench Rondo and start Miller. This does a few things. 1) This adds size on the wing and allows Moore to slide over to his natural position defensively. 2) This separates the disastrous Cousins and Rondo pairing allowing both of them to continue to excel without each other. 3) Finally, moving Rondo to the bench allows him to absorb almost all of Jameer’s minutes.Win win here.


Grayson: I honestly think that the starting lineup is fine as it is until Solomon Hill comes back. This team needs more defense, they also need more effort guys. They need it mainly from Davis and Boogie so you can’t exactly swap them out. Hill is such a perfect antithesis for what this team currently is. Can’t shoot, plays defense, plays hard and gives you his all. While you could swap Miller for Moore/Rondo I don’t think it makes too much of an overall difference. At least with Hill back in the lineup it gives you something tangibly different.


Where does Solomon Hill fit into our rotation?


MG: Starting SF as soon as he is capable of taking on the role. The only way I could see it playing out differently is if the Pelicans do decide to insert Miller as the starting SF instead of Moore and the team just takes off as a result. Unlikely, but if it somehow takes the defense to average or better as a result, it will be hard to disrupt that success by replacing Miller with Hill. Additionally, I would be very interested in seeing how a Jrue-Moore-Miller-Hill-Davis lineup would look, or even Rondo-Jrue-Moore/Miller-Hill-Davis.


McNamara: Hard to say until we know what version of him comes back. But let’s say it’s the same guys who finished the season – then, he should start instead of Moore and he should also get all of Dante’s backup PF minutes. He will take a handful of minutes from Miller, Moore, and AD, but the majority of his minutes will come from taking ALL of Dante’s minutes.


42: Starting and finishing small forward in many instances, backup big. Low usage guy to add some defense, rebounding, light scoring in a garbage man type role.


Kumar: I don’t think the Pelicans can reasonably throw him into the starting lineup immediately. I also don’t think you can play Solomon and Rondo together at the same time. Long term, I do think that Solomon should be the starter at the 3 spot, but until he eases his way back into shape, I think Solomon should come off the bench and absorb all available wing minutes and some of Dante’s minutes at the 4. I also think Solomon returning should help reduce some of Jrue’s current workload. Jrue has been our best perimeter defender by far and that has earned him the most minutes on the team. Getting Hill back should allow the coaching staff to rest Jrue a little more without worrying about the defense totally falling off a cliff.


Grayson: He’s a better version of old-Tony Allen. Maybe with a little bit more shooting prowess. The Pelicans defense took many steps forward when Hill came into town. New Orleans ranked 27th in Defensive Rating in 2015-16 and that jumped to 9th the following year. Now, it’s not all down to him, but a large portion of it is. Both he and Holiday on the floor do a good job of containing the ball, playing solid weakside defense and most importantly have a good understanding of defensive schemes and how to execute and communicate them when on the court. He should be starting so a lineup of Cousins-Davis-Hill-Holiday-Rondo seems feasible. Some may think that the shooting isn’t great, which it isn’t. However, with Boogie jacking up every 3 in sight and Holiday there to space the floor I think there’s enough. They just would have to adjust, get down and dirty, attack the hoop make cuts off the ball etc.

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