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What roles must each Pelican play in order to succeed?

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Point Guard:

Jrue Holiday– 18.5 PPG, 7.3 APG, 1.2 SPG- Jrue was superb for the 76ers last season, and after the Pelicans traded the 6th pick, Nerlens Noel, for him, Holiday has huge expectations. He needs to be a huge scoring, passing, and defensive presence.

Brian Roberts- 8.1 PPG, 2.9 APG- Roberts was a very pleasant surprise for the Hornets last year, outplaying lottery-pick Austin Rivers. Last season, Jrue Holiday sat about 10 minutes per game, and if unless he ups his minutes, Brian Roberts must play very well when he’s the PG on the floor.

Shooting Guard:

Eric Gordon– 18.0 PPG, 3.5 APG- Eric Gordon really needs to step it up for these Pelicans. He’s caught the injury-bug, badly, during his two years with the Hornets. During those two seasons, he only played 51 games combined. During the best season of his career, 2010-11 with the LA Clippers, he averaged 22.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, and 2.9 RPG, all career highs. When the Hornets got him in return for Chris Paul, they expected a huge star. At best, he’s been an above-average starter ever since. He needs to step his game up, BIG, in order for this team to succeed.

Austin Rivers- 9.8 PPG, 4.2 APG- statistically, Rivers was one of the worst rookies of all time last season. Personally, as a Duke fan, I was baffled by this. What I saw from Austin during his one season under Coach K was a very decent guard, with flashes of greatness, and the ability to step up his game in the clutch. Last season, he was so bad, he didn’t even get a chance to showcase his clutch play, or his flashes of greatness for that matter. At this point in his career, Rivers is a complete bust. He needs to step it up this season and become a very serviceable 7th or 8th man for the team.

Anthony Morrow- 100 3PM- Morrow has been known as one of the deadliest outside shooters in the NBA. Particularly with the Nets and Warriors, Morrow was a force to be reckoned with from behind the line, similar to the likes of Kyle Korver and Stephen Curry. Last season, in his 41 games, he only made 16 3-pointers. Morrow needs to play the role of the sharp-shooter for these Pelicans.

Small Forwards:

Tyreke Evans– 16.8 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 5.0 APG- During his 4 years with the Sacramento Kings, Evans’ play gradually declined, each and every year. In his first year, Tyreke won Rookie of the Year Award, totaling 20.1 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 5.8 APG. Each year, he was listed at a new position- first at point guard, next at shooting guard, and ultimately at small forward. He’s been a “poor man’s” LeBron James throughout his career- an athletic specimen who can score, rebound, and pass extremely well. In order for the Pelicans to be successful, Evans needs to channel himself from the 09-10 season.

Al Farouq-Aminu- 7.0 PPG, 7.0 RPG- Aminu’s role will clearly be diminished this season with the addition of Tyreke Evans, however, he still needs some pretty solid stats in order for the team to be successful. If he’s able to give them a scoring and rebounding boost each game, he’s done his job.

Darius Miller- Miller’s role isn’t going to be on the stat sheets, so why even post his needed stats. His impact will be playing very solid minutes if Aminu and/or Evans gets hurt. The Kentucky alum is close friends with his former and current teammate, Anthony Davis, and he’s got to know how to keep “AD” grounded. As you can tell, Miller’s roles are more “what-if” and spiritual.

Power Forwards:

Ryan Anderson– 17.5 PPG, 220 3PM, 7.5 RPG- Ryan Anderson has a very similar game to Kevin Love- he can score in bunches, has a great stroke from behind the arc, and also racks up the rebounds- but his game can also be compared to Andrea Bargnani. Anderson needs to play more like Love than Bargnani this year, which seems highly likely, as his play has evolved each season. For the team to be succesful, Anderson, who I believe is the best 3-point shooter in the league, needs to prove that to be true. Anderson also needs to have an impact on the boards, because after all, he is a power forward.

Lance Thomas- 3 PPG, 3 RPG- the Duke grad’s impact was very minimal last year, and don’t expect to see that change at all. The only way I see his role improving is if Anthony Davis plays exclusively at the center position, which is possible with the emergence of Ryan Anderson at the PF.

Centers:

Anthony Davis– 15.3 PPG, 9.2 RPG, 2.1 BPG- Anthony Davis has looked great in the preseason, and I’m expecting a breakout season from the former #1 Overall Pick. He should be able to amount these numbers, as he’s a gifted player, particularly in the paint, and that is where the majority of his points, blocks, and rebounds will be made. If his defensive presence is minimal, that could be a huge problem for the team, and even lead to an incredible team dropoff.

Jason Smith- 8 PPG, 5 RPG- the former 1st round pick is a very physical player, and that will be his biggest impact for this team. He also, however, is fairly talented and his presence can be felt statistically. Smith needs to be the Metta World Peace-type player that fires up the team through his physicality.

Jeff Withey- 3 Blocks per 48 minutes- The former Kansas University standout will likely only get minutes during times of defensive need. He won’t play much, so his original BPG number is irrelevant- the per 48 minute stat is far more important. He’s a shot blocker like no other, and that could be important to this young Pelicans team.

Greg Stiemsma- 2 PPG, 2 RPG, 1 BPG- Stiemsma will get very few minutes with this strong core of young big men, though if he gets time, he could have a decent impact on the team.

 

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This entry was posted on October 22, 2013 by in Analysis, NBA and tagged , , .
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