Over the next several weeks, we’re going to be “scouting the enemy,” as we’ll be covering the outlook for the 29 other teams in the league ahead of the 2019-2020 season.
Former Grizzlies: none
Hitting the lottery is basically a once in a generation kind of thing. The New Orleans Pelicans hit the lottery not once, but twice in one summer.
It all begins with the Pels literally winning the NBA Draft lottery putting them in position to take Zion Williamson, which they ultimately did. The night was just beginning as the Pelicans also owned the fourth pick in the draft as a result of the Anthony Davis trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, which we shall cover in a sec.
New Orleans proceeded to ship the fourth pick with Solomon Hill and a second round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for picks 8,17, and 35 and future first round pick. With those picks, they selected Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Marcos Silva.
The next trade was just as impressive as they sent two future second round picks for Derrick Favors. This move allowed for a veteran player to slide into to vacancy left by the Brow. This is important because not only did the Pelicans set themselves up for the future, but they built a team to make some noise now.
With the salary dump of Solomon Hill, the Pels had some money to sign veteran shooting guard JJ Redick to start alongside Jrue Holiday.
Now for the second lottery of the summer. Anthony Davis wanted nothing to do with this organization going forward, and the Pelicans had little to no leverage with one year remaining on his contract. David Griffin managed to make Davis happy while putting his own franchise in prime position. Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, Brandon Ingram and 3 future first round picks were all sent to the Pelicans in return for Davis.
So the overall return for Davis was Ball, Hart, Ingram, Hayes, Alexander-Walker, four first round picks and the cap space to sign JJ Redick.
Team chemistry matters in the NBA, and this team is a team full of new faces. How long it takes this team to mesh will have a direct impact on the success of this season.
There is no shortage of talent on this team — a team with perhaps the most depth in the entire association.
A potential starting lineup of Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick, Brandon Ingram, Zion Williamson and Derrick Favors is nothing to overlook. Top that off with a bench unit including Lonzo Ball, Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Josh Hart, and a reincarnated Jahlil Okafor.
Is that enough for a playoff spot? Well the Nuggets, Clippers, Warriors, Blazers, Rockets and Jazz are most likely locks. This leaves two spots for teams like the Lakers — who most likely will claim one — Spurs, Thunder and Kings to fight against the Pelicans for.
I would say the Pelicans are a couple seasons away from being a threat, but they will no longer be bottom dwellers and will be a tough out every night.