Ed-itorial: Davis departs, but Pelicans deeper because of trade
The Anthony Davis will trade to the Los Angeles Lakers will certainly be a deal that will re-shape the New Orleans Pelicans, but it was the second most significant event for the Pelicans this spring.
On draft lottery night, the Pelicans hit the power ball and the lotto.
The power ball of course, was getting the first pick in the draft, with a six percent chance of doing so.
And, the Los Angeles Lakers move up from the 11th spot overall to the 4th spot was an added bonus. When that happened, the Lakers quickly become the best trading partner for New Orleans.
The other assets in the deal for New Orleans have much potential.
Lonzo Ball could be an elite defender and distributor.
And, if he ever develops a shot? Look out.
Forward Brandon Ingram has a very smooth game, and has a huge upside.
But, Ingram has battled injures (groin strain, concussion, sprained left ankle, and blood clot in his arm) through much of his early NBA career.
Josh Hart is a 6-5 shooting guard, who can do a bit of everything.
And, Hart quickly endeared himself to New Orleans, when less than 24 hours after the trade, he was spotted wearing a Pelicans t-shirt.
His tweet ..”best beignet spots? Asking for a friend…” was classic.
But, the biggest acquisition could very well be the fourth pick in the draft.
Pelicans executive vice president David Griffin and general manager Trajan Langdon have a myriad of options.
The Pelicans can use that pick to trade for an established NBA star, or keep the pick and perhaps take forward De’Andre Hunter of Virginia.
In the Pelicans made no more deals, their top six could include Zion Williamson, Jrue Holiday, Hunter, Ball, Ingram, and Hart.
New Orleans could also add to its depth by making two picks in the second round.
Forward Julius Randle has opted out of the final year of his contract, and will likely be moving on.
Same for point guard Elfrid Payton, who is unlikely to remain, especially if the Pelicans keep Lonzo Ball.
The Pelicans could also use the fourth pick in the draft to find a trading partner who would be willing to take on the bloated contract of Solomon Hill.
Last season, the Pelicans’ bench had the 6th worst plus/minus in the league.
Only the Hawks, Bulls, Cavs, Suns, and Knicks were worse.
With Holiday, Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans had a big three for a good portion of the 2017-2018 season.
When Cousins went down with an achilles tear, Nikola Mirotic, acquired in a trade with the Bulls, stepped up big in the club’s late season playoff run.
But, the Pelicans biggest problem over the past few seasons has been players 4 through 7.
Depth has been an issue, and when injuries hit, New Orleans could not put a good enough team on the floor.
It takes about seven good to great players to win a championship.
This season, Toronto had seven players in the postseason who averaged 20.8 minutes or more.
Toronto added superstar Kawhi Leonard in a trade.
But, a young player, an unknown until this season, made dramatic improvement.
Pascal Siakam went from 5 starts to 79. And, with Leonard resting on back to backs in the regular season, Siakam had plenty of chances to shine.
If the Pelicans can get one of the assets in the trade with the Lakers, either Ball, Hart, or Ingram, to make such a leap, the trade of Anthony Davis will appear much better for New Orleans.
A superstar departed, and his presence makes the Lakers a favorite to win the NBA title next season.
But, New Orleans will be talented, young, and will possess a much deeper bench.
1 thru 2 the Lakers will be better, but 4 thru 7 the Pelicans will have an edge.