2017 NBA Draft preview: New Orleans Pelicans

2017 NBA Draft preview: New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans Pelicans forward DeMarcus Cousins (0) pats forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NBA.com draft preview by Fran Blinebury

2017 Draft picks: 40
2016-17 record: 34-48, fourth place in the Southwest division, did not make the Playoffs

Areas of Strength

On paper that front line 1-2 punch of Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins should be a handful for the rest of the league. The pair of big men are both skilled, athletic and able to take over a game by themselves. If coach Alvin Gentry can get them out in the open court and running, there aren’t potentially as devastating a pair of finishers anywhere else in the league. 

Needs Work

The Davis-Cousins combination often looked atrocious when they were on the court together to finish the season and it’s the top priority to get straightened out by coach Alvin Gentry in training camp. The Pelicans must also re-sign point guard Jrue Holiday or they’re taking a big step back.

Two Stats That Matter

174 -- That’s the number of games the Pelicans lost to injuries last season.  It got them in a hole early and they were never able to dig their way out and be a serious contender for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

.350-- The Pelicans ranked just 19th in the league in shooting from behind the arc.  Even though big men Davis and Cousins can knock the shot down, they need a weapon out on the wing.

The Way to Go

“The Pelicans do not pick until No. 40. The lottery choice, eventually No. 10, went to the Kings in the DeMarcis Cousins trade.” - Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com

2016-17 Team Stats (points per 100 possessions, with NBA rank)
Offensive: 103.3 (26th)
Defensive: 104.9 (9th)

Under Contract
G: Quinn Cook
G: Jordan Crawford
G:Tim Frazier
G: E’Twaun Moore
G/F: Quincy Pondexter
G/F:Axel Toupane
F:Cheik Diallo
F:Solomon Hill
F/C: DeMarcus Cousins
F/C: Anthony Davis
C:  Alexis Ajinca
C:Omer Asik

Free Agents
G: Jrue Holiday (unrestricted)
F:Dante Cunningham (unrestricted)
F/C: Donatas Motiejunas (unrestricted)

Recent Draft History

2016: Buddy Hield (6); David Michineau (39); Diamond Stone (40)
2015: Branden Dawson (56), sold to L.A. Clippers
2014: Russ Smith (47)
2013: Nerlens Noel (6) traded to Philadelphia
2012: Anthony Davis (1), Austin Rivers (10), Darius Miller (46)

 

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