New Orleans Pelicans 2021–22 NBA Roster: Can Jonas Valanciunas and Devonte Graham Help Zion Williamson Reach the Playoffs for the First Time?

Published 09/21/2021, 12:25 AM EDT
Feb 12, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring during the second quarter against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


The New Orleans Pelicans had a stacked starting lineup last season. Exceptional all-star caliber talents like Ingram and Williamson combined with Ball, Bledsoe, and Steven Adams comprised this starting line-up. Unfortunately, they did not make it even to the play-in tournament. Therefore, they fired the head coach Steve Van Gundy from his position.

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Now, with the new head coach and a massive change in the roster, will the Pelicans finally end their playoff woes? Let’s take a look at the roster changes that were made in the free agency and what the final roster looks like now.

Mar 21, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram (14) reacts with guard Josh Hart (3) and forward Zion Williamson (1) in the fourth quarter against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans roster

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Incoming Players

1. Trey Murphy III

The Pelicans acquired the draft rights to Murphy in a trade for Jonas Valanciunas from the Grizzlies. This talented shooting guard showed sparks of his potential in the summer league. Fans know him for his lockdown defense on the perimeter combined with a sharpshooter’s eye from beyond the arc.

2. Jonas Valanciunas

The Pelicans acquired center Jonas Valanciunas and draft rights to first-round pick Trey Murphy III and second-round pick Brandon Boston from the Grizzlies. His inside-outside ability makes him a much bigger threat on offense and defense than Adams.

3. Devonte Graham

Because of an injury and LaMelo Ball’s consistency, the talented guard lost his starting spot in the Charlotte Hornets. Therefore, he left the franchise to get more playing time. Pelicans acquired the former Hornet in return for Wes Iwundu, a future-protected first-round pick, and cash considerations.

Dec 27, 2020; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham (4) drives in during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at the Spectrum Center. Hornets won 106-104. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

4. Garrett Temple (Traded from Chicago Bulls)

5. Tomas Satoransky (Traded from Chicago Bulls)

6. Herbert Jones (Second-round draft pick)

7. Josh Hart (Re-signed after becoming a free agent)

8. Jose Alvarado (Signed as a free agent)

9. Daulton Hommes (Signed as a free agent on a two-way contract)

10. Willy Hernangomez (Re-signed after becoming a free agent)

Outgoing Players

1. Steven Adams

Only a season after coming over from Oklahoma, the rebounding and defensive monster was no longer required by the Pelicans. Therefore, they traded him to the Grizzlies after he played just 58 games. He averaged 7.6 points and 8.9 rebounds per game during his time with the Pelicans.

Dec 18, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) drives against New Orleans Pelicans guard Eric Bledsoe (6) and center Steven Adams (12) in the second half at the Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

2. Eric Bledsoe

The talented veteran returned to the team that drafted him after spending only one season with the Pelicans. Since he is a steady shooter from beyond the arc and the free-throw line, Bledsoe averages 14 points per game for his career. However, the point guard’s chief contribution is on the defensive end of the court. Therefore, he has made All-NBA defensive teams twice in his career.

3. Lonzo Ball

Lonzo Ball would probably be the one trade that hurt the Pelicans fans the most. Since the former Laker had career-high averages in total point, 3-point percentage, free-throw percentage, and field goal percentage.

Jan 8, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball (2) brings the ball up court against Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball (2) during the third quarter at Smoothie King Center. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

4. Wes Iwundu

5. Josh Johnson

6. James Nunnally

New Orleans Pelicans: Full Roster

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Backcourt

  • Nickeil- Alexander Walker
  • Kira Lewis
  • Josh Hart
  • Didi Louzada
  • Devonte Graham
  • Trey Murphy III
  • Tomas Satoransky
  • Garrett Temple

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Frontcourt

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Chaitanya Dadhwal

221 articles

Chaitanya Dadhwal is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Even though his journalism is driven by his desire to understand both sides of an argument and give a neutral perspective, he is biased towards Houston Rockets and Arsenal, and he has shown exactly how loyal he can be through tough times. Currently a Law student at Jindal Global Law School, he aims to have his own sports management firm one day and enjoys rap music during his time off.

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