New Orleans Pelicans 2016-17 record: 34-48 (10th In Western Conference)
Additions: Frank Jackson (Draft), Jrue Holiday (Free Agency: Re-signed), Tony Allen (Free Agency), Ian Clark (Free Agency), Charles Cooke (Free Agency: Two way contract), Jalen Jones (Free Agency: Two way contract), Darius Miller (Free Agency), Rajon Rondo (Free Agency)
Subtractions: Tim Fraizer (Trade), Quinn Cook (Free Agency), Axel Toupane (Free Agency), Donatas Motiejunas (Free Agency), Hollis Thompson (Free Agency)
The Pelicans are all in this season. Last season, they acquired DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Cassipi and in exchange gave up three players and two draft picks. With a year left on Cousins contract, this season they need to make it count if they want to retain him.
Having lost their first round picks, a series of trades saw them acquire Charlotte’s 2nd round pick. Frank Jackson was the pick. While not a prolific guard coming out of Duke, he shot the ball efficiently from all ranges. He should be an efficient back up guard to Rondo.
Free Agency is where the big splashes were made for the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday signed a long term deal. Holiday had his best season at New Orleans, as a shooting point guard with good ball handling skills. He was not a wasteful shooter either. He will be moved to the shooting guard position, to accommodate Rondo. Rajon Rondo was a big acquisition. A pass first point guard that helps free up Holiday and can feed Cousins and Davis. He had a successful partnership with Cousins in 2015-16. He makes his presence felt on the defense as well.
Former Memphis player Tony Allen is a good defender. The veteran has been on the NBA defensive team of the year for six seasons. He can still provide a decent production of the bench. Ian Clark is coming off a title winning season with Golden State. He does have it to average 10 points a game off the bench. Miller returns to the Pelicans after a two-year stint in Germany.
The downside for the Pelicans is the over reliance on their front court duo. Cousins and Davis are a force to be reckoned with. If one of them gets injured, the production of the team will be hurt. The bigger question is if Davis and Cousins can work together. They have worked through the off-season but it only matters if it translates into results on the court.
The Pelicans are in an all or nothing season with Cousins entering his final contract year. If he is to stay, a deep playoff run is the bare minimum. The front court duo of this team, with Rondo and Holiday are going to be a force. Even in this tough Western Conference, a playoff spot is expected. The team have enough talent to win a post-season series as well.