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New Orleans Pelicans

Question of the Week: Changes

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The Pelicans currently sit at 3-5, what is one change you’d make to try and improve the fortunes of the team?

Fernando:I’m of the belief that the Pelicans are playing this year for  DeMarcus Cousins–to keep Cousins. So if that is the case they need to make the playoffs, and do whatever it takes to do so. The future is now and that first round pick does not fit the team’s timeline. I would package that 1st with Diallo and Moore and see what I could fetch. Maybe go get a guy like Bledsoe, Jackson, or a solid wing. Preferably someone else who can handle the ball and get to the rim.

Jason: Insert Jameer Nelson into the starting lineup. It’s clear that Dante Cunningham can’t function effectively as the Pelicans’ starting SF. And flip-flopping from the first few games of this season where New Orleans built large first-half leads, the last few games have seen the Pelicans falling in huge holes in the first half, forcing the team to spend the rest of the game fighting back with a miniscule margin of error. Nelson has been seen as the composed veteran on the squad, and as the only healthy floor general on the roster, inserting him in the starting lineup should at least help New Orleans to start games better, or at least help the team get in a better rhythm overall. (This would push Dante out of the starting lineup, Jrue back to the 2 spot, and either E’Twaun Moore, Tony Allen, or even Darius Miller at the 3 depending on the matchup).

Luis: Since the Kings game when the Pellies pulled out a 4 guard & Boogie lineup, I’ve been a huge advocate on the tweets for the Boogie Smalls lineup (formerly Biggie Smalls line up, name changed thanks to our own Raby backed by Mason Ginsberg of Bourbon Street Shots). The Boogie Smalls lineup is essentially Boogie, Anthony Davis and three guards. The Pelicans have used it in small spurts with varying success, but overall it’s been a fairly positive concept. Personally, I think it helps get more scoring options on the court and it’s very flexible. Need more playmaking? Have Jrue and Jameer run together. Need a nice mix of players? Run it with Tony Allen, Jrue, and Clark. While it might sacrifice some defense, I think the offensive firepower is enough to make up for that, especially limiting players who bog the offense down. Sorry Dante.

Jermaine: Challenge Coach Gentry to create an offense that allows this Pelicans roster as constructed to flourish. We have a surprisingly good passing team (4th in assist at the time of writing), including an excellent passing big man in Boogie. I’d like to see more high post offensive packages that enable Boogie to be a facilitator; back picks that allow cuts for our guards – like Jrue – and potentially devastating pick and rolls/pops for he and Davis. That offense could also leverage off ball motion to free up legitimate shooters like Clark in the corners. If the Pels are all in on the Boogie and Brow experiment and bucking league trends, why are we so desperately trying to imitate them by putting up 30+ shots behind the arc per game when we only connect on them a third of the time? If this great experiment is going to fail, fail on your terms.

Raby: Figure out something — anything — at the wing. I was happy when the Pelicans signed Dante Cunningham because he was a valuable glue guy for the past few seasons. But this season he’s looked less like glue and more like a guy who’s shooting 29% from the floor. The Darius Miller experiment is presumably already dead, and short of the Boogie Smalls lineup mentioned above (I want royalties, Luis), there doesn’t seem to be anyone on the roster who can plug in at the 3. So the Pelicans have two options: either play Josh Smith there for the most hilarious disaster anyone has ever seen, or look for a trade to bring in someone who can hold that position down until Solomon Hill gets back. Is it weird that I kind of want to see the first option?

Agree? Disagree? What changes do you want to see the Pelicans make? Let us know in the comments below!

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Jake J. Madison is the host of the daily Locked on Pelicans podcast. Covering the Pelicans and NBA since 2010, you can catch him on various sports programs around New Orleans and nationally.

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