It’s been 8 games since Rajon Rondo returned from injury, should the Pelicans keep the three guard starting lineup or make a change?
Luis: The week Rondo came back, I wrote about how there needed to be a change in the starting lineup. At the time Dante Cunningham was the starter and I didn’t see anyway he could work there with Rondo. Also at the time, Darius Miller had made 60% on thirty 3PT attempts. That was midway through the month. Having now finished November, his percentages dropped a whopping four percentage points to 56% on 66 three pointers. I was skeptical that it would carry on then and while I’m still pessimistic about it now, I am still a huge proponent of trying Darius in the starting lineup if nothing else but to help juice up those first and third quarters even more. Sorry 3’Twaun.
Fernando: Miller has been everything I could have imagined. The obvious thing we notice is his unbelievable shooting but his drive and kicks, and passing in general has been pretty nice to see. He needs to get a shot with starting unit for nothing else but knock down those WIDE open shots guys are getting with Cousins and AD. Pelicans had 4 to 5 WIDE open shots in the beginning of the 1st qtr in Wednesday night’s game and none of them were made. I think Moore is a solid guy coming off the bench and that role suits him better. Millers open shots are getting harder and harder to come by with the second unit, it just seems to me he would get a lot more open looks when he is the 3rd or 4th option opposed to the 2nd.
Alex: I understand the Miller love from the rest of the group. But I would stick with Moore. His off ball movement and cutting compliments Jrue and opens more space for Davis and Boogie. And Miller brings more instant scoring off the bench than Moore usually does, so he’s a good guy to bring the Pels back in if they start slow or expand the lead quickly if they jump out to an early lead.
Jason: Like Alex, I also want the team to stick with E’Twaun Moore with the rest of the starters. In the first game he came off the bench this year (home game vs the Raptors), he looked… bad. Uncomfortable. Not in the rhythm he had developed since Game 1 as a starter. The only other game he didn’t start was the unspeakable Nuggets game, so we, obviously, won’t speak on that. Since he’s been inserted back into the starting lineup, I’ve thought that the Pelicans offense has looked great (outside of the post-ejection Timberwolves game). I think Miller works fine in his bench role, and that the team should try to develop a rhythm with the current group until Solomon Hill gets back in starter shape.
Raby: I’m going to keep the “Miller on the bench” train rolling. I love what he’s been doing this year, and the team needs that scoring threat on the bench right now more than they need it in the starting lineup. I do think, however, the starting lineup should be less of a fixed thing and more of a fluid idea that can change depending on matchups. The Pelicans were lucky to not have to face Durant this week, but if he’s there next time they face, Moore probably shouldn’t be starting opposite him. So I’ve enjoyed the three guard lineup, but it shouldn’t be set in stone.
Jermaine: I like how the three guard lineup is producing, so I think for now we should leave it be. Moore looks good, and Miller is playing like the guy we expected from the preseason. Don’t mess with success and whatnot. A couple things to keep in mind: 1) we haven’t had the best success in recent seasons constantly shuffling lineups and 2) Jason nailed it: inevitably, this lineup will change when Hill comes back – so why rush it? No need to make two changes when potentially one change will be enough. I think the bigger question is whether Gentry will get anxious when the lineup loses a couple games here and there. But, as long as Gentry can make the defensive substitutions necessary with this lineup, then laissez les bon temps rouler.