The Pelicans made a ho-hum free agency period a little spicier by signing former Chicago Bull guard Rajon Rondo last week. The addition of Rondo solves a lot of the problem area’s the team had & can prove to be an excellent pairing barring injury & attitudes of course.
The Pells made 4 signings this off-season:
- Re-signing oft-injured guard Jrue Holiday to a massive 5 year $126 million dollar contract at the start of free agency
- Drafting & signing young athletic combo guard Frank Jackson out of Duke to a 3 year deal with 2 years guaranteed
- Re-signing former Pelican 2nd round pick cast-off forward Darius Miller who was playing overseas in Germany (won a German Championship & MVP by the way)
- Of course the inking of guard Rajon Rondo
The Pells have the Big Name Guys locked in at least for 1 more year & we know what A.D., Boogie Cousins, Jrue Holiday & Rajon Rondo will bring when healthy. The “Others” as Shaq O’Neil labels them will have to step up to alleviate some of the burden off the 1st teamers.
Here are 3 reserves that will shine in 2017 for the New Orleans Pelicans:
- Jordan Crawford aka “Instant Grits” the former D-Leaguer in 19 games last year led the Pells bench in scoring & even some starters. Crawford averaged 14.1 points 3 assists a contest while shooting a career best in field goal & three-point percentages. I fully expect Crawford to continue to shine as he gets even more familiar in this offense. I anticipate Rondo starting at point as Holiday slides to off guard most if not all nights. The 6th man to me is clearly Jordan Crawford & it fits him to give New Orleans that spark off the bench every night.
- Cheick Diallo– The high energy hustle & rebound guy that gets the tough baskets for your team. In 2016 Diallo averages 5.1 points 4.3 rebounds in 17 games for New Orleans mostly because of constant trips to the D-League. Coach Al Gentry obviously believe Diallo needed more seasoning as he preformed admirably in the 2016 Developmental League. Diallo will be getting plenty of opportunities to prove himself in 2017 as he is gaining confidence from the coaching in summer league play. The cash strap Pelicans haven’t brought in any serious competition to the reserve power forward spot which could be an indication of confidence in Cheick or Dealer Dell hasn’t found the right trade partner. Either way I think its time for New Orleans to see what Cheick can do & I think he will have a positive impact.
- Quinn Cook aka J Cole (OK that’s my nick name for him Lol) The former Duke Blue Devil caught on with the Pelicans last year after a short stint with the Mavericks. Cook who has good size & quickness at the position played 5 games in 2016-2017 averaged 5.6 points with 2 assists. Cook looked good in summer league play this year as the Pelicans gave him extended minutes. The Pells don’t have an experienced reserve at the point if they install Rondo in the starting line-up & I’m hoping they do. I think this will be a big opportunity for Quinn Cook to show the organization that he can contribute on both ends of the floor. Update: Quinn Cook was released recently by New Orleans.