Five of the pelicans players are ranked inside of the top thirty at their positions. The pelicans are loaded with talent on the defensive side of the ball. With the addition of Rajon Rondo they will now add a new dimension to defense.
We have all heard the cliché " Defence wins championships" there is a lot of truth to that. All the teams that reached the NBA playoff's ranked in top sixteen in defensive rankings. You would have to be in serious denial to believe that is a coincidence. The pelicans are ranked 21st defensively. With the new-found desire to win, this is where they should improve the most.
Fear the brow
Anthony Davis is considered to be one of the top five best players in the NBA. Very little attention is paid to his defensive acumen. "AD" is the best defense of power forward not named Draymond Green. He now has to take on a new challenge, teaching "Boogie" how to groove on defense. Of the six players named DeMarcus "your favorite cousin " was not one of them.
Scoring on Jrue is no holiday
Jrue Holiday is the best perimeter defender on the pelicans and third best in the entire league. Jrue Holiday has a knack for creating loose ball opportunities for his teammates as well as coming up with steals. Jrue holiday stays in front of his opponent and cuts of driving lanes. With the addition of Rajon Rondo together they will forum one of the best perimeter defensive tandems in the league.
The weakest link
Solomon Hill is seen by many to be the weakest player in the starting lineup of the pelicans. That is not necessarily the case when it comes to defense. Solomon Hill statistically is a better defender Then Kawai Leonard of the Spurs according to last year's statistics. Solomon hill was actually a defensive strength to the Pelican, being able to guard multiple positions with his long arms and hustle mentality.
There were two other players that also ranked in the top 30. Alexis Ajinca and Omer Asik will provide defensive support on the block for the second unit, which is crucial during the course of the game. They will give "A.D". and "Boogie" a chance to rest without us becoming a defensive liability.
Where is Rondo ?
Rajon Rondo could very easily go from being the 34th ranked defensive point guard to being ranked in the top 10. Rajon Rondo adds the ability of being borderline psychic. Listen to what Boston Celties writer D'Amico had to say about Rondo after covering the Celtics for most of Rondo's career.
D’Amico "The guy knew the offensive and defensive schemes as well or better than every single teammate and every coach. That’s not an everyday thing. He loves to study film. He is a basketball junkie. He has a photographic memory. Since moving on from the Celtics, even this past season as he was with the Bulls, I’d oftentimes hear him calling out our plays to his teammates, and getting it correct every single time. How often does that happen in the NBA?"
D’Amico "He knew our plays. It was that genius that we talked about before. It came into play and was affecting the series. He was also playing at his highest level maybe since suffering the ACL tear, as he was shooting the ball well and running Chicago’s offense at a high level."
If that is not convincing enough just listen to what "A.D". Has to say about Rajon Rondo's defensive abilities paired with Jrue Holiday.
"Jrue is, of course, a great defensive player and Rondo is another one of those guys at the guard position that plays defense," Davis said. "I think he's up there in steals every year, he has long arms, big hands–he gets after it. He's definitely going to help our defense, especially in that backcourt with him and Jrue back there. I think they're going to give a lot of guards this year problems with the defensive ability they have.
"They're definitely going to bring a different dynamic this year, we won't have to help out as much, we can stay attached to shooters…We can do so much more with our defense because we have a lot of guys on the team that's willing to commit to the defensive end."
As "A.D". stated "we look good on paper". We have all the ingredients to cook up a top-ten defense. Let's see if Alvin gentry and the rest of the coaching staff can stir it up right.