Just because Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans is participating in All-Star weekend doesn’t mean the rest of the team stops looking for ways to win. The Pelicans need to bring life back to Bourbon Street and a few trades would do exactly that.
The Pelicans latest transaction was the signing of Luke Babbitt. In his first four games with the Pelicans organization he has averaged 7.5 PPG, 4.5 RPG and attempts 5 three pointers a game. Now that the Pelicans acquired a scorer the team needs another scoring big man to accompany Davis down low.
Here are a few players the Pelicans should try to pursue before the Thursday, Feb. 20 trade deadline.
One option the Pelicans have is trying to snag power forward Greg Monroe from the Detroit Pistons. This trade would benefit the Pelicans positively, because Monroe has the ability to post up from anywhere and score. Davis and Monroe would be a great one-two punch down low for the Pelicans. Monroe has started every game for the Pistons and is averaging 14.3 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 2.1 APG. The Pelicans are in desperate need of post scoring considering Davis is the only big man that scores in double figures. Monroe has only been in the league for three years and is 23 years old. The trade I would like to see happen would be the Pelicans shipping Eric Gordon to Detroit and in return receive Greg Monroe and Charlie Villanueva. The only way this trade works is if the Pelicans agree to take Villanueva’s big expiring contract, although they would get Gordon out of New Orleans and acquire the missing piece to the puzzle possibly. Monroe has excellent passing ability for his size and basketball IQ is off the charts. With Davis’s shot blocking ability and Monroe’s unselfishness New Orleans could be playoff bound if this trade transpires.
This next trade I’m going to propose is a trade that probably isn’t going to happen, but it benefits both the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks to a degree. The Pelicans could send Eric Gordon and Greg Stiemsma to the Bucks for O.J. Mayo and ZaZa Pachulia. Stiemsma has disappointed people in his play this season and averages a low 2.9 PPG, so the Pelicans can afford giving him up. Pachulia isn’t the best scoring big man in the world, but he averages a mediocre 7.7 PPG and 6.4 RPG. Pachulia is a slower post player, but uses his craftiness to score points. Another positive of Pachulia is that he is a great free throw shooter. His downfall is on the defensive side and he isn’t the most athletic player of them all. If the Pelicans acquired Pachulia and gave him plenty of minutes he could totally put up double-double kind of numbers.
The other player in this deal is O.J. Mayo who is averaging 12.2 PPG and 2.4 APG this season. It has been a down year for this shooting guard, but I think if Mayo gets in the right system his numbers will sore to the top. With an excellent mid-range game, good perimeter defense and strong scoring instincts make him a trade target for the Pelicans. Mayo is only 26 years old, but has played for three teams in his young career. If the Pelicans target Mayo they would have to decide if he would play the point guard spot or shooting guard. Mayo can play either or, but is better in the shooting guard role. Mayo struggles with decision making on the court and struggles getting to the free throw line. The Pelicans probably have no interest in pursuing this trade, but I definitely think that Mayo and Pachulia have the ability to help the team.
The trade deadline is four days and the Pelicans best option may be not even trading anyone. The Pelicans aren’t playing bad basketball considering they don’t have some of their top guys playing. Injuries have been a huge issue so far this season. If the Pelicans don’t make any moves they won’t make the playoffs this year in my mind.
Although, if the Pelicans don’t make any moves and everyone returns healthy for next year’s season, they could be in the mix right off the bat in the West. Winning is everything, but is giving up your whole lineup worth it? Gordon has a history with injuries, which may make teams turn away.
Tyreke Evans may be another player that teams call the Pelicans about. The Pelicans paid a lot of money to two players who aren’t producing at the highest level at the moment. Gordon and Evans may just need another year to work together with everyone and build a stronger on court relationship.
Having a strong relationship on court is the key to team chemistry success. Pelicans have options, they have their franchise player and they renamed their stadium, now they are looking for the other pieces to the puzzle.