New Orleans Pelicans: Who stays?

The 2013-2014 NBA season was an unsuccessful one for the New Orleans Pelicans. Therefore, the staff needs to start cleaning house if this team wants to make the playoffs next season.

Anthony Davis had an outstanding year, and he isn’t ready to make an early exit from this team. However, in my mind there are a few players who are on the fence of staying/ leaving the Pelicans’ roster.

Five Players to Keep

1. Al-Farouq Aminu 

Al-Farouq Aminu is an unrestricted free agent as of right now, but the Pelicans need to secure him up for a few more years. He is considered to be the least injury prone player on the Pelicans team. Last season he played a total of 80 games, and started 65 of those games. This small forward isn’t the most efficient on the offensive side of the ball, as he averaged 7.2 points per game last season. But on the defensive side of the basketball he averaged 6.2 rebounds, which ranked almost second on the team behind Davis. He doesn’t contribute points-wise, but he can stay healthy, he can rebound and play defense. That’s exactly what the Pelicans need going into next season.

2. Alexis Ajinca

Alexis Ajinca isn’t a household name in the NBA community, but he is one of the tallest players in the league. He stands 7 feet 2 inches in his Pelican uniform and averaged 5.9 points per game while grabbing 4.9 rebounds a game last season. If Ajinca can improve his offensive skills this upcoming offseason, and gain more muscle he can become a valuable player for the Pelicans in the future. The 25-year-old from France is under the Pelicans’ wing for another year.

3. Luke Babbitt 

Luke Babbitt was only with the Pelicans for 27 games last season, but is another young player that the Pelicans need to keep around for the future. He averaged almost 18 minutes last season, while scoring 6.3 points a game and snagging 3.3 rebounds a game. He also attempted the third most three-pointers on the roster. If the Pelicans part ways with Eric Gordon, then Babbitt can become more of a threat off the bench. He’s under contract for the 2014-2015 season, and the Pelicans can use his three-point game.

4. Brian Roberts

Depth at the point guard position is not a strength the New Orleans Pelicans have. Brian Roberts and Jrue Holiday are the only point guards currently on the roster. Now that’s a problem, considering Holiday only played 34 games last season before injuring his leg.

Roberts just finished his second year in the league, but he’s 28 years old. However, the Pelicans need to keep him around because he was the number one option at point guard this season. He understands the system and when the Pelicans draft a point guard in this year’s draft, Roberts will be able to help that young player out. Roberts averaged 9.4 points per game, but isn’t the assist machine like Holiday is.

5. Jeff Withey

If the Pelicans want to make any offseason trades they have plenty of ammo at the center position. Jeff Withey didn’t exceed expectations last season, but that doesn’t mean the Pelicans should pull the plug on him yet. Withey averaged 11.8 minutes this past season while scoring 3.3 points a game and grabbing 2.4 rebounds a game.

Withey was never able to get in his groove, because all the other centers were cutting into his playing time. Withey isn’t a number one center, but he can be a valuable center coming off the bench. He has a great shot blocking ability and has a solid defensive game. If he can improve his post moves during the offseason the Pelicans will have no problem with keeping him locked up.

  • Chris

    Sorry bro, but you lost ask credibility with saying you keep Aminu. I get that he is Monty’s boy, so I guess he will actually be back, but it will be to the detriment of the team. He is too expensive for what he brings to the table. We need that money for a player that week be of greater impact. He plays good D, yes, but he is a blackhole on O and doesn’t need to be defended. That impacts all the other starter’s spacing. If you want the purgatory of maybe and barely squeaking into the playoffs to be first round fodder, you definitely resign him.

    • Chris

      Ugh… forgive the typos, I am in my cell using swipy keyboard. My phone likes to confuse and befuddled. Heh

  • Kraig Jagerjenson

    sweet article bro its dizzy though. i like how u said we need aminu i like it