Looking for some offseason discussion this afternoon...All of us have different opinions about what the team's weaknesses are--from PG to SF to C, even SG.
I'm going to assume that Monty Williams and Eric Gordon will be back next season. Monty did just receive an extension, so I don't think he will be fired....A healthy Eric Gordon still gives this team its best chance at being very good relatively soon. We don't have much reason to believe he can do it, but that good scorer (15-20 PPG) for most or all of the season would go a long way. Also, we gave him a big contract of his own, and it will not be easy to trade him with more injury problems, the excessive contract, and his underwhelming performance on the court.
Monty likes defense. Whether or not he puts a good D on the court is another matter. However, that fact paired with Monty's recent comments about lacking perimeter D makes me think that we will draft a 1,2, or 3 (more likely 1 or 3) with a good defensive reputation. As corndeaux has been saying, this team has been pretty good offensively with Gordon. It's the defense that has been terrible.
The Hornets are closing in on a top 5 pick. With the above said, I think the team is very likely to select one of these players:
Victor Oladipo (could play SF)
I don't think Nerlens Noel will be the pick. I agree that he and Davis are redundant. Also, while I don't think anyone thinks the ACL will be a big deal, it might be a concern for the Hornets who already have injury worries with Gordon.
From what I've read, Marcus Smart could play PG and/or SG and Oladipo could play SG and/or SF---making them solid players that can play positions of need (PG or SF). I don't think McLemore will be available when we pick, and from what I've seen, he is strictly a SG (not what the team is looking for, imo). Obviously, if the team rates McLemore way above the other prospects and he is available, they should take their BPA.
I perceive the weaknesses on the team to be at PG and SF. The center position is satisfactory for the near future, imo. Point Guard
Vasquez CAN be a starting point guard in the league. He is a great passer and average scorer for a PG. Plays sometimes die when he has the ball and he can force some shots, but that is a product of this team and season, imo. With Gordon out, he is the only player on the team that can create his own shot and is forced to do too much. He can be even better offensively if he can be more of a complementary player (Occasional pick-and-rolls; more spot-up shooting. He will need to keep improving 3PT%).
Defensively, Vasquez is a liability. Recent quotes from Monty stated that the perimeter D has been bad, and that the bigs' D has looked worse than it is because of this. In large part here, he must be talking about Vasquez. Gordon and Aminu are solid perimeter defenders.
Those comments, along with Dell's raving about Oladipo?, make me think that Smart or Oladipo could very well be Pelicans come June 27.
Past Vasquez, the team needs to add another backup PG/combo guard via the draft or free agency. I think Roberts will be kept on as a fifth guard. Shooting Guard
Leave this position alone.
As I said, I'm gonna assume Gordon is back and healthy in my ideal scenario. He'll be the starting SG of course, and is more than capable offensively and defensively when all is well.
Rivers is gonna be a primary backup guard, imo. Jester was saying he hasn't earned the backup spot, and they are training him to be a PG. That may be true, but he is still more of a SG to me (I see him being the first 2 on the reserve unit). What position he plays isn't very important though. What is significant is that he will be one of the first guards off the bench. While his rookie season was disappointing, Rivers made improvements. He was shooting much better percentages before he got hurt, and I think we all were impressed with his defense. He's the tenth pick. We haven't seen enough bad to relegate him to the end of the bench and garbage time for next season, imo (there was a lot of bad though
Adding a PG/combo guard is a must this offseason to cover for Rivers if he can't cut it. Small Forward
Worst position on the team...Ryan Anderson is not a SF.
I've been a fan of Aminu, and I'm not against keeping him around for the right price. His defense and energy have been welcome, but his extreme offensive ineptitude doesn't work (at least not on this team as of now). He's better than Ariza at a fraction of the cost, but he should be a backup.
His rebounding is nice, but it's overrated. Being able to knock down a jump shot is a much more valuable trait for a SF.
Darius Miller is a second round pick who hasn't done much, with a few exceptions. Until I see significant evidence to the contrary, I'm gonna assume he's an end of the bench/D-league player next season.
I love Lance Thomas--great guy. I met him once. :csb: He's a tweener that doesn't really work at SF or PF--another end of the bench/D-league guy.
Adding another player at this position is a must, imo. Porter, Oladipo, and Muhammad(my favorite) could all fit the bill. Power Forward
Leave this position alone.
Hopefully, Anthony Davis a starter down low for the next 17 years....not much else to say. He's doing big things in most major categories, especially PER. Give him some minutes, Monty! The sky is the limit.
Anderson is a great shooter at the PF position. Great asset to have and fun for the fans. He should continue getting 30+ MPG, and we should not trade him. If he's our permanent sixth man, so be it, but we should keep this guy.
I think he and Davis can eventually start together, alleviating some of this problem of having two of our best players at one position. A lot of you disagree with me here, but I think it's the best way to maximize talent without having to seriously consider trading Ryno. If Davis and Ryno can't play anywhere but PF, I think there will be a minutes/not having your best players on the court problem there.
Jason Smith can play both PF and C. He's solid. Center
Leave this position alone.
Robin Lopez is a pretty polarizing player, along with Vasquez, in regards to his ability as a starter. He's very skilled offensively. He's 13th in PPG among centers(#5 FG% of those players) in way less MPG.
Again, defense is the problem here. He's slow and struggles mightily with pick-and-roll D. It's a trade-off a lot of the time though. We want a center with size/girth to deal with the Bynums/Howards of the world, but at the same time, we want a center that can move and defend the pick-and-roll. Having both attributes is not very common. The players that have both are the best centers in the league.
Lopez is a bad rebounder. I have a few questions here:
Can he improve in this area significantly? He is still a young player at a position where players often mature slowly.
When he is failing to grab rebounds, is the man he's supposed to be boxing out getting them? Is he in good position/fundamentally sound and just not finishing the play, or is he just horrible all-around in this department?
Lopez has a great contract that he is outperforming, and he's a guy that we can play 20-25 MPG as a productive starter. This low-minute production allows Anthony Davis positional flexibility for the future. Signing a big-name center would eliminate this flexibility. He's a good shot-blocker, and his size makes him disruptive at the rim. His offensive skill and size outweigh his lateral slowness, imo(many centers struggle with this).
This post was edited on 3/19 at 3:44 pm