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GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8944 posts

Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
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Harper breaks down our offseason by positional group:

Lead Guards

quote:

Transactions: Traded Eric Bledsoe | Traded Lonzo Ball | Traded for Tomas Satoransky | Sign-and-trade for Devonte’ Graham (four years, $47 million) | Sign Jose Alvarado to two-way deal

Did Pelicans improve here? They really did not improve and got a lot worse with their lead guards, in my opinion. I’m not the biggest Bledsoe fan, but I really like the presence of Ball on this team and the potential of what I believe he’ll become in the next few years. To replace that with Satoransky and Graham doesn’t really make sense to me. Ball is a slightly better 3-point shooter than Graham over the last two seasons. He has a much higher effective field goal percentage. Graham is a much better free-throw shooter over those two years, but Ball improved from 56.6 percent two years ago to 78.1 percent last season. If that holds, Ball is just a flat-out more efficient player. They have similar assist-to-turnover numbers, and Ball is a much better defender.

Is that worth an extra $35 million? Maybe not if you think Ball has maximized his potential, but he’s younger than Graham and just a lot better. Graham’s strengths aren’t higher than what Ball gives you. Hopefully, Satoransky can fill in well, and Williamson is likely to be the team’s main playmaker anyway. I just hate the Graham deal for them when you consider it cost them a future (protected) first-rounder too.


Wings:

quote:

Transactions: Sign-and-trade for Garrett Temple (three-year deal) | Re-signed Josh Hart (three years, $39.7 million) | Drafted Trey Murphy III with 17th pick | Drafted Herbert Jones with 35th pick | Re-signed Didi Louzada (four-year deal) | Signed Daulton Hommes to two-way deal

Did Pelicans improve here? The Pelicans got a little better here. We didn’t see a huge change, other than re-signing Hart and drafting a couple of guys with nice potential. Hart’s deal is pretty in line with a third guard you’d want coming off the bench for you. He’s a great intangibles guy, and his 3-point inaccuracy the last three seasons just doesn’t seem real. He should be much more around the 39.6 percent he shot as a rookie in Los Angeles than the 33.6 percent he made the last three seasons. Murphy is an excellent wing to throw into the mix. He’s a ridiculous outside shooter. Jones isn’t much of a shooter, but he’s a good playmaker on the wing. Acquiring Temple as part of the Ball deal should help with some much-needed veteran leadership for this young core.

Ingram is still their best wing, and they’re going to continue to rely on him to lead this perimeter attack and help complement Williamson as much as possible. Not a bad role for an All-Star from two years ago.


Forwards:

quote:

Transactions: None

Did Pelicans improve here? They did not. James Johnson left in free agency to go play for a ring in Brooklyn. While the Pelicans have made changes at the other position groups, they haven’t grabbed any new forwards as of right now. They’re going to try to surround Williamson with a bunch of shooters and versatile players. Wenyen Gabriel remains at the position as well.


Bigs:

quote:

Transactions: Traded for Jonas Valanciunas | Traded Steven Adams | Re-signed Willy Hernangomez (three years, $7.3 million)

Did Pelicans improve here? While I’m not certain Valanciunas is absolutely better than Adams, I do like the fit for him on the team better than that of his predecessor. Valanciunas can stretch the floor a little bit. Don’t expect Marc Gasol and him letting it fly from deep on a regular basis, but Valanciunas is good for about one attempt per game from outside the arc. He doesn’t take a lot of midrange shots, but he can make those as well. Mostly, he likes to be in the post and around the rim to use his scoring touch. Maybe he can be a solid passer with Williamson cutting. Defensively, they won’t lose much, if anything. They brought back Hernangomez on a steal of a contract, and they’re still hoping Jaxson Hayes develops into a guy to steal some minutes away.


Did the team get better?

quote:

They did not. I really don’t like New Orleans’ offseason. I think the Graham deal is pretty bad. His strength is shooting from the outside, and he’s not even better than Ball at it the last two seasons. He does take a higher volume than Ball, but Ball was still taking more than seven per game. There has been more instability with the organization than I would have assumed when David Griffin took over, even as their star player was forcing his way out. They lucked out with getting Williamson right away, and Griffin made a great deal with the Lakers. Now? It feels like they’re losing all of their good veteran influences, and whether or not it’s fair, the whispers and ticking clock with Williamson are only going to get louder. The Valanciunas pickup is good, and they retained Hart at a good price. But it feels like the Pelicans are praying the downgrade in talent is overcome by better fits around Williamson and Ingram.

Also, the Pelicans replaced Van Gundy with Willie Green after just one season. Green is a highly respected assistant coach getting a crack at patrolling his own sideline. If he can relate to the Pelicans’ young core a lot better and get them to buy in, then maybe the improvement comes from within, rather than through acquisition.


supe12sta12z
Tiger Town
Member since Apr 2012
4925 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
Spoken like another guy who didn't watch the Pelicans and understand what their struggles were.

We got better in spacing, shooting, Free throw shooting, turnovers, and getting to the free throw line. How much better I don't know but they improved the weakness of this team in several areas while adding much needed help at the wing position defensively.


SCP
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Mar 2016
1153 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
Who the f@#k cares what some writer thinks? The results on the court will be determinant. None of the pundits does a full grading of all their stupid opinions. If they did, no one would care to listen to them again.


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21
GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8944 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
It's an article that reminds me a lot of the days when I used to work in politics at a reasonably high level: the incompetence of most reporters.

You'd think that, if a media outlet was going to hire someone as a political journalist, that person would know more about politics than the superficial level, but that's not true. They need to know the AP Style Guide and the difference between an em dash and an en dash.

It's the same in sports reporting. This reporter really thinks that Lonzo Ball is a great defender, and he doesn't realize that Lonzo couldn't get around a screen if his life depended on it. He clearly didn't watch Trey Murphy play in the summer league. He's obviously unaware that we expect Jaxson Hayes to play minutes at PF, or that, the 2nd half of last season, Hayes was a better center than Steven Adams.

This sentence cracked me up:
quote:

It feels like they’re losing all of their good veteran influences,

Is he talking about Bledsoe? I really think that he is. If not, he's talking about James Johnson, which is just as pathetic. The Valanciunas for Adams swap is basically even in terms of veteran experience. We brought in Temple and Satoransky as well -- both quality vets who played above-average NBA basketball last season.

I really doubt whether Zach Harper watched five Pels games last season.


brmark70816
LSU Fan
Atlanta, GA
Member since Feb 2011
7122 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
The homerism is strong in this thread. Everything he said is pretty much dead on. We didn't really add or lose anything of significance. The whole off-season is dependent on the young players (Hayes, Lewis, NAW and Marshall) making a big leap or that Murphy is a ROY candidate. He even says that maybe Green can turn the team around to make a playoff run. All of it is totally reasonable.

There isn't a serious writer that is going to give our off-season a high grade or project us into the top 6 in the West. I look forward to rehashing this topic over and over as the season approaches..


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522
TigerinATL
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Feb 2005
55669 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
Every expert and fan last offseason "they need more shooting, that's not going to work". And while spacing didn't really slow the offense down because Zion is amazing, they weren't wrong either.

This offseason Pels swapped non shooters in Bledsoe and Adams for good shooters in Graham/JV. They also more than replaced Lonzo's catch and shoot production with Murphy. So they addressed the major complaints of last offseason pretty well yet they are some how worse?

I get why people aren't excited about swapping Lonzo for NAW, but NAW will be a better fit than Lonzo, because all of the things we needed Lonzo to do but he was a afraid to try, NAW will do. And he looks so good it's worth mentioning again, Trey Murphy will more than replace Lonzo's catch and shoot production.

Anyone thinking the Pels are worse has no clue what they're talking about.


brmark70816
LSU Fan
Atlanta, GA
Member since Feb 2011
7122 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
He didn't say they got worse. He said they didn't get better. He said there is less talent, but it might be better fits. So with improved coaching, there might be an improvement. That's exactly what everyone on here has been saying. I don't know why this guy is a fool for parroting the same lines that gets said on here everyday..


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19
CelticDog
LSU Fan
Member since Apr 2015
35463 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
it's going to be quite a test for the staff.

new guards.
sophomores growth.
the darn 7 10 scrum is not where you want to be.
even great teams have an off night.

1. lebron and his all star 2012 friends.
2. utah. conley holds up.
3. phoenix cp3 holds up
4. luka
5. portland out in first series
6. curry awaiting klay.
7 Denver awaiting murray.


clips without kahwi
pels
kings. fox is now a star to behold.

memphis. as predicted by pels board now in mid first round limbo. they gambled on their 10th pick. can't shoot. we've seen this before. maybe never.

not yet. nice class though
houston

nope
spurs
Minnesota
ok city

I don't know what to make of Denver.
murray is not back yet.
same as gsw.
they both await a key starter.
This post was edited on 9/2 at 12:07 pm


brmark70816
LSU Fan
Atlanta, GA
Member since Feb 2011
7122 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
You forgot the Nuggets and the reining MVP..


CelticDog
LSU Fan
Member since Apr 2015
35463 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
yes. I had them 4th and erased.



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Bronc
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re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
quote:

Every fan last offseason "they need more shooting, that's not going to work".


Yeah, that definitely was NOT the case.

LINK /

And I do think, if you looked at the message board fandom to determine the upcoming team’s likely season, the Pels would be solid playoff teams or borderline contenders based on the optimism of offseason fans going back over a decade. Offseason optimism is real.

There is a lot of assumptions and best case scenarios going around. And more for this upcoming season than most.

We are, in truth, relying on quite a lot of assumptions to become the team a lot of people are talking about(5ish seed):

- Willie Green being not just an upgrade, but a really great coach out the gate.

- Graham and NAW being able to step in as full time starters together and produce a net positive back court.

- BI and Zion to both take leaps and learn to be complimentary with one another and not the next Embiid/Simmons awkward combo.

- BI and Zion to step up defensively or us risk having amongst the worst defense in the league given our starting unit.

- JV being able to take more threes and mid rangers and continue his success from last season.

- Hayes to take another step forward

- Murphy being able to buck the trend even the best rookies face, which is being a net positive player year one.

- Our bench performing better than last year.

There’s a scenario where very little of our best case scenarios happen, and for me it’s not exactly wrong for national writers to just assume the best case view we all want to assume. Much like the fights we got into last season about articles like Lowe’s splashing cold water on our roster.


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64
aswemajor
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since May 2011
1312 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
All the statistical hogwash Harper spewed about Lonzo and Graham’s shooting is hilarious.

It’s amazing how far Lonzo Ball’s name carries him compared to what he’s done on the court. I second that Harper’s clearly never watched a Pelicans game and just glanced at a few numbers.

Eh gives us something to bitch about in the off-season I guess.


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101
aswemajor
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since May 2011
1312 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
quote:

1. lebron and his all star 2012 friends.
2. utah. conley holds up.
3. phoenix cp3 holds up
4. luka
5. portland out in first series
6. curry awaiting klay.
7 Denver awaiting murray.


clips without kahwi
pels
kings. fox is now a star to behold.



Yeah 9th sounds right for us. Need one of the teams above us to have some injuries and we’ll sneak in.


TeddyPadillac
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Member since Dec 2010
19695 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
quote:

Lead Guards



C- for me. I think we got better or at worst stayed the same, but the cost at which we did was unnecessarily ridiculous
unbelievable how he somehow thinks Bledsoe was anywhere close to being a positive to this team in any way. Simply removing him from the team makes us better.
As usually, another national reporter who doesn't watch the Pelicans and thinks Lonzo Ball is a good defender, and trying to fit a narrative to why he's better offensively. I'd rather have NAW or Graham on the court than Lonzo. He sucks on defense, and what he does in the halfcourt on offense can be done by many players who make MLE money or less.

quote:

Wings:


A at the moment, with ability to improve upon.
We didn't lose anything, and gained Murphy, and veteran leadership in Temple, and brought back someone in Hart who inspires hard work and grit on the court. We've got what appears to be 2 really good defenders in the draft, on top of Murphy's great shooting. One of the biggest things missing from last year was 6'8" wings that could defend. Murphy/Herb/Marshall should help tremendously with that for the future.

quote:

Forwards:



big ole F- here, just like last season. unbelievable how we are going to go into another season without addressing the need for a stretch 4.
Jaxson Hayes is not a 4, and i don't understand why people think a lineup with him at the 4 would work. It was done minimally last year, with tons of injuries when it happened, so putting any stock into any stat from that time is useless.

quote:

Bigs:


B
Val is a better player than Adams, simple as that. The cost to get him didn't appear to be too bad. The cost to move Bledsoe is irritating.


quote:

Did the team get better?



Well they brought in a coach that i'm sure the players will play harder for, so that by itself was a win for me. Got rid of shitty attitude in Bledsoe, and a guy that plays half arse the majority of the time out there in Lonzo. I'd say, yes we definitely got better, but only the record will truly show if we did or not. The expectation for this team isn't to win 35 games like this past year (35 is our win total for 82 games). Hell our O/U is a good bit higher than that.



How would i grade our offseason? C-
but that doesn't mean i think we didn't get better.
if we win 35 games or less, like last year, then we have a big problem, assuming relative good health to BI/Zion.
we without a doubt got better this offseason. It just cost way more than it should have, and our idiot GM's plan was pathetic. The only positive from the offseason was drafting Murphy, and he's the reason my grade isn't a F

This post was edited on 9/2 at 12:19 pm


CelticDog
LSU Fan
Member since Apr 2015
35463 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
anyone who sees bledsoe as a positive is my enemy.
they are evil and only the divine can heal them.
if I were the team captain I would have beat him up in the locker room after he says he wasn't paying attention is why he lost the game because he was clueless..
and that would have been after my suspension for bashing him previously after other dumbassery related to the attention span of a drunk 90 yr old..

what are the chances that he intentionally messed up so he gers back to clippers?
This post was edited on 9/2 at 12:23 pm


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21
Epic Cajun
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
Lafayette, LA
Member since Feb 2013
25781 posts
 Online 

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
His biggest gripe is that we basically swapped Lonzo for Graham and compares a lot of stats between them, but I don’t see know you can look at these stats and draw from it that it’s a huge downgrade to go from Ball to Graham:




ETA: to be clear I’m not saying that I think we upgraded the roster massively, but the fits are better and we should be better due to internal growth. The step down from Ball to Graham should be minimal, it’s not like we were a good defensive team with Lonzo on the roster last season anyway. As stated earlier in the thread, I think a better comparison is NAW with Lonzo and Graham with Bledsoe anyway.
This post was edited on 9/2 at 1:00 pm


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ErikGordan
Member since Oct 2016
670 posts
 Online 

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
How many posters have seen DG play more than two games last season? What was factually incorrect in the article?
What we witnessed was a Grif panic attack during this off-season. Jv is a slight improvement but he is still slow footed.
The D score was generous. Other than the first pick I do not see this team being better. Hope has to begin with Z being in shape.



cgrand
New Orleans Pelicans Fan
HAMMOND
Member since Oct 2009
28643 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
quote:

How many posters have seen DG play more than two games last season?

i'd never heard of him until the trade


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11
GOP_Tiger
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Jan 2005
8944 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
quote:

How many posters have seen DG play more than two games last season?


Not me. But do you think Zach Harper did?


NOSHAU
New Orleans Saints Fan
Member since Feb 2012
8888 posts

re: Zach Harper in The Athletic Grades Our Offseason - D+
quote:

Every expert and fan last offseason "they need more shooting, that's not going to work". And while spacing didn't really slow the offense down because Zion is amazing, they weren't wrong either.

This offseason Pels swapped non shooters in Bledsoe and Adams for good shooters in Graham/JV. They also more than replaced Lonzo's catch and shoot production with Murphy. So they addressed the major complaints of last offseason pretty well yet they are some how worse?

I get why people aren't excited about swapping Lonzo for NAW, but NAW will be a better fit than Lonzo, because all of the things we needed Lonzo to do but he was a afraid to try, NAW will do. And he looks so good it's worth mentioning again, Trey Murphy will more than replace Lonzo's catch and shoot production.

Anyone thinking the Pels are worse has no clue what they're talking about.
That's putting a lot of faith in Murphy as a rookie. We got marginally better at best. I think JV is an upgrade over Adams. Graham is still pretty much a boom or bust type. Many are making him out to be Steph Curry. He is not a knock down shooter, or has not been yet. He could be a nice upgrade or could just as easily be just average. As someone said earlier, a lot depends on the improvement of NAW and Hayes. Also, I think the biggest potential for improvement lays at the feet of Willie Green.


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