The New Orleans Pelicans have a new look in almost every sense. Not only are they no longer sporting a borrowed Hornets nickname and colors, but they have also undergone some major changes to their roster. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday figure to give them a huge boost in the 2013-2014 NBA season while Greivis Vasquez and Robin Lopez are no longer with the team.
However, with Lopez leaving New Orleans, the Pelicans have a bit of a hole in their frontcourt heading into their season. They are loaded with talent at the power forward with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, but the center position raises many more questions than answers leading up to this season.
There has been talk about possibly playing Davis more minutes at the five, but the Pelicans will likely want to use him more at the power forward than not. Because of that, New Orleans is going to rely upon the services of Greg Stiemsma and rookie Jeff Withey heading into this season.
Of the two centers, Stiemsma is likely to see more minutes, but he’s also more of a wildcard in terms of what he brings to the table. In his two seasons in the NBA, he has played in 131 games, averaging 3.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 15.1 minutes per game on 48.4 percent shooting. However, that doesn’t fully encapsulate the unpredictability of Stiemsma.
On a game-to-game basis, it’s hard to know what type of player the 27-year-old is going to be. If he comes out showing power and aggressiveness, he can be an effective rebounder and defender. When he plays with more passivity, though, he’s not nearly as effective in any aspect of his game.
The Pelicans have made great improvements this summer, but the center position is their weak link. If they want to be successful, they are going to have to find ways to keep Stiemsma aggressive when he’s on the floor and how to manage his minutes as he’s never played as large of a role as he likely will this season. The Pelicans want to find themselves in the postseason, but much of that depends on what they get from Stiemsma.
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