The New Orleans Pelicans will almost certainly have the chance to compete for a spot in the postseason this year if everything goes smoothly in the 2013-2014 NBA season. With the additions of Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans this summer, this Pelicans team is poised to potentially make some noise in the Western Conference with a talented young core.
As I have discussed several times before, though, the center position is a point of weakness for the Pelicans as of right now. With only Greg Stiemsma and rookie Jeff Withey currently on their roster at the position, New Orleans could find themselves lacking in the production that they need from their center.
However, they could have another young player on their roster willing to step up and take some minutes at the five to solidify the center rotation. Earlier in the off-season, the Pelicans signed 26-year-old forward/center Arinze Onuaku to a deal. Recently, Onuaku was quoted in The New Orleans Times-Picayune as saying that he is willing to do whatever it takes to help out the team, including playing center.
The 6’9”, 261-pound Onuaku spent last season in the D-League playing for the Canton Charge. In 38 games, he averaged 12.6 points, 9.5 rebounds and 0.9 blocks in 23.7 minutes per game while shooting 56.4 percent from the floor.
Obviously Onuaku is a little small height-wise to be a traditional center in this league, but his frame is solid and could allow him to play some productive minutes at the position if that’s what they need. He may not be able to take over Dwight Howard or anything, but he should be able to come in and not foul things up, which is basically what the Pelicans will need this season from their centers.
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