By Todd Singer @breakingbadfish on May 29, 2014
Coming off an injury-riddled season, the New Orleans Pelicans hope their young core can take the next step in 2014-15 with a clean bill of health. The Pelicans have a good deal of talent lining their roster and could be poised to inject themselves into the playoff conversation in the West next season. Look for the Pelicans to explore all options to improve the roster, and this could be the starting five on opening night.
Jrue Holiday was acquired from Philadelphia during last year's draft, but he missed a good chunk of his first season in the Crescent City with injury problems. Holiday is one of the best young PGs in the NBA and his loss was a big blow to a team that doesn't have much PG depth behind him. Holiday should be fully healthy to begin next season and, if he is, he'll be a fixture in the Pelicans' starting lineup.
Tyreke Evans spent most of last season coming off the bench until injuries forced him into the starting lineup. While Evans brings a lot of energy and scoring as the sixth man, the contract New Orleans paid him seems to dictate that he should be in the starting lineup. It's very rare that you see bench players earning $ 10 million per year, so it wouldn't surprise anyone if New Orleans looked to move Eric Gordon and get Evans into the lineup.
Speaking of moving Gordon, this is a deal that could work well for both teams. With a glut at SG and an unhappy Eric Gordon, the Pelicans could look to acquire someone who could join Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis in the frontcourt. While Smith's deal is onerous, so is Gordon's. In exchange for taking on the extra year, New Orleans also gets some depth in Singler. Smith would be an ideal fit with Anderson's shooting and Davis' inside presence.
Ryan Anderson had a rough season, missing a good deal of time with injuries and suffering through the emotional loss of his girlfriend, who committed suicide. When he's on the court, Anderson is one of the best stretch fours in the game and can score from anywhere on the floor. Although he's not an ideal four from a rebounding and defensive perspective, that's where Smith would come into play.
Anthony Davis is one of the best young players in the game and is the anchor of this Pelicans team. Davis, in only his second full season, dominated the league to the tune of a double-double and led the league with nearly three blocks per game. Davis only figures to get better as he matures which is a scary proposition for the rest of the league, and he will be in the Pelicans' starting lineup for the foreseeable future.
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