By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on July 16, 2014
The New Orleans Pelicans have the talent to make a legitimate run at the playoffs next season, but a healthy team will be needed to do that. With the 2014 NBA Draft in the past and the offseason getting underway, let's take a look at five Summer League standouts so far for coach Monty Williams and his Bayou Birds.
Pelicans fans have been anticipating the development of Jeff Withey. He was an All-American at Kansas before joining New Orleans as a rookie in 2013 via a post-draft trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. Withey is showing off his defensive ability so far at the NBA Summer League with 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks (sixth in the league), one steal, and seven points per game on top of that.
Courtney Fells is a current member of the Bucaneros de La Guairá, a professional basketball team in Venezuela. However, he has decided to take his talents to the Las Vegas Summer League to join the Pelicans. He has been quite a factor through three contests, averaging 16.7 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. He played D-League ball last year with the Austin Toros, the San Antonio Spurs' affiliate.
The SEC Defensive Player of the Year and Pete Newell Big Man Award winner surprisingly went undrafted this year. The former five-star recruit is looking good and hoping to add a defensive presence to the Pelicans' roster when the new season gets underway. Patric Young is averaging 9.7 points, eight rebounds, and a block with New Orleans' Summer League team.
DeQuan Jones played in the D-League last year for the Reno Bighorns after having played for the Orlando Magic in 2012. In two games played in the Las Vegas Summer League, Jones is averaging 17 points per game, along with 2.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.5 steals.
The former Louisville standout was drafted in the second round of this year's draft by the Philadelphia 76ers and traded to New Orleans for rights to Pierre Jackson. Russ Smith, a Consensus All-American in 2014, is looking great for the Pels so far, averaging 13.3 points, six rebounds, 7.7 assists and two steals. Smith has outstanding upside as an NBA point guard, and the Pelicans look to have found a nice little complement to Jrue Holiday.
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