The New Orleans Pelicans had a disappointing season, and it ended with a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. New Orleans was a game out of 1st place in the Western Conference at the beginning of January. With Zion Williamson’s injury, the Pelicans’ season was derailed as they fell to the 9th seed.
New Orleans was one of the best teams in the league with Williamson healthy. However, Williamson is a very injury-prone player and has not been available consistently for the Pelicans. In the 26 games he played this season, Williamson averaged 26 points per game, along with seven rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 1.1 blocks per game, per Basketball Reference. He shot an efficient 60.8 percent from the field.
When he’s on the floor, Williamson is a dominant force and one of the toughest players to stop. His lack of availability does diminish his value and makes it tough to rely on him. The Pelicans have a solid core even when Williamson is out, with Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum leading the charge. Ingram is an All-Star caliber player, while McCollum is a good lead guard, scorer, and veteran.
They have some young wings on the rise with Trey Murphy III and Herb Jones. New Orleans also has a quality center in the middle with Jonas Valanciunas. His ability to space the floor makes him a good fit in their offense. They have some solid role players as well, like Josh Richardson, Dyson Daniels, Naji Marshall, Jaxson Hayes, and Larry Nance Jr.
The Pelicans have some big decisions to make with the future of the franchise uncertain due to Williamson’s availability.
With that said, here’s the Pelicans’ biggest need New Orleans must address in the 2023 NBA offseason.
Biggest need Pelicans must address in 2023 NBA offseason
This offseason, the Pelicans need to make a move to improve. The need they need to address most is to add a high-quality backup point guard. If New Orleans can add an initiator off the bench, it would do them wonders.
A point guard that can playmake and score would be the ideal target. Jordan Clarkson is a great 6th man and could be an option to pursue in free agency. While Clarkson isn’t an elite playmaker, he’s an elite scorer off the bench and could be the spark they need. Clarkson is averaging 20.8 points per game, along with four rebounds and 4.4 assists. He is shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from three.
They could try to pursue Austin Reaves as well, who has taken a jump in his second season. However, Reaves is a restricted free agent, and the Lakers want to bring him back. New Orleans could look to make a trade and fill this need. A trade with the Charlotte Hornets could be great for New Orleans, as Terry Rozier would be an excellent fit. Rozier would be an elite 6th man for the Pelicans.
With the Hornets, he has been starting alongside LaMelo Ball. However, he was a 6th man in the past when he was with the Boston Celtics. Rozier averaged 21.1 points per game, 4.1 rebounds, and 5.1 assists last season. He shot 41.5 percent from the floor and 32.7 percent from downtown.
While the Pelicans have many questions to address this offseason, they have a good core to work with. The health of Williamson is a big question mark as they move forward, but adding a backup point guard to run the offense when the starters are resting would help them reach the next level.
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