The Phoenix Suns made the leap as a crew this season that the New Orleans Pelicans had been hoping to make.
After going undefeated within the bubble final 12 months, the Suns traded for Chris Paul and went from a 34-39 crew to 51-21, grabbing the second seed within the Western Convention alongside the way in which.
Paul rightfully will get loads of credit score for this, as he was the man who introduced all of it collectively, however the Suns’ position gamers additionally performed an enormous half.
Final offseason we knew the Pelicans wanted so as to add defenders, particularly on the wing and we knew they wanted extra capturing round Zion Williamson. They didn’t get both and ended up again on their sofas watching the playoffs.
What’s even worse is that the position gamers they wanted had been there for the taking however the New Orleans Pelicans picked the mistaken ones. Practically all the Suns’ key position gamers are guys the Pelicans may have had, which is a lesson in learn how to construct a crew.
It’s not all in regards to the stars, you additionally want guys who do the soiled work.
New Orleans Pelicans: Free-agent position gamers the Pels missed on
The Suns ended up signing a number of guys which may have made a distinction within the Pels’ season. The Suns went from the seventeenth ranked protection final 12 months to sixth this 12 months, largely due to some offseason additions. Just like the Pelicans, the Suns already had star scorers however wanted guys to do the little issues on the defensive finish that assist you to win video games.
These are the sorts of gamers the Pelicans might want to discover this offseason in the event that they need to enhance just like the Suns did.
A giant wing who can defend two spots and shoot 3-pointers? Why on this planet would the Pelicans need a kind of? Hindsight is straightforward after all, however I wrote about Crowder a number of occasions as a man the Pelicans ought to pursue. They didn’t and now he’s serving to the Suns attempt to topple the Lakers.
In case you simply have a look at Saric’s numbers you wouldn’t be that impressed, as he solely averaged 8.7 factors and three.7 rebounds. However he has improved defensively and performed some middle and energy ahead this season for the Suns, which gave them loads of lineup flexibility and the power to go small. I wrote about how the Pels ought to attempt to purchase Saric, however I don’t suppose David Griffin reads my stuff.
I really feel like a damaged report, nevertheless it made no sense to me that the Pelicans didn’t pursue Torrey Craig a free agent. He signed a minimal take care of the Bucks within the offseason earlier than being traded to the Suns. Craig is an effective defender who can guard nearly anybody and was simply taking part in key minutes within the Western Convention Finals the season earlier than. Now he’s taking part in key minutes for the Suns and has helped enhance their protection.
These three guys won’t leap off the scorecard however their protection and willingness to do the soiled work are causes the Suns are the place they’re. It wasn’t all Chris Paul, so if the New Orleans Pelicans need to make the same leap they should discover the appropriate position gamers or they are going to be watching the playoffs from residence once more subsequent season.