With the 2020 NBA Draft a week away, one rumor is picking up steam around the New Orleans Pelicans and the Ball family.
Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports was wondering about the options that the Golden State Warriors have with their No. 2 draft pick. One of his ideas had the Pelicans and Warriors agreeing to a trade sending the second overall pick and Andrew Wiggins to New Orleans with veteran guard Jrue Holiday heading to Golden State.
This could potential land LaMelo Ball in New Orleans. Obviously that is a question mark as he could very easily go with the No. 1 pick. If he does fall to No. 2 and this trade happens, though, we could see him reunited with his brother, Lonzo Ball.
Not only that, but Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram are there as well.
The biggest issue could be Andrew Wiggins. A solid player, but he has not really put it all together yet—and you could argue that he would not fit well in New Orleans. Meanwhile, his contract could mess things up a little bit. He’s set to make more than $90 million over the next three years—seriously. That might handcuff New Orleans a little bit.
However, if they could find a way to make it work, think about those names I mentioned. The Ball brothers, Williamson, and Ingram. That would lead to a lot of lobs and opposing defenses having absolute fits.
Let’s weigh the pros and cons here.
LaMelo Ball has unlimited potential. Massive things are expected from him. He’s seen as a much better scorer than his older brother. Sure he does not have the same defensive prowess, but there is definitely room for growth there and he can do it all on the offensive side.
The older of the two is an elite defender and great playmaker who showed massive improvement in his 3-point shooting last year. Another leap forward could mean big things.
Ingram took a huge step last year (winning Most Improved Player) and has become an all-around threat. He has struggled defensively, but his athleticism helps him make some plays. He’s a good shooter who has mastered the midrange and can drive at will.
Then there’s Williamson. He looked every bit as good as advertised when he was healthy. We saw someone dominating down low like Shaq used to. That might sound like an exaggeration, but go look at what he did to the likes of Steven Adams (who many consider the strongest player in the league). Williamson made him look like a child.
The rookie looked good defensively and on the glass. He was elite at scoring around the rim though. With any sort of outside game he will be ridiculously hard to stop. Throw in two Ball brothers lobbing it to him and things will get fun.
New Orleans also has JJ Redick as a 3-point threat to stretch the floor. Then there is exciting talent in Jaxson Hayes, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, and Josh Hart. Although he has not played yet, Marcos Louzada Silva (Didi) is a very intriguing prospect as well.
The future would be insanely bright.
However, now you are relying entirely on young talent. Talent that still needs to grow (Lonzo Ball, Alexander-Walker, Hayes) or prove they can stay healthy (Williamson), or prove 2020 wasn’t a fluke (Ingram). Meanwhile, you need to hope that LaMelo Ball can put it together in the NBA.
If not, you just lost one of the best defenders and most underrated players in the NBA in Holiday for potential that might not blossom.
Fans of the Pelicans have been hearing about potential for a long time. Outside of those Chris Paul years, New Orleans is usually “right around the corner” from being contenders. They are told they need another piece, or have to wait for their talent to grow—but then they’ll be there.
It has to get tiring being told to “be patient.” This one might be worth, it though.
That is certainly still a lineup that could push for a playoff spot. It’s also one that could show tons of growing pains though as they all figure out how to play together and continue improving on their games.
Before you slander Holiday by the way, stop it. He is one of the best defenders in basketball. He has good playmaking skills and can create his own shot. Holiday is 100 percent a great piece to have if you have championship aspirations.
No, I’m not saying he is the guy. But Holiday makes everyone better and makes their jobs easier. Perfect for a young team like New Orleans.
He is also a perfect trade piece, though. There is no reason to believe you can’t get the second overall pick for Holiday if you are also eating that miserable Wiggins contract.
Losing Holiday would be a step back. Ball has the potential to make you forget about that though. His older brother can pick up the slack defensively as well.
If you’re a New Orleans fan and this actually happens, you might hate to hear this—but be patient.
Things might be a little bumpy at first. Within a year or two this could be a legitimate championship contending team.
Some might worry about the LaVar Ball factor. That’s a non-issue though. He has been much more subdued lately and with Lonzo already on the team it’s not like that is not a potential factor in the first place.
Losing Holiday is not fun. Honestly no hate but neither is getting that terrible Wiggins contract on your books.
Holiday is 30 and has two years left on his deal (the last year is a player option) though. There is a strong chance the Pelicans would not even retain him after that. Why not get the guard to replace him now and start building the unit that could make you contenders for the next 10 years?
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