As the trade rumors surrounding a potential Anthony Davis deal ramp up, attention shifts to the New Orleans Pelicans as a team (somewhat) Tuesday night for a different reason. The Pelicans are on the road for an interesting matchup with James Harden and the Houston Rockets in a nationally-televised game.
Unfortunately, New Orleans will be incredibly shorthanded, as Davis, Julius Randle and Nikola Mirotic have all been ruled out. This will mark the third game in a row the trio has missed, leading to Jrue Holiday doing the bulk of the heavy lifting, while Jahlil Okafor has done a nice job filling in.
The Pelicans have dropped three straight games and five of the last six heading into this matchup against the current favorite to take home the NBA’s Most Valuable Player Award. Let’s take a look at the team’s roster and starting lineup, which features plenty of players who are receiving an opportunity to showcase their talents on a national stage.
Pelicans Roster & Starting Lineup vs. Rockets
|Center||Jahlil Okafor||Cheick Diallo|
|Power Forward||Solomon Hill||Wesley Johnson|
|Small Forward||Darius Miller||Kenrich Williams|
|Shooting Guard||Jrue Holiday||Frank Jackson||Ian Clark|
|Point Guard||Elfrid Payton||Tim Frazier|
Along with the aforementioned trio, E’Twaun Moore will also miss this game, leaving the team incredibly thin across the roster. Multiple players who don’t see frequent playing time could be in the mix, as Kenrich Williams saw 18 minutes two games ago and Frank Jackson has played 26 and 27 minutes over the recent stretch.
Holiday, Elfrid Payton and Okafor will likely handle the bulk of the offensive work while Darius Miller will attempt to build off back-to-back double-digit scoring efforts. Even with the current roster, it’s tough to gauge who benefits most with Davis, Randle and Mirotic off the floor.
As Basketball Monster shows, there’s a very small sample size for this situation, but Holiday receives a decent usage bump from 25.1 to 29.3. His scoring per 36 minutes jumps from 20.7 to 31.4 points as well. Okafor’s stat lines in the past two games have stood out, as he posted 18 points with eight rebounds against the Thunder and 24 points with 15 rebounds against the Spurs.
Anthony Davis Trade Talks
The situation with Davis ramped up on Monday when it came to light that he would not sign long-term with the Pelicans. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news of the trade request which came from Davis’ agent, Rich Paul.
“Anthony wants to be traded to a team that allows him a chance to win consistently and compete for a championship,” Paul told ESPN. “Anthony wanted to be honest and clear with his intentions and that’s the reason for informing them of this decision now. That’s in the best interests of both Anthony’s and the organization’s future.”
This immediately led to speculation and rumors of where Davis could land, and nothing in terms of a legitimate offer has been made public yet. The original assumption pointed to the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics as top landing spots, and that’s believed to still be the most likely outcome.