The New Orleans Pelicans have agreed to a trade which will send Omer Asik,Jameer Nelson,Tony Allen,and a 2018 first round pick to Chicago in exchange for Nikola Mirotic and a second round pick. So obviously Nikola Mirotic is
the prize in this deal as the Pelicans look to stay in the playoff hunt and not lose grip of their playoff spot. They currently sit 6th in the West and bringing in Nikola Mirotic will likely keep them at that spot or might even help them climb higher. By no means is Nikola Mirotic the same caliber of player Demarcus Cousins was who is out the rest of the season with an achilles injury but he certainly will help the Pelicans offense and help Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday on the offensive end. Defensively he probably will not help much but I love the fit.
Not that Demarcus Cousins took away from Anthony Davis’s game but Nikola Mirotic in my opinion seems like a better fit. Dell Demps has control of the Nikola Mirotic this season and the next so he can evaluate him over the next 2 seasons to see if he is worth re-signing. This deal will more then likely keep Anthony Davis in a New Orleans uniform for at least the duration of his contract, Alvin Gentry up til now has done a great job of working with the pieces he does have. He does not have all-stars all over the roster but he does have a well collected bunch with no egos and everyone seems to play well of each other. Jrue Holiday has been a solid go to scoring option for the Pelicans, so has E’Twaun Moore.
As long as Anthony Davis is on the roster and active the Pelicans will be sure to put a playoff team out on the floor, can they compete with Golden State,Houston,OKC, and San Antonio in the playoff series? That is probably asking a bit too much but who knows, Anthony Davis has shown he can hold his own and Nikola Mirotic although he has not been able to maximize his potential is a severe mismatch for NBA defenses since he can play pretty much small forward,power-forward, and even center for spurts if needed and is one of the top 3 point shooters in the game. For a guy his size he can put the ball on the floor and create his own shot which is something not a lot of big men can do.
The guy is averaging close to 17 ppg, per 36 minutes he is averaging a whopping 24.3 ppg. I would like to think Alvin Gentry will play him at least 30 minutes a night specially with the loss of such an important offensive option like Demarcus Cousins being lost for them on the offensive end. Can he average 24.3 ppg the rest of the way? That would be reaching but he can certainly average 19-23 ppg if Alvin Gentry gives him the minutes. For the rest of the way he’ll likely be their 3rd option on offense behind Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Jrue Holiday is averaging close to 19 ppg while Anthony Davis is having an MVP caliber season averaging 26 ppg to go along with close to 11 rpg and 2 blocks a night,pretty impressive.
To conclude most would just consider it a patch up move but Dell Demps made out like a bandit on this trade. Nikola Mirotic before coming into the league was looked out as the next big international all-star following in the footsteps of Dirk Nowitzki. He is still only 26 year old and just hitting his prime so he certainly has not peaked just yet, exceptional move by Dell Demps. I like to be a bit open minded because obviously most people would agree they don’t stand a chance at getting to the West Finals this season let alone the NBA Finals but when you have a superstar the caliber of Anthony Davis anything is possible. The Pelicans have a veteran leader in Rajon Rondo who if he can stay healthy can bring that championship pedigree come playoff time and possibly help the Pelicans make a serious run in the playoffs, Mirotic is seamless fit, A+ for the Pelicans on this one.