The Pelicans and Anthony Davis were at a stalemate. Davis wanted out and the David Griffin was trying, as management, to convince him to stay. They got the number one pick and thought that may give him one reason not to leave, but his mind was made up and Davis wanted out. The only question was who would provide the best deal for Davis' services. Would it be Boston, Los Angeles or the New York Knicks? Well, the Knicks never really pitched a deal and the Celtics reportedly would not include Jayson Tatum in their offer, so that left the Lakers as the only place he was going to go essentially. And this weekend, the deal finally happened. The Lakers got the guy they coveted and the Lakers sent over point guard Lonzo Ball, guard Josh Hart and forward Brandon Ingram along with three first-round picks (including the Lakers pick this year, which is fourth overall). While plenty are looking at it from what the Lakers gained, the Pelicans actually gained a few things as well.
The Pelicans will draft power forward Zion Williamson with the first overall pick this year. One thing he can do well is finish around the rim, but what we don't know so far is how the rest of his game will translate so far. While Zion is continuing to figure out his game, Lonzo Ball can assist him in finding easy buckets. While Lonzo may not be able to shoot well, what he does have is the gift of passing the basketball. Sure, he sometimes overpasses the ball, but he can get the ball to Zion in position to score easy. And for Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, he gets a point guard that can push tempo like he wants. He also gets a point guard that has the ability to be a great on-ball defender. Pairing him with Jrue Holiday could turn the New Orleans backcourt into one of the best in the NBA defensively .
Ball isn't the only one that can contribute to their starting lineup. The Pelicans have had a hole at the small forward position for some times now. The biggest thing they did to try and fill that position over the last four years has been signing Solomon Hill from the Indiana Pacers to a four-year, $48 million deal back in the summer of 2016. Unfortunately, that deal was one of the worst ones in Pelicans history, as the veteran forward has yet to average double-digits and seems to struggle on the offensive side of the court. In bringing in Ingram, the Pelicans get an immediate upgrade at the small forward position. Ingram can score and although he isn't the greatest at shooting the three, he can create his own offense, which will be needed on this team. Outside of Holiday, there is no one that has the ability to be as potent offensively as he can and he gives them that wing scorer they need.
Ball and Ingram are the headliners in this one, but Josh Hart definitely can add something to the New Orleans team. Taking a look at the Hornets and their depth at guard behind Lonzo Ball and Jrue Holiday, they only have one proven guy in E'Twaun Moore signed for next season. Moore can score and does so in bunches and he can also give the team a lift off the bench as well. While the offense is great, what Moore lacks is defensive skills. He may give effort, but he is not a solid defender and can be taken advantage of . With Hart, the Pelicans not only add depth to their guard rotation, they also add a guy that can be a solid defender as well. Over Lonzo Ball's career, he has had some injury concerns and without Hart, the Pelicans would have to go to Moore to start and that could be harmful to their defensive strategies. Hart being there offers Alvin Gentry a better option than Moore.
The Pelicans may not have had an ideal situation to trade Anthony Davis, but they ended up with a great haul for him. The mystery right now is what they do with the fourth overall pick and the future first-round picks, but they know they do have a formidable team even though they don't have their star player anymore. With the West more open with the Warriors having their injury issues going into the 2019-2020 season, the Pelicans have a great chance to make the playoffs and with the young talent on this team, it will be interesting to see how they mesh and what they become over time. They can thank the Lakers for meeting their needs in this trade. They probably would not have got this type of haul with any other team.