NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - With the departure of Jrue Holiday goes the last big piece of Dell Demps and Alvin Gentry Pelicans era.
In his place, a pair of veterans that will likely start and bring the team the backbone that vice president David Griffin says they were missing in the bubble.
The most direct replacement would be Eric Bledsoe, who, like Holiday, brings a defensive presence, and just as important, playoff experience to a roster that’s still very young.
“He’s a two-way player that plays both ends with incredible zeal. He’s a guy, who, from a competitive standpoint, represents everything that we want to be about,” said David Griffin.
The same was said about incoming center Steven Adams, who Griffin admits he’s been fascinated with ever since they met during the draft process back in 2013.
“Steven’s as selfless a teammate and as ferocious of a competitor as there is in the league. We talked about today actually, some of the staff, Steven as a switch that he flips when he walks between the lines, and he becomes a completely different person,” said Griffin.
That phrase, completely different person, could also describe the role of Brandon Ingram. Equipped with a new 158 million dollar contract, the Pelicans are expecting the 23-year old to not only continue growing his game, but also become more of the leader this team lacked at times a year ago.
“When we left the bubble, Brandon shared very plainly with Trajan (Langdon) and I that he doesn’t intend to miss the playoffs again in his career, and he was taking a position of leadership in this franchise. And that was very powerful for us,” said Griffin.
Similar to last year, the Pelicans are considered a team on the fringe of making the playoffs, with a ton of competition in a tough Western Conference. Growth will be key, but the good thing about having such a young roster is there’s a TON of upside.
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