Pelicans Week 6 Review
This week was weird. Losing two games at the beginning of the week was rough, especially with how we lost them by giving up big leads. Then last night against the Cavs it looked like we were going to get more of the same until our guys started hitting shots. Normally I’d just be glad we got a win, but right now I’m trying to figure out what our problems are right now. And I think I have a few theories.
I think our biggest problem right now is our rotations. Anthony Davis is averaging 37 minutes per game if you remove the outlier (he played 6 minutes against Denver due to an injury a couple weeks ago). But he’s played over 40 minutes in 6 of the 17 games he’s played this season (three of our last 4) and 39 minutes 4 other games this season. I’d be alright with this if we didn’t have enough big men to rotate in and out. But Alvin Gentry is for some reason refusing to play Alexis Ajinca even though he’s been outplaying Omer Asik (we’ll get to him later).
Another huge rotation problem for us right now is Norris Cole playing over Ish Smith. Since Norris Cole returned 3 games ago, Ish Smith’s minutes have dropped from 30 minutes per game to basically nothing (he didn’t play in our game against Cleveland last night). Now normally this wouldn’t be a problem. Tyreke returned to take Ish’s starting spot. Norris is our normal backup point guard. But there’s a problem with this. Norris Cole is shooting 24% from the field, 15% from three, 57% from the line, and is probably now the most unwilling passer in the NBA. He’s killing our possessions at the end of games. He’s missing wide open shots. And he’s not playing any defense. Norris Cole needs to be benched in place of Ish Smith until he can prove that he can play again.
Now onto our biggest problem, Omer Asik playing meaningful minutes on our team.
This offseason I was one of the biggest defenders of Asik’s huge contract. Every Pelicans fan knew AD needed him to guard the bigger centers. But that all changed when the small ball lineups attacked.
Now every team is playing small ball, and the best way for us to stop them is the play AD at center, Ryan Anderson at PF, and then fill in the spots on the wing. But instead of doing that, Gentry is playing Omer Asik at center, even though Asik may be the worst center in the NBA so far this season.
He’s currently shooting 33% at the rim (31% from the field), has a total of 2 assists this season, and just completely kills our offense when he steps onto the court (our offensive rating with him on the floor is 79. Seriously. Seventy freaking nine. For reference, it’s 109 when AD is on the floor, 112 with Reke on the floor, and it’s even been 106 when his backup Alexis Ajinca was on the floor). Now normally this wouldn’t bother me, because Asik is a great rebounder and defensive player. Or so we thought. With a negative defensive plus minus, total of 4 rebounds per game, and a total rebounding percentage that has dropped by 5%, Omer Asik has quickly became the most unusable, over paid players in NBA history. And it’s not that Asik can’t play anymore. He didn’t just suddenly decline. It’s been obvious for years that he doesn’t care about basketball. Asik is like that kid everyone knew in high school who was forced to play sports since “they were so good and they were gunna make their family money” but actually just wanted to be a normal kid. Asik got his huge pay check, and now he can right the bench for the rest of his career. But instead of realizing that Asik isn’t playing well, Alvin Gentry just keeps playing him. Now I don’t know what Alexis Ajinca did to Alvin Gentry, but he needs to apologize real quick, because I’m tired of watching Omer Asik play night in and night out.
We looked great against the Cavs last night after the first quarter. We shut down the Cavs in overtime, and everyone on the Cavs outside of Lebron in the fourth. Our team looks amazing at times, and everyone gets hyped up thinking we’re back. But if we don’t start playing like that elite team that we all see every few games, then our team might actually be a lottery team this year. And that would devastate us all.