When All-Star starter DeMarcus Cousins ruptured his left Achilles’ tendon it seemed as if the season was over for the New Orleans Pelicans. Previous talks of acquiring a star PG like Kemba Walker, so popular before disaster struck in the Pelicans marque 115-113 victory over the Houston Rockets, died a quick and sudden death. In its place rose discussions of backup Cs and whether to make a big trade or stay the course, hoping for a good player via this year’s first round draft pick that would be included in any big move the Pelicans made.

I myself argued for staying the course, saving that draft pick and only picking up a cheap big at the most.

The powers-that-be in the big easy seemed to have split the difference a big move and standing pat, however, as Yahoo’s Shams Charania explains:

Nikola Mirotic makes an interesting addition to this Pelicans team. While he is a solid enough defender and rebounder at the PF position, his true value lies in his high 3P%. Mirotic is shooting 42.6% from the trey, good for 13th in the NBA, and fourth amongst big men.

Also of note is that he is doing all of this on 6 3PA, so worries about the Montenegro native faltering with a larger offensive load should be assuaged.

The addition of Mirotic now gives the Pelicans a sharpshooting PF to join fellow top 20 distance shooters Darius Miller and E’Twaun Moore. This new trio provides the Pelicans elite shooting at three different positions, and the ability to play all three at the same time without pushing someone out of their natural positions.

Joining this trio are Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. Davis is amongst the most dominant bigs in the NBA today, with dominant rebounding, defense and efficient scoring. He even boasts a surprising 35.2% 3PA, and as such keeps defenders honest. Holiday is not a vaunted deep-ball threat, but is a talented all-around player who contributes in the scoring, rebounding, passing and defending departments.

All of this culminates into one of the scariest opponents in this year’s playoffs. A line up of Miller/Holiday/Moore/Mirotic/Davis will be especially terrifying, as it would be one of the most dominant offensive threat in the league while still being at least acceptable on defense in spurts. Joined by Rajon Rondo‘s elite passing and knack for high-quality playoff performance, as well as quality defense on the part of Solomon Hill once he returns from his injury, the Pelicans should be taken seriously come April.

Additionally, this move has a positive impact on the future. While its never a good thing to lose out on a first round draft pick and a still stellar defender in Tony Allen, swapping an injured bench big with an expensive contract in Omer Asik for a player of Mirotic’s caliber is well worth a that sacrifice.

The New Orleans Pelicans have made their decision. The are not going to give up on the season, and are also not sacrificing their future. If the team can keep its star bigs in the Big Easy, alongside Mirotic and his fellow sharpshooting teammates maintaining their deep-ball excellence, then their future may look even brighter than before. Stay tuned.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.


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