• The Pelicans got good returns from their first season under the leadership of Willie Green and were aggressive in adding to their roster. Another offseason for the players to learn Green’s systems, plus a full training camp for CJ McCollum plus the growth of the team’s youngsters was supposed to set the Pelicans up for success. It all came crashing down as injury after injury was just too much to overcome in a stacked Western Conference.

    How’d It Go?

    Things started off according to plan. The Pelicans looked to be the new team to be reckoned with in the West, leaning on their dynamic scorers and bevy of talent to race out to a big start. New Orleans began the season 18-8 and peaked with a record of 23-12. They pounded opponents with a tremendous offense and surprisingly competent defense, led by the scoring talents of Zion Williamson. Unfortunately for the Pelicans it would be all downhill from there as key players kept exiting the lineup.

    Brandon Ingram would miss 29 games with a mysterious toe injury and needed time to ramp back up after returning. Zion Williamson was hitting his stride but wound up missing the final 45 games of the season with a hamstring strain, and public sentiment seemed to turn when footage of him dunking during warmups for the Play-In game found its way to social media. Injuries have been the dominant story of Williamson’s career so far, which is a shame considering the immensity of his unique talent. While Zion and Ingram, the team’s two top scorers, were out for extended periods of time, players like CJ McCollum and Herb Jones would miss sporadic games, and McCollum played through major injury down the stretch. Even second-unit contributors like Larry Nance Jr. and Jose Alvarado were unable to stay healthy. The Pelicans had a lot of bad luck last season, but the few glimpses of a full version of the team were promising.

    One thing that all those injuries did was allow for secondary contributors to jump into larger roles. Trey Murphy was a smashing success this season, proving himself to be more than a 3-and-D guy who sits in the corner and waits for his turn. Alvarado continued his rise and is a major part of the Pelicans’ future as a tone-setter for the culture. Rookie Dyson Daniels showcased some of his alluring upside when given the opportunity, with his length and vision giving the team a real playmaking element.

    Despite some impressive highs, including a big run from Ingram down the home stretch of the year, the Pelicans simply wore down and were unable to qualify for the playoffs. Their huge lead in the standings crumbled as the roster did, and they were bounced in the first Play-In game by the upstart Thunder. It was a fitting end to the season in the big picture — for all the promise that the Pelicans have, there are a number of other teams coming out of their own rebuilds that are also ready to make some noise.


    It’s hard to read too much into the stats for this team, as we rarely saw them at their best. Long-term absences to key offensive players like Williamson and Ingram mean the numbers are full of noise, but it’s clear that Green might have something cooking here if this team can finally stay healthy. The Pelicans managed to finish sixth in defensive rating, offsetting a disappointing 20th place in offensive rating, likely due to missing their top scorers for massive swaths of time.

    Other than that, the Pelicans were in the middle of the pack around the stat sheet. Turnover percentage, pace, 3-point efficiency (though they were second-last in attempts) — it all tells the story of a team that was able to tread water by being baseline solid in many facets of the game. Remember, this was a team that was sitting in first place before losing its key players.

    Green’s even keel approach was tested at times, especially during a 10-game losing streak, but the Pelicans were able to rally with a 10-3 finish to lock up a Play-In spot after some major bumps in the road. Credit goes to Green for changing up the offense down the stretch, leaning on Brandon Ingram more as a playmaker and returning CJ McCollum to an off-ball role as he played through a thumb injury. It led to the best run of Ingram’s career and a postseason berth. After the Pels started 3-16 and turned it around in his first season, Green once again displayed the ability to take a tough situation, regroup and come out stronger on the other side.

    That’s not to say Green was perfect — the Pels seemed to underperform in clutch situations, and his insistence on going small rather than playing Jonas Valanciunas led to some problems on the glass in late-game scenarios. The team should’ve done a better job of getting more 3-point attempts, though you can argue this will be easier when Zion Williamson is a constant rim threat and Ingram is on the floor enough to clean up in the mid-range. All in all, Green is learning as he goes, but the early returns should leave Pelicans fans optimistic about where this team could go with a little bit of luck.

    The Players

    Zion Williamson
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 29 29 33.0 9.8 16.2 60.8 6.1 8.6 71.4 0.2 0.7 36.8 26.0 7.0 4.6 1.1 0.6 3.4
    21-22 NO 0 0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
    20-21 NO 61 61 33.2 10.4 17.0 61.1 6.0 8.7 69.8 0.2 0.6 29.4 27.0 7.2 3.7 0.9 0.6 2.7

    ADP: 28/36 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 228/255 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 40/68 (8/9-cat)

    The big knocks on Williamson from a fantasy perspective have been his poor free throw shooting and total aversion to defensive stats. That’s obviously not his focus, but it was an encouraging sign to see him step up on opening night with four steals and a 3-for-4 effort at the charity stripe to go along with the usual goodies. Williamson was able to establish himself as a unique terror in the league, a force of nature who really couldn’t be handled once he got even a step to generate speed. The sample size wasn’t massive but we saw real evidence of him becoming a more well-rounded player, and his dynamic presence had the Pelicans sitting atop the standings for a while.

    Unfortunately, the injury bug caught Zion again, and he would miss the final 46 games (including the Play-In) because of a hamstring strain. As has become tradition, the Pelicans were never able to give a concrete timeline for his return — remember he missed all of last season with a foot injury after David Griffin mused that Williamson should be ready for opening night. First he was ruled out for the next game, then set to be evaluated three weeks later. Those came and went, and another evaluation was scheduled for two weeks later. An aggravation during rehab pushed his evaluation back another two weeks, at which point most fantasy managers decided to cut the cord. We got some more non-updates after that but Williamson would never return to the court for competitive action.

    Williamson finished .500 or better from the field in 25 of his 29 appearances. He was able to post career-best numbers in assists, steals and free throw percentage. He just wasn’t around long enough to reward fantasy managers despite flashes of tangible improvement.

    Brandon Ingram
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 45 45 34.2 9.0 18.6 48.4 5.3 6.0 88.2 1.4 3.6 39.0 24.7 5.5 5.8 0.7 0.4 3.3
    21-22 NO 55 55 34.0 8.2 17.9 46.1 4.8 5.9 82.6 1.3 4.1 32.7 22.7 5.8 5.6 0.6 0.5 2.7
    20-21 NO 61 61 34.3 8.4 18.0 46.6 4.6 5.2 87.8 2.3 6.1 38.1 23.8 4.9 4.9 0.7 0.6 2.5

    ADP: 43/51 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 127/159 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 39/62 (8/9-cat)

    Ingram’s season was defined by injury. He was fantastic in the first two games of the year but got hurt in the third, setting the tone for the year to come. He returned with a good run of games after missing four with a concussion and the big trouble came in the form of a left toe injury that was initially deemed a sprain, then a contusion. The Pelicans never said anything about what the exact injury was or what the timeline was like, but when the dust settled Ingram had missed 29 straight contests. Luckily for fantasy managers who were able to survive that absence, Ingram was terrific upon returning to the floor.

    A lot of that was driven by Willie Green putting the ball in Ingram’s hands more. From opening night to the end of February (27 games), Ingram averaged 22.9 points and 4.7 assists on .459 shooting. From March 1 to the end of the season (18 games), Ingram averaged 27.4 points and 7.4 assists on .518 from the field. It was a massive leap that pushed Ingram up to top-50 value (9-cat) over the last month of the season, and while some of those numbers are due to come down it’s encouraging to see that he can handle a different role that seems to bring the best out of him. He has seen a sharp decrease in his 3-pointers over the last two seasons, and while the Pelicans could stand to take more as a team it is serving Ingram well to work in the mid-range, whether that’s hunting for his own shots or distributing to his teammates. Fantasy managers can easily make up an extra 3-pointer or two per game across a roster if Ingram is going to become a real assists threat while scoring at a strong clip.

    CJ McCollum
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 75 75 35.2 7.8 17.9 43.7 2.4 3.2 76.9 2.8 7.2 38.9 20.9 4.4 5.7 0.9 0.5 2.4
    21-22 NO 61 61 35.0 8.8 19.0 46.1 1.9 2.8 68.2 3.0 7.7 39.0 22.5 4.4 5.1 1.1 0.4 2.1
    20-21 POR 46 46 34.1 8.6 18.8 45.7 2.3 2.9 81.1 3.6 8.9 39.9 23.1 4.0 4.7 0.9 0.5 1.3

    ADP: 51/51 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 39/55 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 66/87 (8/9-cat)

    McCollum was dynamite in his first stint with the Pelicans after last season’s trade deadline, but expectations were tempered a bit coming into this season. He was going to cool off a bit and would also have to contend with Zion Williamson’s return, and his new role as a starting point guard would shift some of the onus from getting buckets onto making sure all of his teammates were eating up as well. McCollum wasn’t exactly the best playmaker in the league but he was able to handle the work for the most part. The reason he fell short of ADP (beyond the market being a shade too aggressive to begin with) is because his field goal percentage took a dive, finishing as the third-worst mark of his career and lowest since he became a full-time starter. On the plus side, McCollum’s free throws rebounded from an uncharacteristically poor season, but shooting below league average on nearly 18 shots a night is not going to be undone by a return to slightly above average free throw numbers. The Lehigh alum also battled shoulder and thumb injuries, which likely played a part in his wayward shooting. The thumb required offseason surgery, the shoulder will not.

    One wrinkle that did play out over the course of the season — McCollum reverted to more of an off-ball role down the stretch, with the Pelicans finding some serious success by letting Brandon Ingram distribute the ball. McCollum was eager to take on a PG opportunity after being stuck next to Damian Lillard for years, so we’ll see if he’s willing to adjust again.

    Jonas Valanciunas
    C, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 79 79 24.9 5.6 10.3 54.7 2.3 2.8 82.6 0.5 1.4 34.9 14.1 10.2 1.8 0.3 0.7 2.0
    21-22 NO 74 74 30.3 6.9 12.7 54.4 3.2 3.9 82.0 0.8 2.1 36.1 17.8 11.4 2.6 0.6 0.8 2.4
    20-21 MEM 62 61 28.3 7.1 12.0 59.2 2.5 3.3 77.3 0.3 0.9 36.8 17.1 12.5 1.8 0.6 0.9 1.6

    ADP: 59/54 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 68/83 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 110/120 (8/9-cat)

    A step back from Valanciunas was always in the cards, but this was drastic. He feasted last season, owning the paint with Zion Williamson out of the lineup. A return there was going to change JV’s role and playing time, but what wasn’t predictable was the extent to which the Pelicans leaned away from him, even after Williamson was injured again. In fact, by month, Valanciunas’ highest playing time (26.3 mpg) came in six October games, when Williamson was in the lineup. A drop to around 25 minutes a night produced the fourth-lowest playing time of Valanciunas’ career, and directly led to drops in scoring, rebounds and steals that sent him tumbling down the rankings. He was still a consistent player in terms of his availability and per-minute production, but didn’t get the opportunity to seriously push for a middle-round season. It’s unclear if Valanciunas will ever get that chance again in New Orleans.

    Herbert Jones
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 66 66 29.6 3.6 7.6 46.9 1.9 2.4 76.4 0.8 2.5 33.5 9.8 4.1 2.5 1.6 0.6 1.3
    21-22 NO 78 69 29.9 3.5 7.4 47.6 1.8 2.1 84.0 0.7 2.2 33.7 9.5 3.8 2.1 1.7 0.8 1.3

    ADP: 123/91 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 117/105 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 120/103 (8/9-cat)

    Jones was coming off a fabulous rookie season that saw him establish himself as one of the league’s best defenders, with consistent fantasy value buoyed by a nightly handful of defensive counters. His sophomore effort wasn’t quite as strong, with numbers that checked in as marginally worse almost across the board. It’s disappointing since the return of Zion Williamson wasn’t necessarily supposed to impact Jones’ defensive output, even if less offense was always going to be in the cards. Jones slid down the rankings by a couple of rounds as he was playing with thin margins; down near the top-100 mark, not much separates players from one another. The defensive stopper ended up dropped in a lot of spots and unfortunately his lack of clear progress meant that he was not going to hold appeal across every head-to-head roster build. The final numbers were all good, if a bit of a letdown, but Jones simply wasn’t doing enough to help you unless you needed steals in a hurry.

    Trey Murphy III
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 79 65 31.0 4.9 10.1 48.4 2.2 2.4 90.5 2.6 6.3 40.6 14.5 3.6 1.4 1.1 0.5 0.8
    21-22 NO 61 1 13.7 1.7 4.3 39.0 0.7 0.8 88.0 1.1 3.0 38.3 5.2 2.3 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.2

    ADP: 140/160 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 41/24 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 76/45 (8/9-cat)

    Murphy was far and away the team’s most consistent fantasy option this year. He wasn’t all that involved as a rookie but was ready for his shot, and ended up thrust into a huge role as injuries created a big void in the team’s offensive pecking order. Even before that, Murphy put himself on the map with a fantastic start to the season. He delivered 16 points, nine rebounds and four triples on opening night and went a perfect 8-for-8 for 22 points in the fourth game of the year, quickly earning his way onto fantasy rosters. Although Murphy was never going to become a 20-point per game guy overnight, managers who held on were rewarded with quality lines night after night after night.

    The backbone of Murphy’s fantasy value was his efficiency; any volume 3-point shooter who can actually boost your field goal percentage is going to end up in the top-100. Mix in respectable defensive output, elite free throw marks and solid scoring and you’ve got a bit of a breakout star. Murphy might’ve made his way back to waivers in a few leagues once Brandon Ingram returned to the lineup, but that was a grave error. He doesn’t tend to wow you unless he’s on a heater, but Murphy in cruise control was enough to help any fantasy roster.

    Larry Nance Jr.
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 65 1 21.2 2.9 4.7 61.0 0.8 1.2 69.6 0.2 0.6 33.3 6.8 5.4 1.8 0.9 0.6 0.6
    21-22 NO 45 11 22.6 2.8 5.3 52.5 0.9 1.3 70.2 0.5 1.5 32.4 7.0 5.4 1.8 0.9 0.4 0.8
    20-21 CLE 35 27 31.2 3.7 7.8 47.1 0.9 1.4 61.2 1.2 3.3 36.0 9.3 6.7 3.1 1.7 0.5 1.6

    ADP: 141/137 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 173/141 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 172/138 (8/9-cat)

    Another year of Nance sneaking into the fantasy picture, and another year of injuries keeping Nance from really breaking through. Nance was able to avoid any long-term issues but missed a handful of games at a time, and was generally unable to capitalize on a couple of key things that broke in his favor: Zion Williamson got hurt for the final 45 games and the Pelicans never leaned heavily on Jonas Valanciunas. Nance would finish with the second-lowest playing time of his career and although the per-minute numbers were good and boosted by a career-high shooting percentage, head-to-head managers in standard leagues rarely had to consider him a must-play. Unless the depth chart changes in New Orleans, Nance may struggle to reach his previous middle-round heights, but he is a dependably solid option who can fit nicely into some specific roster builds.

    Jose Alvarado
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 61 10 21.5 3.3 8.0 41.1 1.1 1.3 81.2 1.4 4.0 33.6 9.0 2.3 3.0 1.1 0.2 1.3
    21-22 NO 53 1 15.3 2.4 5.3 44.3 0.7 1.0 70.6 0.6 2.0 29.6 6.0 1.8 2.9 1.3 0.1 0.7

    ADP: 140/140 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 193/202 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 196/218 (8/9-cat)

    Alvarado took New Orleans by storm last year, becoming an immediate fan favorite thanks to his endless supply of grit and willingness to step to any challenge. He’s among the best on-ball defenders in the league and takes a particular joy in going toe to toe with his cover. He wouldn’t sneak up on anyone this year and was a vital part of the rotation thanks to his defensive effort. The Pelicans can always count on max effort from Alvarado, and that trait makes him a major part of the culture. Fantasy-wise, Alvarado was unable to take much of a step forward. His efficiency and steals declined, though there was notable improvement in his 3-point shooting. At the end of the day, Alvarado’s on-court impact outweighed his fantasy appeal, and he was mostly just a steals specialist who was a drag in field goal percentage. He isn’t far away from holding universal appeal but Alvarado didn’t get there, and his season ended on a sour note as he missed the last 21 contests (including the Play-In) with a stress reaction in his right tibia.

    Josh Richardson
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 65 10 23.5 3.7 8.5 43.1 1.1 1.2 85.2 1.6 4.5 36.5 10.1 2.7 2.7 1.1 0.3 1.3
    21-22 SA 64 7 24.6 3.6 8.2 43.7 1.5 1.7 88.7 1.5 3.7 41.0 10.1 2.8 1.8 0.9 0.5 1.0
    20-21 DAL 58 56 30.5 4.5 10.4 42.9 1.7 1.9 91.7 1.5 4.5 33.1 12.1 3.3 2.6 1.1 0.4 1.3

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 162/163 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 167/164 (8/9-cat)

    Richardson was able to conjure up a reasonably productive fantasy campaign, though the bulk of his value came prior to his trade from the Spurs. Devin Vassell’s knee surgery left San Antonio thin on wings, and Richardson was able to rise to the occasion for a young, shorthanded team. The Spurs were also thrilled that it boosted his trade value, surely. He scratched out a couple weeks of top-60 value around the new year and then hit the injury report before getting dealt to the Pelicans. Richardson had a hot start to his New Orleans tenure but fell by the wayside a bit after, though he still came through with just enough to be a nightly streaming consideration for managers in need of steals and 3-pointers. It wasn’t an overwhelming campaign but this was the best Richardson has looked since his Miami days.

    Naji Marshall
    SF, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 77 21 23.3 3.2 7.4 43.3 1.8 2.3 78.9 0.9 2.8 30.3 9.1 3.6 2.5 0.7 0.2 1.3
    21-22 NO 54 2 13.0 1.9 4.7 39.8 1.3 1.7 78.9 0.4 1.9 20.8 5.4 2.5 1.0 0.6 0.1 0.8
    20-21 NO 31 9 21.4 2.5 6.3 38.8 1.6 2.4 69.9 0.8 2.5 32.5 7.4 4.6 2.6 0.8 0.3 1.0

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 183/196 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 247/263 (8/9-cat)

    Marshall bounced back wonderfully after a rough second season, and is a living testament to the notion that the best ability is availability. Can Marshall defend opposing wings? Sure. Can he handle the ball? A little bit, yeah. Can he shoot 3-pointers? Not particularly well, but he tries. The thing is that Marshall contributed in a variety of ways, and the seas parted for him as injuries to Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones and Larry Nance Jr. throughout the season blew huge holes in the rotation. Marshall was the sort of fantasy option that emerges from the cloud of dust with modest numbers, but he helped out a ton in deeper leagues and was able to play his way into a nice little rhythm given the extent of the injuries above him on the depth chart. He was droppable once Ingram returned and found his extra gear, but before that Marshall was able to grind out decent stats. We wouldn’t expect a repeat going forward but he was a key rotation option this season.

    Dyson Daniels
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 59 11 17.7 1.5 3.5 41.8 0.4 0.7 65.0 0.5 1.5 31.4 3.8 3.2 2.3 0.7 0.2 1.0

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 276/284 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 308/326 (8/9-cat)

    The Pels chose Daniels with the eighth pick in the draft, adding a dynamic backcourt presence who stands out with his defense and passing abilities. A fairly deep guard depth chart kept Daniels from making an immediate impact, but he was able to squeak his way into the rotation and took off in the winter, with the team’s injuries allowing him to ramp up to 30-plus minutes a night for a good run of games in January. In that time, Daniels’ long-term upside was on display with a few well-rounded lines (11-7-6 with two steals and a block, 4-3-4 with four steals) but he generally took enough of a back seat that managers couldn’t treat him as more than a specialist option. An ankle sprain knocked him out of 12 games after that, and it was a struggle to get back into big minutes after that. Fantasy managers should take some solace in the fact that Daniels looks like a player who can become a favorite of the coaching staff, and that he can get quality stats up without needing to score a ton. It’s a profile that can sneak up on a lot of people if things round out as they should.

    Willy Hernangomez
    C, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 37 2 12.4 2.4 4.6 52.7 2.2 2.8 77.9 0.1 0.3 27.3 7.1 4.9 0.9 0.5 0.4 1.1
    21-22 NO 48 7 17.1 3.5 6.6 52.8 2.2 2.9 77.0 0.1 0.3 33.3 9.3 6.9 1.3 0.4 0.4 1.0
    20-21 NO 46 11 17.8 3.1 5.6 55.6 1.3 1.9 67.0 0.0 0.2 10.0 7.5 7.0 1.1 0.5 0.5 0.7

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 329/335 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 294/304 (8/9-cat)

    Hernangomez gives the Pelicans some great situational solutions, but it was another season where he couldn’t be counted on for much unless Jonas Valanciunas was out of the picture. Willie Green’s penchant for small ball took things ever further away from Hernangomez’s neighborhood, but the big man was still able to churn out a few interesting lines along the way. We’re a long way from the days when Hernangomez looked like part of the Knicks core, but he’s established himself as an NBA-caliber big even if he doesn’t see the floor every night.

    Jaxson Hayes
    C, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 47 2 13.0 1.8 3.3 55.1 1.2 1.8 69.9 0.1 0.6 10.3 5.0 2.8 0.7 0.4 0.4 0.7
    21-22 NO 69 27 20.0 3.5 5.7 62.2 2.1 2.7 76.3 0.3 0.8 34.5 9.4 4.5 0.6 0.5 0.8 0.8
    20-21 NO 59 3 16.0 2.9 4.6 62.6 1.5 2.0 77.1 0.1 0.2 42.9 7.4 4.2 0.5 0.4 0.6 0.7

    ADP: 141/160 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 339/338 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 371/369 (8/9-cat)

    Hayes closed the 2021-22 season with top-130 value in the final month after rising into the starting lineup. The return of a healthy Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram to start the year, plus a healthy Larry Nance Jr., meant that Hayes had no shot of building on that right away, and he was unable to make many waves over the course of the campaign. Hayes finished with career-lows in minutes, appearances and blocks, with a collapse in his 3-point shooting particularly concerning for a player who may be forced to work outside the paint on offense.

    Kira Lewis Jr.
    PG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 25 0 9.4 1.6 3.5 45.5 0.8 0.9 86.4 0.6 1.4 44.1 4.6 1.3 0.9 0.4 0.1 0.4
    21-22 NO 24 14.1 2.5 6.1 40.4 0.4 0.5 83.3 0.5 2.4 22.4 5.9 1.6 2.0 0.5 0.0 1.1
    20-21 NO 53 16.6 2.4 6.2 38.1 0.8 0.9 83.3 0.7 2.2 33.1 6.2 1.3 2.3 0.7 0.2 0.6

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 406/397 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 406/390 (8/9-cat)

    Lewis suffered a torn right ACL in December of 2021, with the timing of the injury preventing him from being ready for training camp. He was able to return to G League work in the fall and made his season debut in December, but the Pelicans have remade the roster since he got hurt, with big contributions from Jose Alvarado and the addition of CJ McCollum limiting his pathway to minutes. Lewis was able to show flashes of his old trademark speed and perhaps a full offseason can help get his career back on track. The depth chart isn’t working in his favor but Lewis can bring a dynamic element to the floor if he’s all the way back to pre-injury form.

    Garrett Temple
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 25 0 6.5 0.7 1.8 40.0 0.1 0.2 75.0 0.4 1.0 42.3 2.0 0.7 0.5 0.4 0.1 0.2
    21-22 NO 58 16 18.5 1.9 4.9 38.1 0.5 0.7 68.3 1.0 3.1 31.8 5.2 2.4 1.3 0.7 0.4 0.7
    20-21 CHI 55 24 27.3 2.8 6.8 41.2 0.7 0.9 80.0 1.2 3.6 33.3 7.6 2.9 2.2 0.8 0.5 1.0

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 439/424 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 477/456 (8/9-cat)

    Temple is a valued voice in the locker room but that was the extent of his impact this year. Despite injuries to the team’s top two forwards, Temple was unable to crack the rotation and ended up with the second-lowest playing time of his lengthy career.

    Dereon Seabron
    SG, New Orleans Pelicans
    22-23 NO 5 0 2.4 0.4 1.0 40.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.8 0.2 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

    ADP: N/A/N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 531/526 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 531/525 (8/9-cat)

    Seabron went undrafted out of NC State and was signed to a two-way deal. He was waived in late April but rejoined the team two days later on another two-way contract. The rookie only made five appearances and had nothing to offer for fantasy managers.

    Fantasy Star

    It would be tempting to say that Trey Murhpy gets this award by default given the injuries to Zion and Ingram, but that undersells the fantastic season that Murphy was able to put together as a sophomore. It was easy to be enamored by Murphy’s big shooting nights but he was able to produce usable lines even when he wasn’t on a heater, which isn’t always the case with perimeter wings.

    It was hard to see at times because Murphy buoyed his value with efficient shooting, and not always on huge volume. His longest run of games shooting under .500 from the field was only seven, which is wild for a player who took over 60 percent of his shots from beyond the 3-point line. Murphy wasn’t picking up scraps either, as he was thrust into a primary offensive role during Ingram’s absence. Some fantasy GMs might’ve been taking him for granted, but he was a consistent middle-round option pretty much all year long. Murphy proved that he has just as much fantasy upside as his flashier teammates, who bring flaws to the table despite their impressive talents.

    Fantasy Letdown

    Unfortunately, this has to go to Zion Williamson. The cruelty of it is that Williamson was making real strides in his areas of weakness, proving to be a more well-rounded player than he’s been in the past. With Williamson you know that he’s going to score and rebound like a maniac, and provide a potentially category-winning boost in field goal percentage, but he’s been unable to provide notable production across the rest of the box. That started to change this past season but an injury derailed his season — again.

    To make matters worse, the Pelicans’ ongoing indefinite timeline for his return left a lot of managers on the hook. Without any clarity as to his progress, Williamson burned a hole in rosters and IL spots for over half of the season, with optimistic GMs hanging onto him and letting other valuable pickups pass by. Once it could be assumed that Williamson wouldn’t return, it was too late for a lot of people. You can’t exactly fault Williamson for getting hurt, but it is frustrating that he hasn’t been able to really get off the ground.

    One to Watch

    The Pelicans are loaded with fun, talented players, many of them still developing. There’s a few directions to take this, with Trey Murphy and Zion Williamson chief among them. Heck, even Jose Alvarado is One to Watch from a pure entertainment perspective.

    But we’ll bypass all those deserving names to shine some light on Dyson Daniels, who just completed his first season in the league. New Orleans’ depth and the general urgency that they had to play with in order to charge for the playoffs meant that Daniels didn’t get a ton of run, but he’s a long guard with great playmaking chops. He’s the kind of versatile option that can fit next to a number of different player types and would be a near-ideal guard for the modern game if he pans out. The Pelicans’ offensive numbers weren’t quite as impressive as you’d hope, and although injuries played a huge role in that it’s possible that getting a conductor like Daniels more involved will be a tide that lifts all boats. Add in his defensive acumen and it’s easy to see how he could be a popular fantasy player.

    One Burning Question

    Health, first and foremost, will be the big issue for the Pelicans, but just about any team could have “will they stay healthy” as their burning question. Instead, we’re going to remain optimistic and think about what this offense looks like when all the pieces are available. Will Ingram continue to operate as the lead playmaker? Will that impact how Zion Williamson is used? Will CJ McCollum be happy with it? New Orleans is loaded with talent but struggled to score for much of the season, and put together a late surge that was cued by a systematic tweak. It’s unclear if that will hold once everyone is back on the court, as that’s not how the team was constructed to run. It’ll be on Willie Green to figure out what’s best for the team and relaying that message to the players to keep everyone on board. You’d think that this group could make it work either way, but things aren’t always so simple.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x