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The New Orleans Pelicans are imminently bringing in former draft pick Didi Louzada on a multi-year contract.
Louzada, a Brazilian wing who was playing for the Australian league’s Sydney Kings, is expected to be signed shortly. Louzada will not push the Pelicans towards the luxury tax, although New Orleans had to sign another player before April 27.
The Pelicans’ front office has the right idea in mind with this move and it is good to see that there is seemingly a valid focus ahead of the off-season and, Cheap New Orleans Pelicans Jerseys From China, in a macro view, maximizing Zion Williamson’s years with the franchise.
The wing positions have been a clear strain for New Orleans this season, putting aside Brandon Ingram who is one of the franchise’s two lodestars.
Josh Hart has played admirably, but he has missed the last ten games with a thumb injury. It is unknown when he’ll be back. The Villanova product spaces the floor to some extent and adds crucial multipositional defensive ability to the team, Cheap New Orleans Pelicans Throwback Jerseys, but he can only do so much—especially when he plays his share of minutes at power forward.
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Naji Marshall broke through in light of Hart’s injury but, even then, he is 23-years-old with 17 NBA games under his belt. That’s not a slight on him, but it’s the reality of things. The former Xavier standout is once again standing out, this time in a Pelicans uniform, but there is a glass ceiling.
Finally, James Johnson and Wes Iwundu were brought it on the trade deadline as reinforcements in a trade—credit to the Pels’ front office—that New Orleans has already won. Johnson has been a quality backup for Stan Van Gundy and, although it is possible that he might leave come this summer, has provided more than JJ Redick did all season.
Iwundu hasn’t gotten much run, but he does not seem to form part of the Pels’ long-term future. Iwundu’s inability to shoot does not complement his defensive potential and therefore hampers his ability to be on the floor, especially on a team that has Williamson as its clear alpha.
That cocktail of injuries, inexperience, and uncertain futures has debilitated arguably the most important position in the NBA, particularly when it comes to rotation players. Every team with true aspiration needs dependable wings and, Cheap New Orleans Pelicans Youth Jerseys, right now, the Pelicans don’t exactly have that.
This is not to say that Louzada instantly remedies these issues, but it’s encouraging to know that the people calling the shots understand which parts of the roster need to be mended. There are lots of improvement areas and this is a good start.
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Louzada had an impressive two-season stint with the Sydney Kings in the NBL. He provided defensive toughness and versatility—especially as his frame really filled out—and flashes of some self-creation and outside shooting.
His scoring improvements had been on display in particular over his final NBL appearances, scoring in the double digits on five of his last 10 games. However, Louzada was shooting just 39 percent from the field and 27 percent from three (his 33 percent the previous season is slightly more encouraging).
It is evident that there are things to work on and Louzada is not an instant game-winning addition by NBA standards, but this cannot be seen as anything but a shrewd move.
Even if he has some hiccups—and he will—Louzada can make a difference in the Pels’ crippled wing rotation despite his initial growing pains. This is a good chance to develop a promising second round draft pick, especially as the chance to make the playoffs inches further and further away for New Orleans.
At worst, the Pels’ brass finally takes a look up close at how the Brazilian wing truly translates to the NBA. The record of NBL exports to the NBA is quite good in recent memory.
LaMelo Ball and Jae’Sean Tate have been impactful rookies this season, RJ Hampton is showing potential in Orlando, Terrance Ferguson had some buzz in Oklahoma City for a little while, and Josh Giddey in this year’s draft is warranting lottery hype.
However, it’s impossible to tell whether Louzada is cut for the association until he finally steps onto an NBA court. With his signing set to become official in the coming days, it will soon be seen whether Louzada can make a case to become a part of the New Orleans Pelicans’ future, but this move is nothing but encouraging.