Priority #1: Maintain the Ability to Acquire a Top 5 pick in the 2016 Draft
Dec 5, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Brandon Ingram (14) reacts after scoring against the Buffalo Bulls at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
Remember my caveat; these priorities are based on one day winning a championship. How do you win championships? you get championship caliber talent. How do you get championship caliber talent? There’s three ways; draft, trade, or sign.
Ask yourself now if the Pelicans have the means to trade for or sign a second star to pair with AD.
First off, we aren’t signing anyone. Kevin Durant isn’t happening, Mike Conley isn’t happening, Nic Batum isn’t happening, Al Horford isn’t happening, I doubt even Evan Turner is happening.
Now can we trade for a 2nd star instead? I learn towards no, but I think our 2016 pick could potentially allow us to do that. That means our ability to draft a 2nd star, and our ability trade for a 2nd star, both hinge upon the value of our 2016 pick.
Dell should have his sights set in the 2016 draft board right now. The goal should be to remain a bottom five team, and target who he thinks could be a superstar in the top five of this draft. In the process of that, if another teams comes and offers someone who could be that guy in exchange for our 2016 pick, Dell should pick up the phone.
Some will say tanking is never justified, but frankly I don’t care what’s justified. I want to see the Pelicans as NBA champions one day, with a banner hanging high in the Smoothie King Center. Nothing worth having comes easily, and as hard as it may be, getting a top five pick it worth having if the Pelicans want to contend one day.
How do we maintain that ability? Simple, keep it up. This team has decided to continue playing Tyreke Evans in crunch time, and has stayed away from rotations which optimize how this roster plays. It’s called “sneaky tanking” and I believe Gentry is well aware of this goal.
The thing NOT to do would be to trade for a quick fix to try to win now. If for instance Dell were to trade away his ’16 pick for a guy like Jeff Green to try to win the most possible games this season I would consider that movie absolutely indefensible.
I mean that, indefensible.
This team has serious flaws and we need to embrace them. As painful as another losing season might be, it puts us in the best position to one day hang one of those banners.
If I didn’t convince you, here’s a Brandon Ingram highlight video.
Next: See Ya, Big Man