Antonio Daniels believes David Griffin has done a masterful job remaking the New Orleans in a short period of time.
It started, of course, with the addition of No. 1 overall draft pick Zion Williamson. But the team’s roster overhaul was a savvy combination of things — including trades — done quickly but with a long-term strategic plan in place for the post-Anthony Davis era.
Looking ahead to the upcoming season, the former NBA point guard (1997-2011) insisted the Pelicans have taken a big, bold step in the right direction.
Sure, he’s expected to have a few positive things to say now and then about the Pelicans in his new position as the team’s TV color analyst on FOX Sports New Orleans, but Daniels doesn’t make empty statements. Instead, he provides thoughtful, thorough explanations.
Analyzing the new-look Pelicans
In an interview with The Times-Picayune, Antonio Daniels weighed in on the new-look Pelicans.
“They’ve got some great locker room guys. You have Jrue (Holiday) still there, and now you add (J.J. Redick and Derrick Favors),” Daniels was quoted as saying by the New Orleans newspaper this week. “In today’s NBA, you want a mix and balance of youth and experience. You don’t want to be too young or old, and then you add those middle guys, young youth with experience, with Lonzo (Ball), Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart to put with Zion and Jaxson Hayes, guys yet to experience what the NBA life is like.”
In summary, Daniels thinks Griffin, New Orleans’ new executive vice president of basketball operations, has laid the foundation for future success with his offseason moves.
“(Griffin) really accomplished what he wanted in free agency this offseason,” Daniels commented. “Now we’ve got veteran leadership and toughness.”
And what does that mean right away?
The Pelicans, who went 33-49 this past season, shouldn’t miss the postseason two years in a row, according to Daniels. He played for the Hornets in New Orleans in 2008-09.
“This is definitely a playoff team,” Daniels told the New Orleans newspaper. “There’s potential there to be a playoff team, there’s no ifs, ands or buts about it. They’ve already acquired the assets they need moving forward to win, and they have all the pieces of a puzzle you need to build an NBA team: youth, athleticism, versatility, size, shooting, high basketball IQ. They’ve got all the boxes checked.”
The coming months will prove if Antonio Daniels is correct.