Last season, coach Monte Williams preferred to put big man Omer Asik next to Anthony Davis.
But new coach Alvin Gentry may like reserve French big man Alex Ajinca in that role — the Pelicans were +10 per 48 minutes with an offensive rating of 111.9 (points per 100 possessions) in the 220 minutes those two were on the court together last season. Ajinca is more offensive minded and has a more versatile offensive game.
Which is why the Pelicans locked up Ajinca to a four-year contract. Ajinca himself confirmed the news on Twitter.
The money is is very, very reasonable, reports Sam Amick of the USA Today.
Ajinca averaged 6.5 points a game on 55 percent shooting, but only played 14.1 minutes a contest for the Pelicans last season. Expect that number to go up, although defense will be the key (that is the side of the court the Pelicans need to improve upon).
New Orleans locked up Anthony Davis to a max contract just after free agency opened, and they are expected to try and re-sign Asik and Norris Cole as well. There have been rumblings they are interested in Robin Lopez, but he may be priced out of their range.
The Pelicans were never going to be big free agent players, they are betting on growth, and Alvin Gentry using the pieces they have better.