by RANDY SMITH
After a couple down years and a 12th place finish in the Western Conference at 30-52 last season, it appears the New Orleans Pelicans front office saw the writing on the wall, that it was time to bring their “tweener” experiment of Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday to an end.
The Pelicans probably stand to lose both Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson to free agency this summer, which makes sharp shooter Buddy Hield a perfect fit for the Pelicans.
Although the Pelicans roster is loaded with guards, Hield’s shooting will probably propel him ahead off the others, and if the Pelicans elect to start Tyreke Evans at the three or work out a deal for him, Hield’s ability to spread to floor could land him a starting role very early.
Playing along with Jrue Holiday in the backcourt with A.D. in the paint, Hield can plant behind the line and make teams think twice about doubling down on Davis.
“I’m a scorer,” Hield told reporters on draft night. “I can shoot the ball a lot. Love to shoot. And i feel like when i go there (to New Orleans) I can open up the floor for Anthony Davis and other guys to be able to penetrate.
“Guys like Davis have guys like me who can shoot the ball really well and keep the floor spaced.”
Hield is used to playing a lot of minutes and has a body that is NBA ready, so durability isn’t something that Pelicans fans have to worry about.
He’s proven that he can hit big shots under pressure and although Pelicans general manager Dell Demps said that Hield will still have to go through the learning curve, his mesh with coach Alvin Gentry’s pace-and-space system guarantees he’ll see minutes on a nightly basis.
Hield played 132 games in four seasons at Oklahoma. He averaged 25 points per game while shooting 45.7 percent from behind the three-point line.