It's clear that the New Orleans Pelicans are emerging into a team that will once again be threatening in the playoffs. That team of the future will no doubt be built around power forward Anthony Davis. He has emerged as a star without a ceiling, and the Pelicans know that. But, to take full advantage of his tremendous game, they need to find him a real front court partner to complete the puzzle that will get them back in contention.
While Ryan Anderson is an excellent shooter, especially on the outside, he doesn't offer much help on the defensive boards, and if he were more effective defensively, he would free up Davis to affect more games with his defensive prowess.
The Pelicans are clearly trying to solve the riddle of who to put next to Davis to maximize his potential. They have used Jason Smith, Alexis Ajinca and others, but that perfect solution hasn't shown up yet.
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told John Reid of The Times-Picayune that he thought of David Robinson when he watched Davis, and he didn't believe there was anything Davis couldn't do on the basketball court.
"He blocks shots, changes shots, the offensive rebounding and then you can see his skill level. He can shoot and catch and go off a drive. He's a great kind of talent," Spoelstra said.
The Pelicans take the puzzle into the offseason and might look to Detroit for the answer, especially now that Stan Van Gundy has the reins up there.
Anderson started his career with Van Gundy in Orlando, where he really honed his skills as a stretch 4. With Josh Smith and Andre Drummond locked in for Detroit, the Pistons will need shooting wherever they can find it, and a familiar player might not hurt either.
As for the Pelicans, Greg Monroe may be just the right fit. He'd be coming to familiar territory as well, as he grew up in Louisiana, plus pairing Monroe with Davis would be a great match.
Monroe could take the bigger bodies and create a disturbance in the paint, but he'd also provide incredible passing out of either post. He would also help in rebounds, as he hauled in about 10 per game last year. Building around these two twin towers would provide a good structure to build on that the fan base could really support, too.
Another issue the Pelicans may have to handle this offseason is the loss of Anthony Morrow to free agency. According to Hoops Hype, Morrow will opt out of his contract. Morrow, who was due to make $1,145,685 in 2014-15, averaged 8.4 ppg and 1.8 rpg with New Orleans this season. A long-range specialist, he finished third in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage with 45.1% of makes.