Unlike the rest of the world where best young talents are plucked by the richest clubs in largely capitalist laced moves, sports in the United States surprisingly is heavy on socialist moves.

The best players coming from junior divisions or foreign leagues are all but destined to play for the worst teams in the prior seasons without having much say in the destinations through the draft. The NBA, NFL-unless the young player is Eli Manning-MLS, NHL and other major sports leagues use this system to ensure eye balls aren’t always pinned on teams in large markets.

The system is great both in theory and practice since it got legendary talents like Bill Walton to play for the Trailblazers who operate in “small” city Portland. Despite hiccups from the team’s front office down the years headlined by overlooking talented studs like Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant in the draft, it delivered LaMarcus Aldridge for a while and presently, Damian Lillard.

In a similar way, New Orleans isn’t the biggest city in the US and doesn’t have the biggest market by any stretch but has landed top talent thanks to the draft. Chris Paul stayed for a while with the city’s NBA franchise, the Pelicans, before leaving for Los Angeles Clippers and there was very little talent on the team to avoid losing a lot of games. Drafting Anthony Davis with the first round pick in 2012 was the result of all those losses.

Since then, the team has tried several times and failed to put the right pieces around him to consistently contend for the Western Conference and NBA titles.

The losses have affected Davis rank in the league despite averaging 24 points and 10 rebounds in his career. His numbers should make him a starter on the All Star team this year but New Orleans Pelicans rank 13th in the Conference affecting his legitimacy to be voted into the exhibition game as a starter ahead of guys with equally impressive numbers whose teams have better records.

Pelicans poor record also cost Davis $24 million during his contract extension talks after failing to make it to the All NBA Teams in 2016. Had he done so, he would have satisfied one of the requirements to qualify for a max contract under the Derrick Rose Rule. However, he didn’t meet those requirements largely due to New Orleans missing another postseason run.


On the contrary, Paul George with Indiana Pacers then and Aldridge with Portland then made the All NBA Third Team averaging 23 points and seven rebounds in 81 games and 18 points and 8.5 rebounds in 74 games respectively. Davis played 61 games that season and averaged 24.3 points and 10.3 rebounds. Davis through his agent Rich Paul announced his intentions to leave Pelicans for the chance to really compete for a title turning New Orleans plan this in-season trade period completely over.

Just as they did in 2017 and 2018, Dell Demps was looking out for a trade that fetches New Orleans a top player to complement its star man. Trading for DeMarcus Cousins and Nikola Mirotic in back to back years signaled Pelicans intent to make big trade swings for quality players.


However, the team’s injury woes continued and hit Cousins who suffered a season ending Achilles injury. Players expected to play big roles-E’Twaun Moore and Solomon Hill-have disappointed. Should the Pelicans get juicy packages from a very interested Los Angeles Lakers for Davis, New Orleans aim in the transfer period switches from buying to selling. Beyond Davis, New Orleans have interesting pieces to deal away for what is bound to be an extensible rebuilding project.


Point Guard Jrue Holiday is going to attract a number of suitors including Indiana Pacers who are reeling after losing Victor Oladipo for the season. Pacers could ship Holiday’s younger brother Aaron, Doug McDermott and a future draft pick to get Jrue. Mirotic is the perfect Power Forward who stretches the floor with his three point shooting and rebounds at a decent clip (8.2 rebounds). Shipping him off to Portland Trailblazers for Jake Layman and Nik Stauskas falls into Pelicans new mission to lose as many games as possible and increase its chances of making a high draft pick later this year.

Duke’s R.J. Barrett, left, congratulates teammate Zion Williamson during a college basketball exhibition game against Toronto in Mississauga, Ontario, Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. (Christopher Katsarov/The Canadian Press via AP) ORG XMIT: CKL116

Duke University’s Zion Williamson is already box office material whose highlight dunks is bound to fill a lot of empty seats at the Smoothie King Arena. Nabbing Cam Reddish or the most complete player in the draft RJ Barrett should fast track New Orleans latest rebuild quite nicely.

By Yaw Adjei-Mintah
@YawMintYM on Twitter


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