PG Jrue Holiday
Age 23. 6-4, 205, fifth year, UCLA. Career: 13.4 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.6 rpg
In the mold of today’s point guards who are some of the league’s top athletes and are also good scorers and distributors. The Pelicans leaped at the chance to grab Holiday, an All-Star last season, who they feel can compete against all of the elite Western Conference point guards. Holiday is a strong defender, and as he showed the franchise last season at the New Orleans Arena, can control a game. The team’s marquee acquisition.
G/F Tyreke Evans
Age 24. 6-6, 220, fifth year, Memphis. Career: 17.5 ppg, 5.8 apg, 3.6 rpg
Evans is particularly adept at driving to the basket, which plays well in Williams’ defense-first style, because it usually means more free-throw opportunities, negating opponents’ fast breaks and enabling the Pelicans to set up defensively. He was the 2010 NBA Rookie of the Year, had an unspectacular second year and has bounced back the past two. Evans started at point guard with Sacramento, moved to shooting guard and last season moved to small forward. Although he says he’ll play wherever Williams puts him, it’s no secret around the NBA that he prefers to play guard.
G Anthony Morrow
Age 28. 6-5, 210, sixth year, Georgia Tech. Career: 10.9 ppg, 1.1 apg, 2.6 rpg
One of the best 3-point shooters in the NBA, Morrow was brought in to open the floor and prevent defenders from sagging into the lane and limiting the effectiveness of Holiday’s and Eric Gordon’s attempts to penetrate. He also will counter any low-post double teams power forward Anthony Davis may draw. Morrow will team with Ryan Anderson, who finished second in the NBA in 3-pointers last season, to form a dynamic duo behind the arc. That could make New Orleans Arena exciting.
C Greg Stiemsma
Age 28. 6-11, 260, third season, Wisconsin. Career: 3.6 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.3 bpg
Having played an average of 15 minutes per game with the Boston Celtics and Minnesota Timberwolves the past two seasons, Stiemsma is expected to play a big role with the Pelicans. He was brought in to provide a physical presence in the lane and complement Davis’ more slender, finesse style. Stiemsma said he intends to play in a way that shows he has “ownership of the lane.” He feels he fits in well with all the scorers the Pelicans have. Whether he can stay out of foul trouble will be a key.
C Jeff Withey
Age 23. 7 feet, 235, rookie, Kansas. College career: 8.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.7 bpg
The Big 12’s career leader in blocks, Withey was chosen in the second round (39th overall) by Portland but came to the Pelicans in the three-team trade that brought in Tyreke Evans and sent last year’s starting center, Robin Lopez, to Portland.
PG Pierre Jackson
Age 22. 5 feet, 10, 180, rookie, Baylor. Collegiate career: 16.7 ppg, 6.5 apg
The 2012 NIT MVP, Jackson led the Big 12 in field goals, assists (past two years), minutes played and points per game (19.8) in being selected its player of the year. He may be able to benefit greatly from the NBA’s rules against hand-checking on drives. He is very quick and a leaper who combines a deft shooting touch with range. Reminds some of Nate Robinson.
PF Arinze Onauku
Age 26. 6-9, 261, rookie, Syracuse. Two years in NBA Development League
Played in 32 games last season with the Canton Charge and was a Development League All-Star, averaging 12.6 ppg and 9.5 rpg, and also was on the Futures All-Star roster for NBA All-Star weekend in February. He would give the Pelicans the big-body option at power forward. However, he has a history of knee injuries going back to his junior season at Syracuse, part of the reason he went undrafted in 2010.