Mistakes happen. We sleep in a little too late or we forget to do a project. But for us, mistakes are simply, just that – mistakes. For the thirty NBA teams, mistakes cost them, potentially, tens of millions of dollars, a playoff appearance, or even a championship. They have been riddled throughout history. It can be draft picks (Blazers fans know what this is like), it can be free agency (can I get an amen from Knicks fans?), or it can be virtually anything else (in the case of the Kings, EVERYTHING ELSE). Thus, we present the worst mistakes from each NBA team over the past ten years.
The Pelicans are Good in the Draft
The New Orleans Pelicans have done a superb job of building a quality team. It has been an important journey in a town so beset by hardship. The recent flooding is another tough blow. The players and the fans of New Orleans should be proud of the team establishment they have and of their reputation in the league. Every sports team makes mistakes. The Pelicans however have somehow managed to mitigate those mistakes. It was only this last year that the cracks showed. Somehow the team took a step back. It can happen and some say it had to happen. Why?
The Struggle is Still Real
If anything, the struggle was out of their control. Alvin Gentry was a great hire, but the team struggled under his leadership. While Gentry may still prove to be a good hire, the team did not adapt well to the change in the system used by previous coach Monty Williams. This team is struggling to find their identity with a new coach. A new coach isn’t a bad thing. Next, the injury bug bit hard last season. The struggles may have happened even if they were healthy. However, the injury situation made it worse. Four of the five starters were out and the bench players were on minute restrictions. Lastly, the expectations that year were high. Everyone wanted to see a step forward from the team. It didn’t happen.
The Big Guy Gets the Blame
Some would say the problem is in the signing of Omer Asik. He is slow footed, expensive and doesn’t fit the offense. A team doesn’t need a bunch of the same parts. Asik covers the defense and doesn’t need to score. Asik is actually a valuable member of the team exactly because he doesn’t fit. Sure they overpaid for him, but that is the market now. Tyreke Evans was the mistake.
The Real Culprit
Tyreke Evans agreed to sign 4 year, $44 million offer sheet in 2013. The Pelicans made the right choice in the deal. They didn’t overpay and addressed their needs. This past season Evans has even been good for the Pelicans. He contributed and helped Anthony Davis on offense and defense. But like Asik, he doesn’t fit the current model or the future. Unlike Asik, Tyreke isn’t as valuable. He doesn’t compliment Jrue Holiday, he regressed in his shooting, and he has never recaptured his rookie year success. Unlike Asik, he cannot make up for his deficiencies on the defensive end. Also unlike Asik, Tyreke needs the ball to be effective.
The writing is already on the wall for Evans. If the Pelicans had never signed Evans, they could have been eligible for a number of players in 2014. The Asik deal would have been pennies to their cap space. That year they could have signed Monta Ellis, J.R. Smith, pushed harder for Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, Andre Iguodala. This year they could have used $44 million to sign a star next to Anthony Davis. Evans was the biggest mistake.
Hindsight 20/20, the money could have been better somewhere else.