Pelicans waive Sindarius Thornwell, cut roster to 15

The New Orleans Pelicans waived guard Sindarius Thornwell.

Thornwell, 6-4, 215, has appeared in 11 games (one start) this season, with New Orleans, averaging 1.4 points in 4.8 minutes per contest.

The Pelicans roster now stands at 15 players.

Currently 11th in the Western conference with a 13-17 record, the Pelicans are being led in scoring this season by Zion Williamson at 25.1 points per game, Brandon Ingram at 23.9 ppg, Lonzo Ball at 14.3 ppg and Eric Bledsoe at 12.5 ppg.

Pelicans running offense more through Zion Williamson

“Over the past two weeks, the Pelicans have increasingly let Zion Williamson take the reins to their offense. He is dribbling the ball up the floor and getting them into their sets. To say he inspires fear when he attacks from the middle of the floor is like saying Michael Jordan was a decent dunker…

Over the past month, the Pelicans are a hair away from ranking first in the NBA in offensive efficiency. On the season, they have vaulted all the way to seventh in points scored per 100 possessions. Putting the ball in Williamson’s hands and giving him the freedom to create has made them more dynamic than almost anyone imagined they could be.

“I was always trained to be a point guard,” Williamson said. “A point guard can’t get rattled. You always have to make the best play and find the best option. It just goes back to that.”

– Via the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Pelicans Analysis: It’s no surprise that if you give Zion Williamson the ball more, good things will happen. He’s a matchup nightmare for most of the league’s defenders. He’s also super fun to watch, which makes this an even better move.

Unfortunately for the Pelicans, they still have a lot of work to do in the standings department. At just 12-15, they’re tied with the Kings for the West’s 11th best record. They’ve won a most five of their last 10 games. So there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Bradley Beal scores 47 points in Wizards loss to Pelicans

It’s been a rough time lately for Bradley Beal and a Wizards team that is missing a lot of key players. Yesterday’s did-not-play list included Russell Westbrook, among others. The latest struggle saw them lose 124-106 to the Pelicans last night. Via the Washington Post:

Beal more than made up for a sluggish first quarter by scoring 24 in the third quarter alone, finishing with 47 points on 17-for-37 shooting. Lopez added 14.

“We know we’re a lot better than what our record is showing, and we can’t feed into that,” Beal said. “We can’t think that’s the type of team we are — granted, reality is reality. But we also believe that we’re better than that, we’re shorthanded, we haven’t played in two weeks. We’re still getting back. It’s no excuse, 100 percent . . . but we can’t feed into being 3-11.”

Despite Beal’s effort, he couldn’t make up for a roster missing six key contributors — Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith and Moe Wagner. Brooks is not sure when they will get out of league protocols and rejoin the team, but all six players are now back on court and working out.

Jordan Bell, signed last week to a 10-day contract, started to give the Wizards more size against Zion Williamson and Steven Adams. But the 6-foot-8 forward could only do so much — Bell had a team-high 11 rebounds in 30 minutes.

Beal scored 47. The rest of the Wizards starting lineup yesterday scored 25.

The Pelicans continued to get monster performances from their pair of starting forwards. Brandon Ingram shot 12/19 and hit 7/12 threes for 32 points, six rebounds and eight assists, while Zion Williamson shot 12/16 for 32 points.

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson reportedly good to play Friday against Lakers

The Pelicans should have some frontcourt power back in the mix for their game against the Lakers tomorrow. Via the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

After missing Wednesday’s game due to an inconclusive test result, Zion Williamson has received clearance to play Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers, a team source said.

Williamson was held out of the Pelicans’ 111-106 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Following the inconclusive test, Williamson took subsequent tests, the results of which came back negative. That clears the way for him to face LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the defending champion Lakers on national TV.

The Lakers are Western conference-best 10-3 this season, while the Pelicans are 13th in the conference at 4-6.

NBA postpones two games for coronavirus reasons: Pelicans vs. Mavs, Celtics vs. Bulls

The NBA games scheduled for tonight between the New Orleans Pelicans and Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Arena and tomorrow between the Boston Celtics and Chicago Bulls at United Center have been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

The NBA and NBPA will be meeting today about modifying the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.

LaMelo Ball outplays brother Lonzo in their first NBA game against each other

It was Ball brother against Ball brother on Friday, as the Hornets beat the Pelicans 118-110. with Lonzo Ball starting for the Pelicans and rookie LaMelo Ball coming off the bench for the Hornets, here’s what went down, via the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

LaMelo Ball checked in midway through the first quarter and immediately started guarding Lonzo Ball. In their first game against each other at the NBA level, the brothers were matched up on one another a fair amount. Surprisingly, LaMelo won Round 1 handily. He had 12 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists — a near triple-double. Lonzo had a five-point, three-assist dud.

Nine games into the season, Lonzo doesn’t look like a much different player than he was last year. He is a capable defender, and he makes multiple gorgeous passes every night. He also remains wildly inconsistent, is hesitant to drive the basketball into the paint, and can’t get to the free-throw line.

Remember New Orleans’ opening-night win in Tampa, when Ball attempted six free throws? In the 272 minutes he’s played since then, he’s attempted four free throws. In that same stretch of games, Nicolo Melli has attempted four free throws in 47 minutes, and Willy Hernangomez has attempted four free throws in seven minutes. Ball’s unwillingness to try shots at the rim further restricts the Pelicans in the half court, where they already don’t have much shooting to begin with.

LaMelo is still brand new to the league but is already flashing some very big-time talent.

Pelicans waive Rawle Alkins, Ike Anigbogu, Jarrod Uthoff and Tony Carr

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived guards Rawle Alkins and Tony Carr, forward Jarrod Uthoff and center Ike Anigbogu.

NBA preseason ends today, and the regular season begins Tuesday. Teams around the league will be trimming down their rosters over these next few days.

The Pelicans roster is now at 16, including Will Magnay and Naji Marshall, who are signed to two-way contracts.

Pelicans sign Naji Marshall to two-way contract

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed free agent Naji Marshall to a two-way contract.

Marshall, listed at 6-foot-7, 220 lbs., most recently played college basketball for Xavier (OH) University. After averaging 16.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals per game in the 2019-20 season, he was named to the All-Big East First Team.

Signing a two-way contract with the Pelicans means Marshall will mostly play for the Pelicans’ G League affiliate team, the Erie BayHawks this season.

The Pelicans’ training camp roster now stands at 20 players.

Pelicans sign guard Rawle Alkins, who most recently played in Portugal

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed guard Rawle Alkins.

Alkins, listed at 6-foot-5, 225 lbs., most recently played overseas in Portugal for FC Porto.

A new York native, Alkins played college hoops for the Arizona Wildcats, went undrafted in 2018, and in the 2018-19 NBA season was with the Chicago Bulls. But he mostly played in the G League for their affiliate team, the Windy City Bulls, for whom he averaged 11.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.