The New Orleans Pelicans are coming off a disappointing season, and they followed that up with a horrendous offseason. They have stars in Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, who have been disgruntled with the franchise, and their offseason didn’t make them happy.
The Pelicans made one solid move when they acquired center Jonas Valanciunas. Valanciunas fits perfectly next to Williamson as he can stretch the floor. That move was great for the Pelicans, but the offseason went downhill from there.
Having said that, here are the New Orleans Pelicans 2021 NBA free agency grades for every signing.
New Orleans Pelicans 2021 NBA Free Agency Grades
Devonte Graham: C+
The Pelicans needed a point guard after letting Lonzo Ball walk and missed out on guard Kyle Lowry. They filled this void with Devonte Graham. While Graham is a solid young player, it cost the Pelicans a first-round pick after they acquired Graham via sign-and-trade.
Graham will head to the Pelicans on a 4-year $47 million deal. Last season, Graham averaged 14.8 points per game along with 5.4 assists. He also shot an efficient 37.5 percent from behind the arc, which is respectable.
The signing of Graham isn’t what gets the grade of a C+, but rather the failure to acquire what was anticipated. Lowry was one of the top free-agent point guards, and the Pelicans couldn’t bring him in.
Not only did the Pelicans miss out on Lowry, but also star guard Chris Paul. The Pelicans offered Paul a contract before he re-signed with the Phoenix Suns. If the Pelicans are unable to bring in quality free agents, they may just lose Williamson in the near future.
Willy Hernangomez: C
The Pelicans re-signed backup center Willy Hernangomez to a 3-year deal. This move is not big, but Hernangomez could play a decent role for the team. Once again the problem is not the player they signed, but rather the players they missed out on. The Pelicans had cap space to upgrade the position, instead, they remained stagnant.
Last season, Hernangomez averaged 7.8 points per game along with 7.1 rebounds. He can be a solid backup center for the Pelicans to Valanciunas, but nothing more.
New Orleans Pelicans 2021 NBA Free Agency Grades Continued
Garrett Temple: B-
An underrated addition for the Pelicans was Garrett Temple. They acquired Temple via a sign-and-trade that sent Lonzo Ball to the Chicago Bulls. Temple will head to the Pelicans on a 4-year deal. He is a solid role player that could make a good backup guard. Last season, Temple averaged 7.6 points per game for the Bulls.
This was not the ideal return for a player of Ball’s caliber, but Temple could be solid off the bench.
Didi Louzada: C-
The Pelicans took a chance on Didi Louzada by signing him to a 4-year deal. Louzada averaged 2.7 points per game on 23.1 percent from the field in his 3 games for the Pelicans last season. They are taking a chance on him, but he doesn’t immediately help the team get better.
It is yet to see if Louzada will have any impact on the Pelicans.