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Pelicans waive DeAndre Liggins

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived 29-year-old swingman DeAndre Liggins, the team announced Friday. Liggins played in 27 games for the Pelicans last season and averaged 1.6 points and 1.0 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per game.

With his above-average athleticism and length at the shooting guard position, Liggins was expected by some to become a solid 3-and-D role player. But after bouncing around the league with seven different teams, Liggins has unfortunately never lived up to his modest expectations after getting picked in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, though he has had success in the D-League (now G League). He won Defensive Player of the Year in the D-League in 2014 and 2016.

During his 2016-17 stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Sports Illustrated’s Jake Fischer wrote that Liggins could be an important player in that year’s Finals series against the eventual champions, Golden State Warriors, because of his defense.

Cleveland transforms into an elite defense when Liggins swallows opposing point guards whole. He possesses the quickness to hound shifty lead ball handlers and the size to switch any high ball screen as well. And when it comes to Cleveland’s most essential matchup, Durant’s Golden State Warriors, Liggins can nearly neutralize Stephen Curry, as evidenced on Christmas Day.

Liggins could still end up with a contending team needing a defensive stopper in their lineup. While he has yet to blossom into a true defensive ace in the NBA, Kevin Durant praised Liggins’ work ethic when they were still teammates in the Oklahoma City Thunder back in 2013.

“He’s a workhorse, man. I love him,” Durant began. “You can tell he’s a guy that’s tough and has been that way his whole life. You can just tell by how he plays that he’s been working from the bottom to get to the top his whole life. People have counted him out, I’m sure, but he continues to keep beating the odds.”

Liggins will now be looking for a new team as training camp approaches.