METAIRIE, La. — With one phone call Thursday night, Dell Demps alerted Pelicans fans that the time is now.
However it happened, whether he dialed 215 or received a call from that area code, taking Jrue Holiday and a second-round pick in this year’s draft shows that New Orleans is in the win now mode.
Certainly taking Nerlens Noel at No. 6 and keeping him would have set the Pelicans up for the future. Aligning him alongside Anthony Davis would have, in Noel’s words, given New Orleans a block party underneath the basket.
But putting Holiday alongside Eric Gordon could suddenly give the Pelicans one of the most athletic and lethal backcourts in the NBA.
When healthy, both give New Orleans options down the stretch, active guards who can create matchup problems with most opponents in the NBA.
Holiday is just 23 and earned his first All-Star appearance this past season. He has loads of upside.
The key, though, will be Gordon.
He missed 40 games last season alone due to various maladies. He hasn’t played a full season since he was possibly running around players in the Indianapolis youth leagues. He can best be described as a head case, one whose interest in being in New Orleans has always been questioned.
But if he proves he can play, that he’s reliable, the move is a big one.
As for Greivis Vasquez, one of last season’s most-improved players, it means a move to the bench, where he suddenly gives New Orleans a potent mismatch with the second wave.
This above point could change with the selection of Pierre Jackson, a point guard from Baylor. But for now, Vasquez remains an integral part of New Orleans’ future.
Still, while New Orleans won’t be battling for the NBA title anytime soon, this move should make the team more competitive when you factor in what the team can do in free agency.
Prior to Thursday night’s draft, the Pelicans were sitting on about $20 million or so in free space. They just picked up an All-Star point guard. They have a future All-Star at forward in Davis.
This move should give them a present and a future.