Willy, again without a place

The Pelicans are one of the best teams in a very low-profile West, and they are among other things because they have one of the rosters longest in the NBA. A depth that mixes outside and inside play, defensive specialists and scorers, youth and experience. And that he undergoes constant examinations because of some injuries that make the Louisiana team not form with his ideal figure since we don’t even know when. Brandon Ingram hasn’t played since November 26, he’s going for two months. Zion Williamson, for eleven days. He has played 29 games, and Ingram 15, out of 43 possible, more than half a season since he has settled with excellent note, and more given the circumstances: 26-17, third place in the Westafter winning in Detroit (110-116) at poor Pistons: 12-34, among the three worst in the League and already thinking openly about Victor Wembanyama.

Before a very tough visit to Cleveland, the Pelicans are 2-2 in a very difficult trip and have shown again that they can win without Ingram, Zion and another starter, that defensive swiss army knife named Herb Jones. But they have a lot, especially two stars behind the two super stars: Jonas Valanciunas (33 points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists, 12/15 shooting) and CJ McCollum (19 points, 9 assists). Trey Murphy III (19 points) and Naji Marshall (17) rounded out an offensive score that cheekily relied on charging the game on Valanciunas. The Pistons didn’t have Isaiah Stewart or Jalen Duren, so they were so tight inside that even Hamidou Diallo, a 7-foot forward, had to lend a hand with minutes at center.

When the Pistons got within three (102-105) with 3:27 to go, the Pelicans brazenly looked for Valanciunas in the post. The Lithuanian, a rock basically whenever he is needed, scored six minutes in that end that prevented a scare for a team that had opened its gap in the second quarter, with a 0-14 run (from 42-41 to 42- 55). And for whom any victory is a blessing while he tries to empty the infirmary. Of course, the Pistons were no better: to those mentioned absent were added the long-term losses of Marvin Bagley and above all Cade Cunningham, slowed down for the entire season and for whom this second NBA course will remain as a huge parenthesis. With what they have, the Pistons do what they can: 22 points from Bogdanovic, 20 from Bey, 17 from Hayes, 12 from Ivey…

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From the prism of Spanish basketball, the news was back on the bench, where a Willy Hernangómez spent another game who has not played the last three (and four of the five) and he has only stepped on the court three nights so far in January. On his way to turning 29 and after the Eurobasket MVP, it is obvious that the center expected to play more, but there is no way for him to enter his team’s rotation in a stable way, in which Jaxson Hayes has once again overtaken him, who the course started apart.

Even without Zion and his very high quota of minutes in the interior rotation, Willie Green uses Willy little, much more comfortable with Larry Nance stretches as five and the appearances of Hayes (22 years old, an 8 in the draft that never quite starts either) to cover Valanciunas’ breaks. Willy has already said that he expected another thing, certainly more after the summer he lived with the National Team. Even Sergio Scariolo assured in AS that his problem is not the level of the NBA but the team you are on. A change of scenery seems, at this point, the best option for him. Try another approach in what would be his fourth team in the League (Knicks, Hornets, Pelicans for now). The market close is set for February 9, so we’ll see what happens with a Willy who has played in 21 of the Pelicans’ 43 games and averages 11.8 minutes with 6.9 points and 4.7 rebounds. After this season (in which he makes $2.4 million), has 2.5 million signed for the next one but subject to a team option You should run your computer with June 29 as the date. Right now, it is not unreasonable to think that the team that will have to make that decision will not be the New Orleans Pelicans.

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