Ian Clark comes to New Orleans for this next season. How will the deal impact the Pelicans and their backcourt?
Former Warriors guard Ian Clark has inked a one-year deal with the New Orleans Pelicans (per NBA.com). The 26-year old brings much-needed shooting to a team who finished 19th in the league in 3pt% last season. Clark joins a Pelican backcourt consisting of Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, Frank Jackson, and Jordan Crawford. It’s likely he wins the starting shooting guard spot to play beside Holiday and make a playoff push in New Orleans this year.
I previously predicted the Pels would win 43 games in the 17-18 season. I’ll stick with that number though I do think this Clark signing is a bigger deal than most would think at first look. The Belmont product brings not just shooting but a winning, championship mentality to New Orleans. Despite his size, Clark has a fantastic runner, is a great free-throw shooter, and is able to occasionally get his hands in the passing lanes on defense. This obviously doesn’t help with their backcourt size issue as they don’t have a guard taller than 6’4″. As far as unsigned free agents go, the Pelicans were lucky to find Clark this late in the summer.
Unfortunately for New Orleans, their division is loaded. With the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs both looking for top 3 spots in the Western Conference Playoffs, the Pelicans would have to supersede their expectations in order to leap up in the standings. I still think the team can finish the year above .500 barring injury, and it’ll take a successful season to keep Boogie Cousins in the Big Easy past this season. This Ian Clark signing certainly helps the Pels for this year, but I doubt it’s enough to cause any movement in the Western Conference.