In a surprisingly smart in season move by the Pelicans’ front office they have signed point guard Mike James to a two-way contract. James started the year on a two way deal with the Phoenix Suns and impressed early and often before shockingly getting waived shortly before Christmas (talk about a lump of coal). Despite playing on a clearly tanking Suns team James showed the ability to score (specifically finish at the rim) and distribute. Once things grew icy between Eric Bledsoe and the Suns organization James really got a chance to strut his stuff. He responded by scoring in double figures in his first four games and notching a season/career high of 26 against Minnesota.
What he brings to a New Orleans Pelicans team that is stubbornly hanging on to the 8th seed with a 21-20 record is offensive energy and another scorer on the reserve unit which is something that Ian Clark has failed to do thus far. Averaging 10 points and 4 assists per contest during his tenure in Phoenix shows that he should be a good fit and more than capable of grabbing any spare minutes available. On shooting splits of 39 and 27 he isn’t the most efficient shooter but has the speed and court vision to make his presence felt.
Already behind Rajon Rondo, Jameer Nelson and Clark for now he will see some difficulty getting on the floor initially. However, I think he’ll make the most of any opportunity given to him and with rookie Frank Jackson still at least a month off from seeing any time I expect the Pels to see what they have here. I like the move for the New Orleans here. They are making a real attempt to add some energy without taking on a heavy cost. Any consistent play from James can dissuade New Orleans from making a panic trade for a reserve guard in the next month and can free them up to pursue fixes for other roster issues. Like a decent 3 maybe? Stay tuned.