Pelicans GM Excited To Bring In ‘Crafty’ Tony Carr
The New Orleans Pelicans had just one pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. After the franchise’s best season in a decade, making it to the second round of the playoffs, the front office had to pull together something this offseason to keep up with the deadly Western Conference, starting with Thursday’s draft.
Coming late in the second round, it’s tough to find an impact player, but it might’ve secured something special with Penn State’s Tony Carr — who fell from his late first round/early second round projected status after inconsistent performances in team workouts and the NBA Combine.
“We didn’t think he was going to fall this far, so we feel lucky to have the opportunity to draft him,” Pelicans general manager Dell Demps told reporters.
Demps keyed in on Carr’s size for a guard — listed as 6-foot-5 — as well as his ability to score and make plays, referring to him as a “crafty” player.
The Nittany Lion, who wrapped up his two-year Penn State career by guiding the team to the NIT title, averaged 19.6 points and five assists per game during his sophomore season this past year.
“He’s been a guy that’s been on the radar for us for a while,” Demps said. “Bryson Graham, our director of scouting, has really been talking about him, even all the way back from the Nike camp last year.”
While it’s been all positive words for the team’s sole draftee, there’s been little use for rookies in the Pelicans’ lineup since Demps began his tenure with the franchise in 2010 — often opting to build around acquired veterans.
Just one draft pick has featured in any role for the Pelicans during the past five seasons — former Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield — and has was traded away at the February deadline of his rookie season.
The quality roster New Orleans figures to have next season won’t make it any easier for Carr to crack significant minutes.
The Pelicans are led by low-post studs Anthony Davis, who made his fifth consecutive All-Star appearance in 2018, and DeMarcus Cousins, another all-star whose season ended last January with an Achilles tear. The roster also features four-time NBA All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and Jrue Holiday, who’s coming off a career-scoring year with 19 points per game during the last slate.
Carr’s bright spot might be his style, which he feels is similar to Holiday’s — a role player at both ends of the floor that can also facilitate.
With the addition of Rondo last season, Holiday, a natural point guard, slided into a shooting guard role. That versatility is a trait that the GM sees could be useful for Carr, as well.
“Right now in the NBA, teams have multiple playmakers,” Demps said. “I think his size is the thing that’s really appealing to us… His team played in a tough conference and he was able to score at an elite level.”
Carr will join the Pelicans next week in preparation for the NBA Summer League. New Orleans opens its slate in Las Vegas Friday, July 6 against the Toronto Raptors.