New Orleans, La. - The New Orleans Pelicans welcome two new veteran players who are expected to bring some maturity to their young roster: center Greg Stiemsma and guard Anthony Morrow.
Stiemsma, a 6'11" former member of the Minnesota Timberwolves, is now gunning for the Pelicans' starting center position, a spot vacated when the Pelicans traded Robin Lopez to the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I'm definitely looking for big things this year for myself personally," Stiemsma said. "This is a good opportunity to be a part of a young team that is building and trying to turn around a franchise. I think we have the right pieces to do that, and I think I can fit in with that pretty well. We have guys that can score and guys that can get up and down the floor."
Stiemsma looked at the pieces the Pelicans were bringing in, the team's potential and his opportunity to play a larger role with more minutes when he decided to make the move to New Orleans. Stiemsma is known for his shot blocking ability and defense, which should make his relationship with head Coach Monty Williams much smoother.
"I kind of take it personally to own the paint," Stiemsma said. "You have to do the small things that don't always show up on the stat sheet, but the little things that guys do to help their team win. Dive on the floor, be in the right spot, be in the right position, and hopefully I do all of those things."
Meanwhile, Morrow is a shooting guard who comes to New Orleans via the Dallas Mavericks. He's considered one of the best pure shooters in the NBA and is expected to boost the Pelicans' firing power.
After participating in voluntary workouts, Morrow is assuring fans that they don't need to worry about offensive production this season.
"I had two different match ups: Yesterday it was Al-Farouq Aminu, and today it was Austin Rivers," Morrow said. "So just seeing a lot of the things those guys do, we move the ball well, and we play as a team. It's a fairly young team, so Monty being the coach he is, he's going to get everybody on the same page. Once that happens, we won't have any problems scoring with myself, Eric, Austin, Jrue and all of those guys."
Some analysts are puzzling at the number of guards the Pelicans have loaded up on this off season, but Morrow is confident it will prove to be a winning mix.
"We've got a lot of guards," Morrow said. "I've usually been on teams with more shooters in Atlanta, Dallas and Golden State. I think we are more talented than my first year in New Jersey. It's kind of a unique situation with a mixture of Tyreke, Eric, Jrue, Austin, and Brian Roberts. We're really athletic and we can get out on the break. I hope to get in mix it up and stretch the floor a little bit with Ryan Anderson and Brian Roberts."
Morrow acknowledges the trials of free agency were deflating emotionally, even though he knew in his head it was just part of the business. Regardless, he calls this new start in the Crescent City a blessing.
"It was mentally tough to be strong," Morrow said. "But after talking to Dell Demps the last few days of free agency, it was real comforting to know they wanted to me here. I was accepted by Coach Williams and the entire staff. It's a good situation to be here and understand my role with the team and still be able to challenge myself for minutes. I told them I didn't want anything, but just to come in and work."
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