Czech international and NBA star Tomas Satoransky was one of the pieces moved around during the mammoth Lonzo Ball deal that happened over the off season. Ball was sent over to the Chicago Bulls and Satoransky now plans to take his place back on the Pelicans.
What though can the Pelicans expect from Satoransky?
The glass half empty view
It’s undeniable that Lonzo Ball has the potential to become a star point guard. As such, it’s not all that surprising that a fair few fans were underwhelmed to see him leave and, by association, Satoransky arrive as part of the trade. Despite that lack of hype he could end up providing value at a time when nobody expects him too.
That said, he’s far from the perfect player. First of all, he is not close to being one of the best three-point shooters, so don’t expect him somehow to become one of the top 10 players with the most triple-doubles in NBA history.
Sinking from distance just isn’t going to be something he brings to the squad. Satoransky has been a poor shooter from behind the arc throughout his entire career and has shot just 35% from deep with two attempts per game. His game won’t be stacking up points closer to the rim either for he is not the sharpshooter that this Pelicans team so badly needs. In fact, he could just end up clogging the paint a little bit for players like Zion Williamson and Jonas Valanciunas.
The glass half full view
So, we know there are short comings in Satoransky’s game. And so what? Very few players excel all round and Satoransky has some real qualities to bring to the floor.
He might not shoot all that well but his creative flair is up there with the best of them. His 6’7 frame certainly helps with the way he can control and coordinate things too; the Pelicans will be getting a real offensive leader.
In fact, if you compare his playmaking to that of the much raved about Ball, Satoransky measures up very well. He averaged 4.7 assists per game in Chicago last year off of the Bulls bench; Lonzo averaged 5.7 assists but was playing 10 minutes longer per game than Satoransky.
Away from the NBA, Satoransky had a good summer too. He put together a few really impressive performances during the Olympic Games dropping 13 points, five assists and six rebounds against Team USA.
It was a real noteworthy display given the USA is a side that was widely projected to dominate that game. It was just a flavour of what he can do.
Satoransky is going to bring a lot of what Ball can do to this team but with more consistency and better leadership. Shooting is a gap in his arsenal but he has strong passing skills and is a more than capable rebounder; his size and mentality means he won’t shy away from a physical confrontation and he’ll be more than happy to get ‘dirty’ under the rim; that’s something the Pelican fans will adore him for. Not only does is show a willingness to put his body on the line but snatching rebounds like this could be used to spark breaks; Satoransky and Williamson, who will happily run the length of the floor, could form a good double act.
The other area he mirrors Ball is on defense. Ball had quick reflexes, a good reading of the game and the ability to deflect and disrupt shooters. Satoransky will bring a similar level of quality in that area.
Finally, Satoransky is cheap for the Pelicans. Ball signed a massive deal with the Bulls in the trade, which is money that New Orleans would have been paying out of their own pockets. Satoransky has the possibility of doing exactly what Ball used to do in the same amount of time and for significantly less money on their cap. He isn’t the most fashionable pickup in the world and fans may not be incredibly hyped about it but he is definitely going to keep this team competitive and that’s what matters.