Pelicans to get brief look at James Southerland
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
OKLAHOMA CITY – With the available bodies on New Orleans roster having dwindled to 10 players – just enough to hold a 5-on-5 game – the Pelicans signed rookie small forward James Southerland for the rest of the season Friday. There are only six days and four games remaining on the club’s 2013-14 schedule, but the 11th Pelicans will likely be given a coveted opportunity to play, heading into the NBA offseason.
“We not only needed a guy to help us practice, with our lack of players, we also wanted to take a look at a guy who’s been pretty solid in the D-League,” Pelicans Coach Monty Williams said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to continue to push, get better and try to win games, but also to have an opportunity to look at a guy who deserves a shot.”
Southerland was averaging 14.7 points per game as a member of the D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders this season, shooting 49.8 percent from the field and 32.3 percent from three-point range. The New York City native and Syracuse University product is primarily considered a small forward, but has played stretch power forward and shooting guard at times in his brief career.
The 23-year-old has played in one official NBA game, logging three minutes for the Charlotte Bobcats in a Nov. 29 victory over Milwaukee. He went scoreless on 0-for-3 shooting, so he’s still seeking his first NBA points.
The week-long signing will serve as a tryout of sorts for Southerland, who will try to play his way into the Pelicans’ future plans.
“If he plays well here (in the last week of the season), he could be in our discussions come summer league, if it works out," Williams said. "We’ll see.”