Pelicans Offseason Update: Brian Roberts

Leading up to the 2013 NBA Draft on June 27, will provide a player-by-player examination of the New Orleans Pelicans, with input from various sources. We’ll review the 2012-13 campaign of each New Orleans player who appeared in at least half of the team’s games, while also looking ahead to the inaugural 2013-14 Pelicans season. continues its offseason updates by profiling Brian Roberts, a surprise success story who debuted in the NBA in 2012-13, after playing overseas:

Brian Roberts

Key averages: 7.1 points, 2.8 assists in 78 games (5 starts)

Following a solid performance with New Orleans at the 2012 NBA Summer League, Roberts was invited to fall training camp and eventually earned a roster spot. The University of Dayton product had spent the previous four seasons overseas and now – at age 26 – wanted to make one more attempt at playing in the NBA. The gamble paid off, as the 6-foot-1 point guard not only made the team, but also logged significant playing time by season’s end. Showing excellent shooting range from the get-go, Roberts finished his rookie NBA season at 38.6 percent on three-point attempts. He also was a superb 90.9 percent from the foul line, edging Roger Mason (90.7 percent) for team honors in that category. Although he began 2012-13 primarily as a score-first point guard, he improved his distributing skills as the campaign progressed. Roberts notched a pair of double-digit assist games in the final four weeks of the regular season, including 18 dimes in an upset victory over Denver. The Toledo native picked up four DNP’s due to coach’s decision, but was in the rotation for each of New Orleans’ final 21 contests, including five starts. From a personal standpoint, the highlight of 2012-13 for Roberts was the birth of son Cole on March 8, two days before his first-ever NBA start against Portland.

New Orleans’ 110-86 victory over Denver on March 25 was noteworthy on a number of fronts. For one, it ended the Nuggets’ 15-game winning streak. For another, Roberts piled up 18 assists, the highest single-game assist tally by any NBA rookie throughout the entire ’12-13 season. In addition to the big assist tally, Roberts also scored 13 points (5-for-10 from the field) and collected five rebounds in 41 minutes of action.

"With this having been my first season in the NBA, 82 games is a long year, so I’ll be focusing on maintaining my body and getting my body ready for the long season, with conditioning and strength (training). I want to keep improving. I’ll be here in New Orleans this summer for the most part, other than traveling to Ohio and Atlanta to see family." – Brian Roberts "He’s had spots this year where he’s been really effective. He’s had spots where he looks like a first-year guy. We’re just thankful that we can go to a guy like Brian in a pinch… where he plays big minutes and he produces. He has the capability of being a backup point guard (in the NBA), there’s no question. A lot of it is just fit, if he fits right with what we’re doing going forward. That’s something we’ll have to evaluate this summer." - Monty Williams What impressed you most about Roberts’ play during the second half of the 2012-13 season?

@RyanFlynn11: His ability to learn and to play a role. Really began to play better within the O. Less dribbling out valuable shot clock seconds.

@LoganLovesLyfe: He plays like a vet and it was only his first year in the NBA. Should have gotten more all rookie team consideration.