Shootaround update by HUB International: New Orleans signs defense-first DeAndre Liggins to 10-day contract

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

MEMPHIS – Although New Orleans hasn’t sustained any longer-term injuries recently, a handful of Pelicans have been sidelined for an extended period of time. The silver lining of that predicament came Wednesday morning, when New Orleans was granted an injury exception to officially sign wing defender DeAndre Liggins.

The addition of Liggins via the injury-exception clause means that by rule, current injured players Tony Allen, Solomon Hill, Alexis Ajinca and rookie Frank Jackson all must be out of action for at least the next 10 days. They are joined on the Pelicans’ official injury report by Anthony Davis (right ankle), who is listed as doubtful to play against the Grizzlies.

Other notes from shootaround at FedEx Forum:

Liggins, who played previously this season for Milwaukee, on what he brings to a team: “Defensive tenacity, getting into the ball. Making it hard for teams to run their offense, guarding the point guard, making somebody else bring (the ball) up. Making other teams set two screens in the backcourt, to fluctuate their offense. That’s what I bring. A toughness.” …

The Pelicans now have a total of five players who went to the University of Kentucky with Liggins in the fold. Liggins on being surrounded by fellow Wildcats: “Right now it’s kind of like I’m at Kentucky again. To see Darius Miller, DeMarcus (Cousins) – Anthony Davis I didn’t play with, but it’s still like a family – (Rajon) Rondo, it’s a great group of guys. I’m happy to be here. Happy for another opportunity.” …

Liggins and Miller were roommates at Kentucky. “He’s kind of like my brother,” Liggins said of his three-year college teammate. “He’s a really good guy. I’m just happy to be around a good group of people.” …

New Orleans (20-19) ranks 24th in defensive efficiency entering Wednesday’s game against Memphis (12-27). Liggins understands that he was brought in to help on that end of the floor, saying “Coach (Alvin Gentry) talked to me before shootaround about how we need a guy to get into the ball (defensively). That’s why I’m in the league. I’m defense-first. Of course I can knock down shots. I’ve just got to continue to have confidence in (shooting), and I’ll be fine.” …

Miller on Liggins: “Defensively, he’s one of the best players I’ve played with. His overall attitude will be good for the team, in a lot of different ways. But his energy, I think we’ll feed off of it. Offensively, he makes smart plays and is very good at attacking the rim.”