Season in Review 2015-16: Alonzo Gee
Pelicans.com continues its look back at the 2015-16 season with player-by-player analysis of the team:
New York rookie Kristaps Porzingis picked up several unusual descriptions in his first NBA season, including being called a “basketball unicorn” by Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant. From the New Orleans Pelicans’ perspective, Porzingis was inadvertently a one-man wreaker of havoc on March 28, accidentally causing season-ending injuries to Jrue Holiday and Alonzo Gee in the same game. Gee had made it through the first 73 games unscathed, but tore a quad muscle when he tried to dunk over Porzingis during the Pelicans’ 99-91 win (Holiday later sustained an orbital fracture when he ran into a Porzingis elbow on an inbounds play).
“It was tough, because I felt like I was just getting comfortable out there,” Gee said on the April 4 edition of the Black & Blue Report. “We were playing well, and I ended up getting hurt.
“I didn’t know what (the ruptured right quad injury) was. The doctors told me I tore a muscle in my quad. It’s a lot of pain.”
“I never experienced anything like this before,” Gee said of NOLA’s large number of injuries. “I’ve never been hurt in my career. To go through something like this, it’s crazy. We try our best to stay on the floor, (but) things happen. It’s been a tough year.”
Signed by New Orleans last summer for additional wing depth, Gee’s role increased intermittently over the course of the season, topped by starting all 15 games in December. As a variety of Pelicans were shuffled in and out of the mix based on health, Gee started at least three times in every month prior to his season-ending injury. The forward also unexpectedly ended up logging 14 percent of his minutes at shooting guard, according to play-by-play data from Basketball-Reference.com.
Gee’s elite athleticism makes him a tough defender and a formidable finisher of plays around the rim, but he’s not relied upon heavily for offensive production. However, in the two games before the collision with Porzingis, he scored 18 and 17 points, his top offensive outings of 2015-16. “I started getting to the basket,” he explained of the late-season uptick. “I don’t know why it kept getting easier and easier for me, but that’s what I did – put my head down and go to the basket every time I get the ball.”
Gee said the timetable for returning to the hardwood from his quad injury was 6-8 weeks, meaning he should be 100 percent soon. The former D-Leaguer, who’s been on six different NBA teams, has a player option for next season. If he opts in, he’ll be under contract with New Orleans. Otherwise, he’ll become a free agent.
TOP THREE ALONZO GEE GAMES OF 2015-16
#3, Nov. 22: New Orleans 122, Phoenix 116
Making his sixth start of the season, Gee delivered one of his best all-around games while logging 38 minutes vs. the Suns. The Alabama product had eight points, seven rebounds and a season-high five assists, as New Orleans won a second straight game after starting 1-11.
#2, March 24: Indiana 92, New Orleans 84
Gee helped keep a severely undermanned Pelicans team competitive by dropping in 17 points, the most he’d scored in a game since April 2013, when he tallied 19 points for Cleveland. Two nights later, Gee registered a season-high 18 points vs. Toronto.
#1, Jan. 23: New Orleans 116, Milwaukee 99
Gee’s 12 points were the most he scored in a New Orleans victory. He also grabbed six rebounds and dished out three assists in the Pelicans’ third straight win to open a seven-game homestand.
BEHIND THE NUMBERS
51.8: Field-goal percentage for Gee, the best of his career. His previous top season in that category was a rate of 47.5 as a Washington rookie. The 51.8 percent was second-best on the Pelicans in the regular season, behind only Omer Asik’s 53.3.
65: Dunks in 2015-16 for Gee, representing about 21 percent of his 305 baskets. By comparison, Anthony Davis threw down 147 slams out of 560 hoops, or 26 percent.
68.7: Percentage of Gee’s two-point baskets that were assisted in 2015-16, the highest rate of his seven-year NBA career. Particularly during the latter portion of the season, New Orleans’ guards found Gee for many easy scores.