Pelicans bring in 7-foot center Jerome Jordan to bulk up frontcourt _lowres

Associated Press file photo by Duane Burleson -- The Pelicans signed 7-foot, 253-pound center Jerome Jordan, right, to add size to their frontcourt while Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca are out with injuries.

Jerome Jordan might not make the Pelicans.

For now, though, he’ll make the Pelicans bigger.

Size was the primary motivation, New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said, in the Pelicans’ decision to sign the 7-foot center, a transaction the team officially announced in a release Sunday.

With starting center Omer Asik and backup Alexis Ajinca battling injuries, Gentry said, the Pelicans needed to bulk up their frontcourt. Jordan, who has played for the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, fits the bill at 7-foot, 253 pounds.

Jordan is a “pretty good shot-blocker, pretty good rim protector,” Gentry said, adding that Jordan has the ability to face up and make jump shots, a benefit in Gentry’s system.

None of that guarantees a roster spot for Jordan, who was with the Pelicans at Sunday’s practice, but he’ll have a chance to prove that he can help the team while Asik (calf strain) and Ajinca (hamstring strain) work their way back from injuries.

Though the Pelicans announced last week that Ajinca was expected to miss four to six weeks and Asik three weeks, those are estimates, and there’s no exact timetable for either center’s return.

“We’ll just take a good solid look at (Jordan) and see,” Gentry said. “But more than anything, we needed more size to practice. We don’t know how long Lexi or Omer’s gonna be out. We have a general idea, but we don’t know, so we just brought him in for a little protection.”

Four is enough

The Pelicans will play their third preseason game Monday in Chicago, and if Gentry had his way, they’d be winding down the exhibition season.

As it is, they haven’t yet hit the halfway point.

New Orleans will play seven preseason games this month, and Gentry would like to see the NBA cut into that number.

“If you ask me, honestly, I think four preseason games would be plenty,” Gentry said. “If you did play four preseason games, you would be forced to play all your good players. So when you play in Jacksonville or some place like that, the people that come, the fans that come, would be able to see the players that they came to see play. But in this situation, a lot of times those guys are gonna play 15, 20 minutes.”

Gentry isn’t expecting that take to effect change.

“It’s just my opinion, which carries a whole lot of weight in the league,” Gentry joked. “I’m sure they’re concerned.”

No panic

Ryan Anderson is adjusting to a new system, a new role, a new coach. That’s a process, and the Pelicans’ forward is patient.

So he’s not stressing about his sluggish shooting start to the preseason.

Through two preseason games, Anderson is 1-for-11 from the floor, including 0-for-4 from 3-point range. That qualifies as a rocky start for Anderson, a career 42.2 percent shooter and 37.9 percent 3-point shooter.

“(Defenders) aren’t gonna leave me, so that’s something that I need to realize,” Anderson said. “It’s not always about me scoring the ball when I’m out on the court. I can really spread the court and create open lanes. Me making shots will come. It’s preseason. Nobody’s gonna remember what I shot, even if I miss every shot in the preseason, which I hope I don’t.”