There are times when Trevon Bluiett forgets how fast his career trajectory changed.
The undrafted New Orleans Pelicans swingman went from the outskirts of the team’s summer league rotation to their breakout star and No. 1 option. It led to a two-way contract with the franchise and put him position to work out alongside Anthony Davis the past two weeks.
All of it took just seven weeks to unfold.
“Sometimes I just don’t think about it, and I’m in the weight room and look next to me and say ‘Wow, I’m standing here right next to a top-five player in the NBA,' ” Bluiett said. “I’m just trying to learn and recognize this a huge step for me and know there’s still a long way to go.”
It all changed for Bluiett with the sound of a swish.
The former Xavier standout arrived at summer league as an afterthought in coach Kevin Hanson’s game plan but flipped the script when he came off the bench to convert 12 of his first 17 3-point attempts. It powered the Pelicans to a pair of wins and caught the attention of coach Alvin Gentry and general manager Dell Demps in the process.
By the time he departed Las Vegas, Bluiett already had inked a two-way contract, ensuring he’d be with the Pelicans for the start of training camp and that he'll split his time between the NBA and G-League during the 2018-19 season.
“All I know is that it’s a foot in the door,” Bluiett said. “I don’t look at it as, I signed a two-way so I’m good and everything is done. It’s just a foot in the door to get to my ideal goal. I just see it as a step, and a process, and getting the two-way contract was probably the best I could do, given where I started and now there are many steps to go.
“I’m grateful for it, but I just have to keep working.”
Bluiett returned to New Orleans two weeks ago to do just that.
He’s working out with Pelicans’ developmental and strength coaches in preparation for training camp, which opens in late September. He knows he’ll be bouncing back and forth when the season gets cranked up but relishes the opportunity to take reps in front of Gentry and his staff, hoping to continue his rapid ascent.
“It’s a totally different experience from July when I was just working and hoping to make the (summer league) team and get some minutes there,” Bluiett said. “It was a little bit more nerve-racking, whereas this time I’m a lot more comfortable because I’ve been around the team for a while and I know everyone, so I’m focusing on making improvements.
“The pressure is kind of off, because I’m not showing what I can do, and instead I’m able to really get myself into the mindset of trying to improve on the things I’m not doing well rather than just trying to prove I belong all of the time.”
Bluiett is working to expand his game beyond outside shooting, concentrating on his handling, passing and playmaking to become a more dynamic player.
But ultimately, his marksmanship is what got him into this position and likely will dictate his career path. In four years at Xavier, he made 319 3-pointers, fifth-most in Big East history, and was a consensus second-team All-American.
Considering the increasing emphasis placed on shooting, there’s ample room for Bluiett to find a steady home in the NBA if he out-performs his two-way contract, and it will likely be done from beyond the arc.
If he catches fire? Well, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s taken the NBA by surprise.
“I’m so focused on what’s next that it’s hard to think about it much, but it’s definitely a good feeling to know that I’m on pace to be where I want to,” Bluiett said. “At the same time, I can’t really reflect on that too long. Nothing is going to stop, and I have to keep up.”