The New Orleans Pelicans found a pivotal contributor to their group in Jose Alvarado, and his rise to stardom has been nothing short of sweet.

From his confidence as a shooter to his pesty defensive motives, Alvarado has rightfully earned himself a roster spot in today’s NBA. Of course, Alvarado’s success doesn’t happen if he didn’t stick with the grind it takes to make it in the toughest League in the world.

Alvarado’s competitive fire was forged in Brooklyn, NY, where he learned that setting himself apart from opponents was essential. He carried those lessons to draft workouts with the Toronto Raptors in 2021; Alvarado had a mental edge that impressed 2019 NBA Finals champion Fred Van-Vleet.

“It was probably the best draft workout I’ve ever seen,” VanVleet recollects from the Raptors 2021 workout with Alvarado and now Portland Trail Blazer guard Trendon Watford. “Just the energy, the spirit, the competitiveness. And I just remember watching him [Alvarado] like, ‘I remember being like that.’ You know what I mean? I could see myself in him. Just the mentality.”

Though the defensive wonder never suited up for the Raptors, it was only a matter of time until a team like the Pelicans would take their chances to build for a playoff push.

In July of 2021, the Pelicans signed Alvarado to a two-way contract, and it paid dividends once they reached the 2022 playoffs as an 8th seed. Though they didn’t win their series against the Phoenix Suns, the Pelicans took the one-seeded Suns to six games behind the pressure Alvarado imposed on Chris Paul.

“There’s no time to take plays off; there’s no time to be emotional,” Van-Vleet said. “You’ve just gotta come in and make a mark. And that’s something I was obviously able to do and something I’m watching Jose do.”

Alvarado has now earned the nickname ‘Grand Theft Alvarado’ and he keeps living up to that reputation because of his steals from the opposing team’s inbound so far this season.

Van-Vleet is noticing the heart Alvarado shows on a nightly basis, and it won’t be long until the rest of the League puts their flowers on the hustle Alvarado provides to the Pels. A defensive anchor like Alvarado may one day see New Orleans basketball at the mountaintop of the NBA.

“You don’t want nobody to go in your house and take something from you and walk out in front of you, right?” Alvarado said. “So that’s how it is. You go play defense.”

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