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The New Orleans Pelicans Are Ready To Soar

The New Orleans Pelicans: You may not like the sound of the new name but
Pelicans

get used to it because this team is about to make some noise, the New Orleans Pelicans are about to take a big leap in the Western Conference.

In December of 2011 the Pelicans formerly known as the Hornets traded their superstar point guard Chris Paul to the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul was not happy and wanted to play in a bigger market with better players. After Paul’s departure the Hornets had another tough year finishing 21-45 which was last place in the Western Conference, due to this record the Hornets would have the highest chance of landing the first overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and trying to rebuild their franchise with a potential star player. The Hornets lucked out and received the first pick in the NBA Draft.

In the 2012 NBA Draft The Pelicans Hornets selected 6-10 Forward Anthony Davis with the no.1 overall pick with the vision that Davis will one day become a superstar who they can build a team around and contend for NBA championships. Davis had a ton of a hype coming into the league after winning the College Player of The Year in 2011-12 playing for the John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats and than playing for the Olympic Gold Medalist Team USA Mens Basketball team in the 2012 summer Olympics in London a team which featured the NBA’s best players LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Kevin Durant.

Davis had a ton of pressure on him to turn this franchise around, however he missed 11 games early in the season and ultimately missed 22 games for the entire season due to injuries. Davis had a good Rookie season, he averaged 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 1.8 BPG and was selected to the All-Rookie first team. He didn’t win Rookie Of The Year but Davis is only 20 years old and if he stays healthy has the potential to be an All-Star and the best big man in the game.

After finishing 27-55 the Hornets knew they had to a long ways to go, they would have to make some big moves and put some more good players around Davis if they wanted to be a Playoff team one day. That they did. First they changed the entire brand and name of the team to the Pelicans, new jerseys, new mascot and a fresh culture.

The Pelicans made some big moves this off season, they have acquired talent that has the ability to take them to the next level and as crazy as it may sound even make the playoffs this season. They first acquired Tyreke Evans from the Sacramento Kings for Vasquez and Robyn Lopez  in a sign and trade deal, Evans than signed a four year $44 million extension with Pelicans.

Evans the 2009-10 NBA Rookie Of The Year is a 6-6 guard who has one of the nicest handles in the NBA, the skilled guard has had a solid NBA career playing for the Kings. The 23 year old averaged 20, 6 and 5 in his rookie season and was the best player in a stacked rookie class that included Blake Griffin, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Brandon Jennings and Jrue Holiday. After his incredible rookie year The Kings had high hopes that Evans would become an All-Star that could be the face of the franchise; instead things went the opposite direction. The Sacramento Kings stayed at the bottom of the West and Evans stats got worse every year, he was bothered by a foot injury and had some run ins with the law.

Evans however he has great potential and can be a premier player in the league if he develops a jump shot. His career averages of 17.5 PPG, 4.8 APG and 4.8 RPG should increase now that he has a much better team around him. The Pelicans have faith in Tyreke which is why they payed him $44 million, however he will have to accept his role as the sixth man.

Head coach Monty Williams has made it clear to Evan’s what his role will be with this team:

“I’d like to get him in the game for 28 to 30 minutes a game,” Williams said. “That would be optimum for us. That would keep him fresh but also keep him on the floor.

“Now, that changes because of circumstance. But I think guys are more concerned with minutes than they are with starting. And I think guys are concerned with finishing the game.”

If Evans embraces his role as the sixth man and takes pride in being one of the best players off the bench than the Pelicans will be one of the most dangerous teams in the west.

After adding Tyreke Evans the next big addition was a huge move for the Pelicans, on Draft night they took Nerlens Noel with the sixth overall pick and immediately traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers for All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday. This move made it clear which direction the Pelicans management is heading, they want to win now! Jrue Holiday is coming off a career year in which he averaged 17.7 PPG, 8.0 APG and 4.2 RPG and was selected to his first All-Star team, Holiday transformed into one of the leagues best point guards last season and now he is going to be the leader of this young Pelicans team.

Holiday will have much more talent around him this season, he will get a lot of the shooters on the Pelicans open shots and will be making big plays with Anthony Davis. The Pelicans back court will be exciting to watch this season! With Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday expected to be the starting guards and Tyreke Evans coming off the bench teams will have to be locked in defensively because these guys are all attackers and the Pelicans will have an energetic back court all game long. Holiday proved last season that he is one of the premier point guards in the NBA and he hasn’t even scratch the surface yet, the skilled duo of Davis and Holiday has potential to be one of the great 1-2 punches for years to come.

Jrue’s back court mate Eric Gordon who has been ailed by injuries in his 4 year NBA career is going to have to stay healthy, he has only played in 107 games in the last three seasons, mostly because of his right knee injury. Like Evans, Gordon was expected to be one of the premier guards in the NBA but injuries have held him back a bit. He has potential to be one of the best scorers in the NBA and has had big scoring games in his career, he is a scorer first and his career average of 18.0 PPG would certainly be higher if he was in a rhythm and actually stayed healthy.

The Pelicans are hoping Gordon plays his first full season in the NBA and gets back to his 2010-11 form in which he averaged 22 ppg playing for the Clippers. This could be one of the most dangerous back courts in the league if Gordon plays all year, he will get better looks than ever with Holiday running the point.

New Orleans also added sharpshooter Anthony Morrow this off season and with already one of the best shooting forwards in the league in Ryan Anderson these two guys will stretch the floor and will benefit greatly playing alongside Holiday. Austin Rivers is a young guard who has potential to be one of the premier scorers in the league as well, he is a great guy to have if Tyreke or Gordon are hurt. Head coach Monty Williams is excited about this team and the New Orleans fans should be as well.

This team is going to surprise people, the Pelicans are ready to take a big step forward. Compare this team to the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2009-10 when they went from one of the worst teams in the NBA the previous season to a Playoff team, the young core of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook was going to win games it was just a matter of when! In 2010-11 they went to the Western Conference Finals and than in 2012 they were in the Finals cementing themselves as one of the powerhouses in the NBA.

Though this team doesn’t have a scorer like Kevin Durant they do have Anthony Davis who is going to be one the games best big men in a few years, his growth will be identical to Durant’s. The Pelicans are arguably a more deep than that Thunder team from 2010, they have a stronger core but they just have to stay healthy. They can be one of the best young teams in the NBA this season.

PG- Jrue Holiday
SG- Eric Gordon
SF- Al-Farouq Aminu
PF- Ryan Anderson
C- Anthony Davis

Sixth Man: Tyreke Evans

This is a solid core, all of these guys haven’t even scratched the surface yet as players and are in a good situation in New Orleans. The culture there is changing and they know they have something special to work with, expect the Pelicans to be one of the best young teams that show a lot of promise for their future in the coming season..

This team is young but they are experienced, they are not afraid of the moment. Holiday is an All-Star, Davis is an Olympic Gold Medalist, Ryan Anderson is entering his sixth season in the NBA and Eric Gordon is entering his fifth. This team has the talent and potential to grab one of the final spots in the Western Conference seeding.

Of course a lot of their success will depend on their franchise player Anthony Davis who has been getting compared to Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett early in his career.Jrue Holiday will be better than ever with a better roster around him and if Gordon and Evans stay healthy they will have one of the best back courts in the West.

As tough as it is in the Western Conference Head Coach Monty Williams knows that he has a team that can catch a Playoff spot. This team is young, hungry and talented and they are the next big thing in the Western Conference, just watch.

 

By: Ekam.N

1 Comment

  1. hey

    February 24, 2016 at 3:34 pm

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