The soft parade has now begun
Listen to the engines hum
People out to have some fun
A cobra on my left
Leopard on my right
— The Doors, The Soft Parade
New Orleans Pelicans News
Last week, the Pelicans signed Lance Thomas (again) and forward Arinze Onuaku. Both players seem to have been signed to unguaranteed 2-year deals for the minimum. When we learn the guarantee details, we’ll pass them along.
Al-Farouq Aminu and the Nigerian national team cooled after a hot start, losing to both Senegal and Cape Verde, placing them out of the next World Cup. They play Morocco for seventh place in the tournament.
The New Orleans Pelicans are having success in their offseason team activities.
Although Pelicans training camp is still one month away, the atmosphere during the team’s recent voluntary workouts has been closer to that of mid-season intensity. With a large group of players choosing to come to New Orleans for ultra-early preparations, they’ve nearly been able to put 10 current Pelicans players on the floor at once. For example, there were nine Pelicans at the Alario Center on Thursday, including Davis, Rivers, Tyreke Evans, Darius Miller, Arinze Onuaku, Brian Roberts, Jason Smith, Lance Thomas and Jeff Withey.
The Pelicans had some players in to work out, but no players have been signed yet. We’ll keep you posted.
Around Bourbon Street Shots
Since the last news roundup, we’ve had a Trew to the Game where he fielded questions from readers on twitter. It was so fun, I thought I would shamelessly ape this for the Voices this week.
`Voices’ of the People
@BourbonStShots @christrew since my tweet was picked, obviously it was awesome. I want more posts featuring me. Next time though, more me
@Trew2TheGame @BourbonStShots After seeing #Suns uniforms I like #Pelicans a lot better. Wow remember it could always be worse.
@BourbonStShots how about a shoutout for a young sports writer trying to make it in this game.. love the pelicans.. thank you! #NOLA
The Jackson stash, the Thomas waive and re-sign, the Onuaku signing, the ongoing tryouts are all quiet preparations for the upcoming season. Slightly less quiet is the 5-on-5 game series the Pelicans are running in fully voluntary workouts. Thomas may not be a difference-maker on the NBA court in his 10 minutes per game (2012-2013 stat), but he’s making a huge difference on the practice court since he’s adding part of those 5-on-5 drills, as is Onuaku.
So, how much difference do these signings make? You can’t tell just by looking at their line in the box score this season.
The Pelicans intend to move practices to their practice facility in the coming weeks. The move home. They’ll be at a top flight facility on campus with the rest of the organization, the Saints, and the owners.
How much difference will that make?
I beat this drum for a long time and will continue to paradiddle until they teach the fact in kindergarten. People, myself included, often refer to the little things, but sometimes this is incorrect. These so-called little things are really huge potentially. The investment, however, is often removed from the payoff, making the move `quiet’. The changes are sometimes slow which adds to the silence.
Compare player development to that from however many years ago. Use of other leagues. Maximal use of offseasons. Judicious use of cap space.
Fans are often focused on the draft because of the lure of the franchise-changing player coming into an organization on a good contract and under control for many years. They also focus on trades since many top teams improve through trades due to their cap situation as it relates to the CBA. Certainly drafting and trading are important, but so are a myriad of other things. These moves don’t require acknowledgement or praise, of course.
Still, these quiet moves are a necessary part of any eventual success.
Remember, it’s not about Lance Thomas, Ryan Anderson, Monty Williams, Tom Benson, Chris Paul, or Eric Gordon. It’s about Anthony Davis. Full stop.