One Step Closer

Published: October 18, 2013

One step closer to the promised land
Your mind’s a liar again
One step closer to the bleeding heart
A bandage for the wound

— Saigon Kick, One Step Closer

New Orleans Pelicans News

The New Orleans Pelicans have gone 2-0 since the last news piece, bringing their preseason record to 5-0. The Pelicans trounced the Hawks 105-73 Sunday in Biloxi, then eked out enough points to defeat the Thunder in Tulsa 105-102.

The record itself is fairly meaningless, but player health and development is not. Starting with the bad news, Jason Smith has a hip impingement, which means part of his femur is abnormally contacting his hip. This potentially causes pain and limitations on range of motion. Depending on the root cause, physical therapy can relieve the condition or surgery may be necessary. The range of surgeries can vary from arthroscopic surgery to procedures that are open and reshape the contours of the bones.

A step better from that is Tyreke Evans, who, while he has not returned to play, continues to practice and has had no reported setbacks. Also, no additional word on Darius Miller, who we assume is on track to return in a few weeks.

The nearly good news is that Eric Gordon returned to action and played well. He scored 21 points on 9 shots in 21 minutes. On the bad side, he had 3 turnovers, but this is to be expected when a player is returning to action.

This Saturday, the Pelicans play the Wizards at the University of Kentucky. The game tips at 6 pm CT (UTC -5) and will have radio coverage. There could be League Pass coverage, but most games will be on FSNO or national outlets once the regular season starts, so your missing-the-Pelicans pain should be short-lived.

Around Bourbon Street Shots

Michael and Ryan discuss the preseason, including the Hawks game with Michael Pellissier on this week’s In the NO podcast.

On the analysis front, the over-reaction to Jrue Holiday’s early turnovers is considered and dismissed.

NBA Rank has finally assigned a rank to all Pelicans players. The writers discuss the rankings, and Michael Pellissier looks at what the rankings may be saying about the outlook for the season.

Gerry V told us that he’s resisting the temptation to look at preseason record and statistics and withholding judgment until he sees regular season play.

Lastly, Chris Trew makes some suggestions for hype clips for the Pelicans after they make a shot in this week’s Trew to the Game.

`Voices’ of the People

9/12 from 3 in the 1st half? :vomit: Haven’t seen any of the games, but can anyone speak to the defensive system? Doubt Monty has shown much, but does it appear to be the same or have they made some tweaks with new talent?


Gerry your perspective is correct but what we all believe is happening is the foundation being belt for all of those important basketball and team factors to be established in the regular season the could lead to a chance at the post season. The first step is play well together and win. A victory in the preseason is just that for sure but we are seeing something develop.


Tyreke has as good a chance to crack the top 50 if he stays healthy. Both he & Gordon are gifted players but Tyreke is better at attacking and finishing. Kudos to Dell for putting us in a position to even have these conversations


42 Sense

The return of Eric Gordon is far more important to the season than any statistic or game outcome in the preseason, just his second since being traded to New Orleans.

The most important thing, however, is not how he played. It’s also not that he played. The most important thing is if he can make it through the preseason without any more ankle or knee incidents of any kind. No rest. No special this or whatever that. The most important thing is that Eric Gordon be 100% available to `be 100%’ for, say, 75 regular season games (and the postseason, if necessary). While playing throughout the balance of the preseason will not guarantee future performance, a failure to do so would erode some hope that could be building up about Gordon in his third season in New Orleans.

As the teams most highly-paid player and under contract for 3 more seasons (the last being a player option), his failure to perform this season will drag on the team’s performance, salary, and morale. Such a failure would not only mark the third straight year of fan disappoint in the guard, but also would mar the team’s first season as the New Orleans Pelicans, just as the sudden revelation on opening night last season that he would not play marred Tom Benson’s first full season as an NBA owner.

From Gordon’s perspective, failing to perform this season would make 3 straight season hobbled by injury, and this would be nearly impossible to overcome in terms of landing another high-dollar contract before his current contract expires. While his NBA earnings would be around $70m if he picks up his player option, the ability to pick up another $50m – $80m in his next contract rather than $0m – $20m should provide incentive enough to power through this season . . . if he is physically able.

Performing well this season and next would give a good run of length equal to his time underperforming in New Orleans and could sway teams to offer him a contract by the time his option decision is made. If not, a third year of good performance and availability would certainly bring some suitors a-knocking.

Gordon has shown flashes of great play, but his instability has made his net contribution somewhere in the middle-half of the NBA. He will need to sustain those flashes to up his value to NBA teams, whether the Pelicans or some other team in terms of trade potential or his value as a free agent.

Every Pelicans fan should be rooting for Gordon to play well (or better) and remain healthy regardless of opinion of how he fits on this team. It is rational to doubt that he’ll remain healthy and to conclude that he is healthy and ready to perform given his 2 years that have been mostly dedicated to improving his health. The fan base will be polarized if he plays well. If he fails to play well, the time for excuses will have passed. Hope for him providing value in any capacity will be dashed. If he contributes eventually following more health drama, his potential value will never be realized.

For most players, it is how they perform on the court. For Eric Gordon, it’s about every day. Every day fans, players, and executives will wonder if his knee is sore, if his ankle is swelling, or if there’s not new joint ailment.

Every day, starting yesterday through the end of the season (or post-season). Strap it and grab some snacks . . . this is going to be a long ride . . .


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