Anthony Davis and Darius Miller are coming home.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Washington Wizards will square off tonight in the University of Kentucky’s Rupp Arena, where UK alums Anthony Davis and Darius Miller will play for the first time since their national title run a couple years ago. UK has enjoyed a wealth of NBA talent, particularly since John Calipari started coaching there. The Wizards’ John Wall is another UK alumnus.
While much of the preseason has been spent evaluating what looks like Anthony Davis’ forthcoming leap into stardom, Jrue Holiday’s arrival, Tyreke Evans’ injury, and Eric Gordon’s health, I feel like one player has been underappreciated. Ryan Anderson was a consistent force on a 2012-13 New Orleans squad that struggled to find an identity, but with all the new arrivals, seems to be almost forgotten.. and that’s not okay with me.
David Fisher of “The Bird Writes” linked me to a Drew Garrison article and video that detailed just how good Anderson was at getting open for 3s last season, and it is a must-share. Ryno’s skill set meshes extremely well with Anthony Davis’s ability to rim-run and the driving ability of Gordon, Jrue, Evans, and Rivers.
When you watch this video, project what it will look like with quicker, more aggressive guards. Look for plays in which Anderson moves against the motion of the offense, moving from the mid-range area up to the 3 point line as Davis crashes to the rim. This simultaneous motion is extremely hard to guard and should be a nightmare to defend. Also notice how many of these are designed plays, often with Lopez/Smith setting screens for Anderson to pop out to 3 or Anderson slipping screens on pick and rolls.
After a season in which I spent a lot of time complaining about Gordon settling for jumpers, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge Gordon’s excellent performance in limited minutes versus the Thunder. He was aggressive in attacking the basket and I loved it. I believe that he is expected to play again tonight.
**********Update***********Jason Smith, Darius Miller, and Tyreke Evans were expected to sit out tonight, but a Jason Smith Twitter update says differently.
Here are some things to look for as the Pelicans attempt to continue their perfect preseason.
1) Will Ryno/AD get time together, and does the offense appear to have better spacing? How do the Pelicans hold up on the defense with these two playing together?
2) Who is guarding John Wall? Wall is extremely fast and was one of the only players I saw Eric Gordon struggle to keep up with around screens last year.
3) Is Gordon again relentlessly attacking the basket, or is he settling for jumpers?
4) Can Al-Farouq Aminu continue taking and making jumpers with confidence?
What does it mean that the Pelicans just exercised the team's third year option on AD 23 and Austin Rivers?
Will definitely be interesting to see whether Gordon will finally live up to that big contract he signed just a couple short years ago.
My favorite part of that video besides Ryan Anderson how awesome Ryan Anderson is, is definitely the "I don't understand it" and "Don't leave Ryan Anderson" mixed into the song. I wish I could set that as my ring tone.
@Come On Pelican every 1st rounder has team options on their 3rd and 4th years in the league. Essentially, the team has the power to cut the contract for the 3rd and 4th years.
So the Pelicans picking up the options on Rivers and Davis means that they will be under contract for the 14-15 season. Next year, they will have another opportunity to cut them.. which if course, isn't happening.
@slapdoghoops talent's there. Crossing my fingers and trying to stay positive.
@Ludiculous48 I remember hearing that during the game. Sacramento's defense was terrible and Ryno was getting open 3 after open 3. They were so confused.