Precarious

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Published: November 20, 2013
Precarious

I was gambling in Havana
I took a little risk
Send lawyers, guns and money
Dad, get me out of this

– Warren Zevon, Lawyers, Guns, and Money (RIP Warren)

New Orleans Pelicans News

The New Orleans Pelicans had a down-and-up week, going 1-3 over the past week, bringing their record to 4-6 with 72 left to play. Despite the large number of games yet to be played and the absence of Ryan Anderson, fans were despondent after the losses, though they were buoyed by the return of the forward and the return to the win column after losing 3 straight to start the week.

The Pelicans lost their second game to the Phoenix Suns this season just 5 days after losing their first. The Pelicans lost each quarter, losing the game 101-94. The Pelicans then lost to the Los Angeles Lakers 116-95 just four days after defeating them in the teams’ first meeting. As it turns out, this game was the first game at the Staples Center for the Lakers that was not sold out in a looong time. The next night, the Pelicans gave the Utah Jazz their first win of the season. Despite leading the former Louisiana team by 10 at the half, the Pelicans lost 111-105. Then, the return of Ryan Anderson coupled with an foot injury to Michael Carter-Williams led to a thorough victory over the Philadelphia 76′ers, 135-98. The Pelicans did not lose a quarter and had their 100th point in the third quarter.

Also, five New Orleans Pelicans made the 2014 NBA All-Star Game Ballot: Ryan Anderson, Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Anthony Davis.

Lance Thomas and Arinze Onuaku (and their unguaranteed deals) were waive this week, and Josh Childress and Lou Amundson were signed (presumably to unguaranteed minimum salary deals). Amundson has already seen about 40 minutes of action, Childress about 6 minutes. Onuaku has been a project, but Lance Thomas was a long-term project; he’ll be missed.

Greg Stiemsma suffered a knee injury in the loss to the Lakers when Eric Gordon ran into the screen-setting Stiemsma. Per the Pelicans:

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that Greg Stiemsma suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain in his left knee. An MRI confirmed the injury, which occurred during the second quarter of Tuesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers. Stiemsma is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Darius Miller’s return could be 2 weeks away or less.

Amid claims of record-setting ticket sales, the Pelicans have been continuing efforts to increase ticket sales and the use of tickets once purchased.

Also, the Pelicans, Saints and Chevron release the following announcement regarding support for NORDC:

In partnership with the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, Chevron announced today its support for New Orleans Recreation Development Commission’s (NORDC) football, basketball and cheerleading programs. Through the collective contributions of Chevron, the Saints and Pelicans, the partnership will provide uniforms, equipment and funding to expand NORDC’s recreational leagues for local youth.

This season, more than 3,000 New Orleans youth are participating in the NORDC football leagues, while the basketball program hosts more than 1,000 participants at 28 NORDC playgrounds. Cheerleading is currently offered at nine NORDC playgrounds across the city, with 16 squads open to participants ages 5 -14.

“Chevron is committed to promoting healthy community initiatives for all ages, which is why we have been a longstanding supporter of NORDC since its inception in 2010,” said Warner Williams, vice president, Chevron North America Gulf of Mexico. “We are proud to be a part of this partnership to expand the safe and healthy recreational programs offered by NORDC.”

“Both the Saints and Pelicans are committed to ensuring that our local youth are focused on living healthy and active lives. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to partner with Chevron, a great civic and corporate citizen in the Gulf South, to further grow the impact of that mission,” said Saints and Pelicans Owner/Vice Chairman of the Board Rita Benson LeBlanc. “In addition to having a place to be active and exercise, athletic programs like those hosted by NORDC give children the opportunity to develop self-confidence, a sense of purpose and determination both individually and with their teammates. The traits they learn and develop will establish a foundation for future success both on and off the playing field or court.”

“Our city’s future depends on our ability to provide our children with safe places to learn, play and thrive,” said Mayor Landrieu. “With the ongoing support of local partners, like Chevron, Saints and the Pelicans, we continue to enhance NORDC’s recreational programming and to create a better New Orleans.”

“We see firsthand how our athletic programs build physical health, community engagement and self-esteem in kids of all ages and levels of ability,” said Vic Richard, NORDC CEO. “Because of generous partners like the New Orleans Saints, Pelicans and Chevron, we’ll be able to continue offering these impactful programs.”

For more information on NORDC athletic programs, visit www.nola.gov/nordc or call (504) 658-3037.

Around Bourbon Street Shots

On this week’s episode of In the NO, Ryan and Michael discuss the losses, the win, and what it may all mean for the coming games and season.

On the technical side of things, we have articles about the offense, defense, and Tyreke Evans.

On the lighter side, there are recaps of social media, some funny videos, and exuberance after the Philadelphia game.

`Voices’ of the People

I’ll be a little contrary just to elucidate the issue. Is it the case that if opposing teams are routinely giving Pels shooters wide open looks from 15-18ft, they should pass on the shots? Has the NBA progressed to where what was formerly a cardinal sin–leaving shooters open for good shots–is now a organized defensive strategy to bait the opposing team? I understand the importance of the three ball, but nailing 18-footers should cause the defense to rotate at some point as well, creating driving lanes. It may sound simplistic, but I just think we aren’t finishing at the rim and are not shooting well enough early in the season. Our high 3-pt percentage could be a function of not jacking up a lot of junk heaves from behind the arc.

New City

Let’s stop making excuses for lazy play… These guys aren’t focused probably trying to figure each other out and Tyreke Evans has and cannot replace the role Anderson plays on this team… last season probably second in minutes on the court… on a more veteran team perhaps not as much of an impact… Then I am curious about the growth of Darius Miller… as a perimeter defender and scorer….

It’s far too early in the season to worry… we play better at home and some of this is OJT for guys like Evans….

xman20002000

Best thing Ryan Anderson does on defense is he is a SMART defender. All of his rotations were correct, all of his closeouts were strong. He may not be a good man to man defender, but as a team defender he is what we needed.

This team still needs one more big. If any of our three bigs goes down, the drop off is DRAMATIC. I really wish he would play Aminu as our 4th big in small ball lineups more often and put Amundson in only if we are playing against a team with a big bruiser down low.

Great win. That is all.

David LeBoeuf

42 Sense

Just after Eric Gordon returned to basketball action this preseason, I gave some cautionary words and noted that he would be under extreme scrutiny. Not even two weeks later, I made the following statement:

Eric Gordon plays at least 30 minutes per game in at least 63 games. Eric has several incentives to play well this season and following with respect to getting his next contract, and has spent the bulk of two seasons focusing on his health. My bold prediction is that investment combined with incentives leads to a favorable outcome for all.

I was called negative in the former case, overly positive in the latter, but I don’t feel either statement is true, nor do I see a contradiction here . . . It is possible to take account of the past, including signs of improvement . . . likewise, it is perfectly acceptable for a player perform quite well under unblinking eyes.

Let’s check on our patient to see if our patience is paying off:

So far this season, Eric Gordon is averaging 30.6 minutes per game and has started all 10 regular season games in which the Pelicans have played. Noting the small sample size of 306 minutes, the following should be viewed with caution along with optimism.

Eric Gordon is having the best season of his career.

In terms of the stats sheet, Eric Gordon is posting a career high 3P% (18 of 41, or 43.9%), 3P/36m (2.1), rebounding/36m (3.5 total), steals/36m (2.8), and a career low in turnovers/36m (2.0). In most other categories, he is near or above his career averages except 2P% which is at a career low (0.411). He is also posted career highs in PER (20.3) and WS/48 (0.147), showing this deficiency has not, in terms of these two summary statistics, harmed Eric’s contributions to the point of this not being (on track for) his best season to date.

In terms of the eye test, Eric Gordon is showing fire, explosiveness, and leadership. Gordon has dived for loose balls, improved his defensive activity, is working with teammates, and has at times been the lone source of life on this Pelicans team even after the tide had turned against them in some games. He has shown leadership on the court, particularly when Davis is not on the floor, and has done so in the way Monty is on record as preferring: on defense.

Lastly, Gordon is making his way into more and more team media. Thus, the team is placing more and more trust not only in him, but in the fact that he can turn the fanbase’s opinion of him from extreme frustration to something positive on average.

Anything can happen, so he could miss the remaining 72 games due to the flare up of some old injury or a series of brand new ones. He could also play 82 games, light up the scoreboard, and actually have the best game of his career.

It’s been a good 10 games. Let’s check in around game 20.

3 comments
Pelican Poster
Pelican Poster

Well first game Gordon struggled in a bit tonight vs Jazz...Heyward was on him most of the night and it looked to me that Heyward's height advantage led to Gordon's struggles...neither he nor Heyward shot well tonight, especially Heyward who had numerous opportunities with open looks yet still finished only 1-17...

loudlikepat
loudlikepat

Eric Gordon has been amazing so far. So happy that he's healthy both physically. He and AD have been the two most consistent players on this team. It's really awesome to see the turnaround this year.

xman20002000
xman20002000

@loudlikepat Well we should expect as much of EG considering his max contract and background...  Gordon and Derrick Rose were known as Mr. Indiana and Mr. Illinois of Basketball... His issue with the Suns was just good business netting a few more million out of the Pelicans... so fans don't like the tactic .... so what...