Pelicans’ Injuries Freeze Their Progress

Published: December 9, 2013

No release from my cryonic state
What is this? I’ve been stricken by fate
Wrapped up tight, cannot move, can’t break free
Hand of doom has a tight grip on me

— Metallica, Trapped Under Ice

New Orleans Pelicans News

This past week, the Pelicans have gone 1-2, bringing their record to 9-10. They just barely poked above 0.500 after going 9-8 following their hard-fought game in Chicago, but then dropped 2 games, sinking them back below the waterline.

The 131-128 3OT win over the Bulls was a crazy one. After the Pelicans forced overtime after Holiday scored the team’s 103rd point that night, the runs lined up just right, along with some bad calls, to keep the game going and going and going. Fouls eventually started taking their tolls, but the Pelicans held on to end the number of extra minutes at 15.

The losses started against the hated Mavericks, as the Pelicans dropped this close one, 100-97. The Pelicans shot poorly from 3 early, but kept with it, to their credit. They fouled and turned the ball over too much, however, and those empty possessions added up, as they lost the game by only 3, losing the final quarter by 5. The final 3 point heave to force the fourth overtime frame in 2 games was close, but not close enough.

The 109-95 loss to the Thunder was worse than the score lets on in a couple of respects. First, the Pelicans were up 22-11 with 5 minutes to go in the first, but the quarter ended with the Thunder outscoring the home team 13-4. They lose the next quarters by 8, 6, and 2 respectively. The Pelicans continued to rebound well, but they continued to give up too many shots, and Anderson struggled from 3 (1 of 6 on the night). Westbrook and Durant were too much for the depleted Pelicans, which became further depleted when they lost Evans to a sprained ankle.

Expect word on Evans Monday. Unofficially, his x-rays were negative for a break, but we do not know if an MRI has shown something more specific than a generic sprain.

Around Bourbon Street Shots

On this week’s In the NO, Ryan and Michael recap the week and discuss, among other things, the injury to Davis. This occupied Michael all week. He was up, considering comparisons between this season and that of 2006 for the franchise, and down, as he and I discussed the clear downsides to this injury with a few of the silver linings.

This week’s Trew 2 the Game was a “Get Well” to Davis, and Pellissier showed that Ryan Anderson is the Pelicans’ best shot to get well in the meantime.

Jake Madison took two looks this week, one on how Jrue Holiday is adjusting to his new team, the other on changes in the offense in general.

Lastly, Ryan looks at some changes that that needs to be made, and they are not to the offense.

`Voices’ of the People

Aminu, verb [Ah-me-nu] : to tease by showing glimpses of great potential, but only when someone is ready to give up on you.

Ex) “I was about to fire that new salesman, and then he aminued me by making one big sale, so I decided to give him another chance. I should have fired him.”


“They hedge too far on the pick and roll and allow it to be split regularly.”

Jason Smith is worse than anyone in the NBA in this regard. He defends well at the basket, but for some reason wants to defend the 3-point line. Those horrible instincts make him the primary reason for the Pelicans defensive problems – put them in really difficult situations on rotations, and make him one of the worst defensive bigs in the league.


Jrue looks exponentially more comfortable the last two weeks compared to the start of the season, when I’ll admit, I was beginning to regret that trade. You can tell he’s letting his skill take over and becoming a lot more assertive. Also, he’s got one of the more impressive off-hand finishes I’ve seen in the league. Hopefully some of our other players (…Austin Rivers) are taking note.


42 Sense

With the recent injuries to Davis and Evans, the earlier injuries to Evans and Anderson, and the looming fear of the Eric Gordon injuries, some Pelicans fans feel the team is cursed, has bad luck, or perhaps has horrible medical staff.

While I do not think any of those things is true, I also can not prove or disprove them, mostly because I think these things are just myths (in regards to the medical staff: medicine is hard).

The best I can do is in this regard is to fall back on old faithful: counting things.

So, I compiled a list of current (or very recent in Kobe’s case since I started this before he debuted) injured players that meet the following criteria:

  • The player is one of the most important players on his team, as opposed to simply being among the NBA elite, or might be important in a trade
  • The player is actually good and sees long minutes, as opposed to being a building block of the future, for instance
  • The player has missed or seems likely to miss at least 12 games, which is what Davis’ projected minimum is

This list is based on the injury reports at basketball reference and is subject to my judgment. If you make the list, it may be different. Share it if you choose to do so.

In my opinion, I do not see the Pelicans are one of twelve teams (40% of the NBA) that has such injuries, and not one of the three teams with multiple injuries (10% of the NBA). Note, we do not know Evans’ prognosis at this point of publication of this article. I did learn, however, on a sadly nearly completely unrelated note that there is a surgical technique to increase mechanical stability of lateral ankle tendons called the Evans Technique; it has nothing to do with Tyreke Evans and would likely not be performed on him, but I wanted to pass it along just for kicks and general edification.

There are more minor injuries, of course, and the major injury list will continually change (note the Kobe return), but I take this snapshot as an indication that the NBA is just a tough place to win in part because the NBA is tough place to stay healthy.

Team Player
Pelicans Anthony Davis
Bobcats Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Bucks Larry Sanders
Bulls Derrick Rose
Celtics Rajon Rondo
Grizzlies Marc Gasol
Knickerbockers Tyson Chandler
Lakers Kobe Bryant
Lakers Steve Nash
Nets Andrei Kirilenko
Nets Paul Pierce
Nets Deron Williams
Nuggets JaVale McGee
Nuggets Danilo Gallinari
Pacers Danny Granger
Warriors Andre Iguodala

Number of Significant Injuries Number of Teams
0 18
1 9
2 2
3 1

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