I agree that David Stern has been very instrumental in keeping professional basketball in New Orleans. The man is a visionary and I believe that he believes there is a very bright future for professional basketball on the bayou. I love the Pelicans and although a bit anxious to see them do well, I think they are on the right track. It won't be long before our city/region will be clamoring over the Pelicans. Anthony Davis is the real deal and we're just a piece or two away from something really special. We've seen the collapse of the Lakers and age catching up with the Spurs, so the Pelicans are primed to move up that WC with the Clippers, Warriors, Blazers and Kings (if Cousins can keep his head straight).
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Time to Turn the Page
Here I am
On the road again
There I am
On the stage
Here I go
Playing star again
There I go
Turn the page
— Bob Seger, Turn the Page
New Orleans Pelicans News
The New Orleans Pelicans treated fans to a 2-1 week, bringing their record to 17-25, yielding a winning percentage of just over 40% with just over 50% of the season in the book. They have only won 2 of 11 since Anderson went down in a win over the Celtics, which ended up being the first of a few major injuries for the team that was still learning to fly. They are twelfth in the West, 6.5 games out of the eighth seed, and are in the 11th lottery position.
The injured Pelicans secured a win in winning fashion over the Memphis Grizzlies in a 4 p.m. game in Memphis on MLK day. The 95-92 win was by no means the result of Pelican dominance, but the Pelicans built leads and had them eroded to some extent, only to regain the last, including holding off the Grizzlies’ late push and a beastly third quarter by Zach Randolph where he scored 17 of his 23 points.
While the Pelicans had only one loss this week, it was a 114-97 doozy. The Kings took the lead 92 seconds into the game and never looked back, especially after winning the first quarter 38-20. While the Pelicans managed to reduce the lead to single digits for brief moments, the game was out of hand nearly from the tip. Rudy Gay had arguably the best game of his career, trying a career high 41 points, and doing so on 25 shots compared to the 28 he took in the other 41-point game. Beyond that, the Kings were just more efficient, controlled the offensive glass, and did many little things right throughout the game.
The win over the Pistons was curious one, as it had so many examples of good and bad by both teams. Both teams allowed long runs by the other team over the course of between 4 and 5 minutes, both teams overcame double-digit deficits. The Pistons won the fast-break battle, 27-8, but were far less efficient than the Pelicans, TS% 0.616 v. 0.519. Despite winning the turnover battle by just 2 (18-16), the Pistons took 12 more shots thanks to a distinct offensive rebounding advantage, 17-8. In the end, both teams took the same number of field goals, but the Pelicans made one additional three and one additional free throw, leading to the 103-101 result in Detroit. The game was sealed on the final two plays, however. The first was he go-ahead Pelicans bucket which came after the Pelicans bled the clock and Gordon fought his way to a good shot in the lane with around 2 seconds left. Despite having 2 timeouts, the Pistons did not call one to advance the ball, and got off a long miss to end the game.
Nakia Hogan reported that Jason Smith was to have a bit of loose cartilage removed from his right knee on Wednesday. The Pelicans have no update at this time.
The Pelicans also traded the rights to Edin Bavcic (acquired in the salary dump of Jarrett Jack that led to the acquisition of Robin Lopez) for Tyshawn Taylor and cash rumored to be in the $1m range, enough to waive Taylor and pocketed several hundred thousand dollars, which is what the team did. This deal has no cap implications other than losing the rights to Bavcic.
Around Bourbon Street Shots
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In this week’s Trew 2 the Game, Chris Trew put together his first Pelicans Scoop.
A great series on trade evaluation was kicked off my Nick Lewellen this week with a great look back at the Chris Paul trade. More on this in the coming week.
`Voices’ of the People
I loved to see Withey get all of those crunch time minutes. Plus he didn’t look lost out there. That’s big in his development. AD the closer? I’m good with it, shoot it with confidence homie. I’ve prayed for a competent big man to play with AD and Ajincia actually played well. Both of them deserve more PT over Greg steamin pile, you get the idea. Roberts showed up, so did Rivers. If we don’t tank at least develop the youngin’s and keep Tyreke’s ankles over 90%
We could have one of the best starting front-court trios in the leauge as measured by Wins Produced per minute, with Ajinca as a league-average backup. That is, or course if we started Withey and he held up against starters. Huge ifs…. Davis is 12th in the league by this metric, and Aminu 28th among qualified players (enough minutes). Anderson was below average, due to his low rebounding numbers and declining shooting efficiency. Miller is not productive. Sitemsma is costing our team wins every minute he plays.
Our backcourt has zero players that grade out above average. Holiday is close, and a huge upgrade over Vasquez. No regrets there. Roberts, Gordon, and Morrow are worse than average, and one of these is paid like a superstar. If his salery was used to pay for 2 slightly-above average guards we would be competetive. Rivers is way below average, costing the team wins when he plays this season, but less than last year. Evans is hard to peg, since his numbers were so bad at the beginning of the year that his yearly numbers may be skewed low. His last set of games don’t seem to be very efficient or productive, however.
The productive starting lineup seems to be Withey-Davis-Aminu-Roberts-Morrow considering injuries. Off the bench should come Ajinca, Evans, Gordon, and Miller if absolutely necessary. On the bench should stay Stiemsma and Rivers. Actual results may vary…..
During Sunday’s television broadcast, it was mentioned several times that Tyreke Evans only feels like he’s at 75%, which brings up an important issue about a man playing injured in today’s NBA, especially for a team that’s still in rebuilding mode as this Pelicans team is and for whom wins are largely meaningless. Supposedly the MRIs have shown there’s no real risk of permanent damage to Tyreke’s ankle by playing whenever he feels up to it. That’s a bit remarkable, recalling how gruesome a couple of his ankle rolls looked in slow motion. What we’re starting to see, however, are flashes of the old CP3 when the man would fight through pain and gut it out to give it his all out there on the court. Let’s hope the recent media reports about a possible Evans trade are untrue, because the kind of tenacity, slashing, energy, ball handling/movement and leadership that Tyreke shows when he goes out there on the court night after night at 75% should make every Pelicans fan salivate at the thought of his playing a full season in a New Orleans uniform at 100% (hopefully that will be next year).
After 42 games played, Eric Gordon has played in 39 of of them, missing only 3 games this season due to a hip injury suffered in Sacramento. He’s amassed 1264 minutes in those 39 games, exactly as many as in 42 games last season. While is minutes per game are up from his limited season, his is playing fewer minutes per game than during his time in Los Angeles. Also, his 3P% is at a career high, which is good for a few reasons. One is making three point shots. The other is that this was hypothesized to a proxy for his knee health, and so far the predictions are being realized. His overall scoring is down, and this is in part due to a drop in free throw attempts, but his ball protection is improving and he is rebounding more.
Eric Gordon has provided the Pelicans with some very good play this season along with some poor showing (7 single digit scoring performances compared to 10 of 20 or more), but he is improving with room to grow.
His time in New Orleans has been turbulent, and many have been wary of becoming invested in him for a number of reasons, including injury and attitude.
None of what has occurred can be rewritten, but Eric Gordon is handling himself and the game differently this season, and the injury issue seem like it could be behind him. While we should not forget the past, we should remember all of it, including the recent past. If Eric Gordon is turning the page, then fans should `let’ him and consider doing to themselves . . . at some point.
The next time I write one of these articles, David Stern will have been replaced by Adam Silver as NBA Commissioner.
David Stern has played a very prominent role in the history of professional basketball here in New Orleans beyond that of just being the Commissioner.
I won’t recount all the ways he’s been involved, nor will I try praise those actions or any others.
i just want to simply acknowledge that over 30 years, he has influenced this city and me. I met him once, and he did not take my head off in the interview.
Thanks for that, and for giving New Orleans a chance.