New Orleans Pelicans v Utah Jazz

Published: February 10, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans (19-32) host the Utah Jazz (26-25) tonight at the Smoothie King Center at 7 pm CT (UTC -6). The game is on Fox Sports New Orleans and the Pelicans radio network, 99.5 FM locally.

The Pelicans are seeking second opinions on the recommendation for surgery (which will happen to be season-ending) for Tyreke Evans. While not technically and change to the injury, it’s an official recognition of the declining condition of Evans’ knee (and his availability) over the past couple of weeks. Davis, Asik, Gee, Dejean-Jones, and Cole are slated to start for the Pelicans, as they are missing Pondexter for the season, Evans seemingly for the season, and Gordon for a couple more weeks. The Jazz, winners of 7 in a row) have gotten Gobert back and are playing well. They have missed Exum all season, Burks for week, and Burke has been in and out of the lineup.

At this point, the Pelicans’ best hope in the backcourt is Jrue Holiday, who has been playing well of late overall. Dejean-Jones has looked good, and decision time for him is looming. Cole has put up a couple good games, but his role simply does not fit his talent and disposition. Gee and Cunningham provide hustle and defense with some some offensive runs. The frontcourt is where the Pelicans’ strength now lies, with Davis and Anderson capable of putting up 50-plus in a night. With them are the underused Asik, underused Ajinca, and the forgotton Perkins. There is also Babbitt, who can score and has some size.

The Pelicans have simply got to play to their strengths, no matter who they are playing. They play to Davis, which is the strongest strength they have. They are, however, not using Holiday to maximum efficiency, which they need to do. They are also not going big when the opportunity presents itself, much less forcing the issue.

The time has come for Gentry to do more than try to hold this team together waiting for players that just will never come. There is no future for this team as constructed (in terms of high-dollar pieces) from Gentry’s perspective (if he’s gone, which I don’t see as clear-cut, then he has no concern for chemistry): Either there will be a trade of an asset by the deadline, changing the chemistry, or there will be a change in the offseason. Given the number of changes possible this offseason . . .to be clear, likely not a large number . . . understanding more of what you have in house is essential to moving forward, win or lose.

Make the changes. Maybe they wait until the Evans surgery is official, but it just needs to happen.


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