Late Early Observations

Published: November 19, 2016

The New Orleans Pelicans played 12 games without Holiday and 1 game with him. It’s as good a time as any to look at what we’ve been looking at.

  • Davis is not only one of the best players in the NBA, he’s on a mission to prove it. His good performances have, of course, been spun into negatives by shallow analysis in various ways that I won’t rehash. He’s also played minutes he did not need to, likely in an effort to pump up his stats. The Pelicans have, in my opinion, committed to shining Davis up for mutual benefit. Davis is in line for accolades and legacy, which will come into play later, while the team gets a potentially happy player and potentially the ability to attract players they could not attract in the last offseason.
  • Davis is not perfect, however. Like any superstar, he does not deliver eye-popping numbers each night. This should never be an expectation. His defense is overstated, and he does not play the long game with his body. The coaches need to keep working on this with him. If he can avoid avoidable injuries while playing at a high level, he’ll, be definition, be able to play without injury, and he’ll shake that “knock” on him after a couple of years; it’ll all be chalked up to growing pains.
  • Holiday has only played the one game, but it is clear that he not only contributes, but the opponents react to him. Moreover, his minutes are taken from the bottom of the roster. Triple effect. Thanksgiving Holiday.
  • Buddy did not get many minutes against Portland. Portland’s guards are their strength, and Holiday was coming back. Overall, Buddy should get some decent minutes going forward, but the commitment to him in the first 12 games is commendable. He’s doing a good job of working on his weaknesses, and him getting to the rim effectively is something the Pelicans will need. I’m very happy with Buddy and how this seems to be going.
  • Hill is a disappoint so far. His defense good, but, for whatever reason, it’s not as advertised. It’s something to keep an eye on, but I understand the frustration with the guy. Still, Hill has shown signs of trying to find his niche on offense. It’s possible Holiday’s return will change things enough that he will be put in a better position to succeed.
  • Moore is my favorite acquisition of the offseason. He’s all that was advertised and Moore.
  • Galloway is a nice, tough guard. He’s streaky on offense, but he’s what was advertised. He does the little things well, and I think this keeps him in the rotation going forward.
  • Asik has proven that some of the criticism heaped on him last season had no predictive power. His situational use helps his performance, to be sure. Good work by him and Gentry. Ajinca continues to be used situationally, too, and I think they are shopping him, or at least building a case to do so.
  • Jones continues to work on his game. He makes some mistakes, but his talent is clear. He’s worth the investment. I always look forward to him and Davis on the floor together, but even more so now that Holiday is back.
  • Frazier’s put up a noble effort as a starter, but he’s in a better position to succeed off the bench and in fewer minutes. His defensive prowess is better suited there, and he’ll continue to develop perhaps.
  • The team’s pace is high, but not too high. We’ll see how Holiday changes that. The defense remains in the middle of the NBA, which is a nice improvement. It’s getting harder for analysts who can only point to numbers to cherry pick the improvement away when the DRTG or something swings across a tight group of teams. Inferior analysts who insist they are not while never improving just annoy me. While the defense has problems clear problems, at least to those who actually watch, it’s better than that of last season. Good enough? We’ll see.

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