New Orleans Pelicans information, analysis and discussion Fri, 30 Jan 2015 04:34:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 On the Fly, Episode 10: Seth Partnow Takes the Wheel Fri, 30 Jan 2015 01:52:03 +0000 Jake and I are privileged to welcome Seth Partnow of Nylon Calculus and Hardwood Paroxysm for the 10th podcast.  This podcast is a bit different, as Seth delves into some general NBA trends, stats, players, and gives us his thoughts on the Pelicans’ present and future.  Please excuse some minor sound hiccups in the beginning (we are working on this!).  If you aren’t already, make sure you go follow Seth!

Seth’s Work:

Passing Fancy: Examining Assist Location

On Basketball Fundamentalism


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Pelicans Playoff Hunt – Not Quite There Thu, 29 Jan 2015 12:30:00 +0000 Life can often be a battle of good versus bad, but often this is very much a perception of our own realities. In the New Orleans Pelicans’ case their reality is very much a battle of inconsistencies.

We spoke a while ago of the importance of gaining ground in the Western Conference playoff hunt with their road-trip.

Instead of any progress being made they struggled. We all remember it: Knicks loss, ‘6ers too and don’t forget that Boston debacle.

Yeah, okay they did beat the Raptors on the road, but ehh, contrasting that against the poor losses it doesn’t really put a skip in a fans step.

Now the Pels are home and put together a little winning streak, four games to be exact!

Then they lost to the Nuggets.

Such is life.

29th Jan - Playoff Standings

So the Pelicans schedule is quite tough over the next week. They currently sit two and a half games back from Phoenix, which is only down one game since our last check in.

To make it clear: After an easy schedule for New Orleans and a difficult schedule for the Suns the Pels have gained a single game on the 8th seed.

Life won’t get any easier as New Orleans faces a slew of tough opponents, but really there are two games that will be important to ward off opponents lurking below.

29th Jan - Upcoming Schedule

Green = easy

Orange = medium

Red = Difficult/Will have to earn it/No-chance

Pelican’s upcoming schedule

New Orleans and OKC play two games next Wednesday and Friday which will be very important for standings later on in the season. If things are close, tiebreakers will play a part.

Over the next five games there’s not a single easy game for the Pels. Los Angeles is on Friday (the good one) and then a streaking Atlanta.

Most are home games, where New Orleans has a stellar record (15-6) so that’s good news.

The others upcoming schedule

I’ve decided to include Dallas on this since they have lost their last 4. Because of this they’ve fallen back in the standings. Quite significant considering they’ve been pretty healthy.

The Spurs contrast this as they’ve gone 8-2 over their last ten games. The champs seem to be making a move right when they need to while New Orleans and OKC seem stuck just outside the top 8.

The pesky Suns have somehow remained in the top-8. Their schedule has been weaker than a pot of coffee at 4 in the afternoon. But, I think we all expected them to move back at least slighty. Their run of opponents is slightly increasing in difficulty.

If you gloss over their schedule for the rest of the year you can tell that it certainly is no cake walk.

News and noteworthy things

San Antonio Spurs

  • Marco Belinelli is out 2-3 more weeks

Dallas Mavericks

Phoenix Suns

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Stay tuned for an update on the Anthony Davis injury. He did return against the Nuggets, but a groin injury can be worrisome.
  • Keep an additional eye on Tyreke Evans. He was feeling ill before the Nuggets game, but managed to play

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Kevin Durant was out against the Knicks (toe) and they promptly lost. Keep an eye on him as we head towards the back-to-back game against the Thunder.

Predicted Playoff Standings

29th Jan - Predicted Playoff Standings

Predicted playoff standings on 7th February 2015

If we move ahead into the future here is a glimpse at what I think is a likely outcome.

New Orleans splits against OKC, losses to Atlanta and LAC and beat Chicago at home next Friday. They stay behind the Suns still and don’t gain any ground on OKC.

There are some tough games upcoming, but if New Orleans want to get “there” they will have to find a way to win games more consistent than they’ve been accustomed to.


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Nuggets Outlast Pels Thu, 29 Jan 2015 05:19:32 +0000 The Pelicans lost to the Nuggets for the second time this season 93-85, ending New Orleans’ 4 game winning streak and Denver’s 7 game losing streak.  The Pels were down by as many as 16 in the first half, but battled all the way back to tie the game at 70 by the end of the 3rd.  Tyreke Evans scored 15 of his 25 in the 3rd quarter, but unfortunately for New Orleans, with about 2 minutes to go in the 3rd, Anthony Davis went down and had to be helped to the locker room.  He would return and play in the 4th, but did not finish the game.  The Pels were as close as 85-86, but went scoreless the last 2:55 of the game.  As of tonight the Pels sit one game ahead of OKC and two game behind Phoenix.


The Pelicans battled hard all night, ending the game with 17 offensive rebounds and 20 second chance points, but just couldn’t hit their shots.  They ended the night 39% from the field, 3 of 15 from deep, with 15 assists to 32 field goals (compared to Denver’s 45.9% with 30 assists to 39 field goals).  Davis (8 of 15) and Evans (11 of 22) were the only ones who seemed to get it going offensively, as the rest of the team was a combined 13 of 45 (~29%).   Gordon (4 of 15) and Anderson (3 of 10) both struggled, scoring 11 a piece.


Before the game I mentioned 3 things the Pels would need to do to come away with a win:

  1. Win the Paint – the Pels and Nuggets played it pretty even here, scoring 42 a piece in the paint, but the Pelicans had quite a few good looks wasted, which is basically the story of the night.
  2. Keep the Ball Moving – The effort was there, but the execution was not for the offense.  The ball movement was ok, but once Davis went out, the offense never got back any type of rhythm, even after his return.
  3. Control the Tempo – I thought the Pels did a good job here.  They got back in transition (only six fast break points for Denver), and held Denver to just 93 points.  The Pelicans’ defense didn’t allow too much early offensive and challenged everything, making life difficult for the Nuggets, but Denver just couldn’t miss to start the game.

Frustrating loss for New Orleans but they’ll need a short memory, next up is the LA Clippers on Friday in the SKC



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Game On: Pels host the Denver Nuggets Wed, 28 Jan 2015 23:16:44 +0000 The Pelicans put their 4 game win streak on the line as they host the Denver Nuggets tonight for their 3rd home game in a row.  Their current win steak is the longest of the season, and they will need to keep it going against a sub-.500 team at home if they want to keep their playoff hopes alive.


The previous matchup in the mile high city was a fairly one-sided affair, as the Nuggets blew the Pels out 117-97.  But the Pels average 10 more ppg at home than on the road, and boast a record of 15-5 at home.  Jrue Holiday is still out however, and Tyreke Evans is suffering from and illness tho he is still probable for the game.  This team has been too inconsistent to underestimate any opponent and will need to bring their A game if they want to extend this winning streak.


Some Keys to the Game:

  1. Win the Battle in the Paint – The Pelicans were out scored in the paint last time around 32-52.  As the number one team scoring in the paint, that is never a good sign.  The improved play of Evans and Gordon should help in that category, but with Holiday out they will need to continue picking up the slack against a talented Denver backcourt.
  2. Keep the ball moving – the Pels have some impressive team wins of late, assisting on 57 of their last 79 field goals.  With the team’s leading assister still out the team will need to continue this great team play that was lacking at the beginning of this season.
  3. Control the tempo – The Pels play one of the slowest paces in the NBA today, while Denver runs one of the fastest, and that was very apparent in the last matchup as the Nuggets ran the Pels out of the building, scoring 117 points on 82 shots.  The Pelicans will need to keep Denver’s leading scorer and floor general Ty Lawson in check if they want to keep a slower tempo.

Go Pels, tip off is for 7CT at the SKC

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The Greatest Pelicans Commercial of All Time Wed, 28 Jan 2015 16:00:11 +0000 My feet and hands are as sore as they’ve ever been as I spent the majority of Tuesday giving a standing ovation to the Pelicans staff, Pelicans players, and whoever gave this project the thumbs up. Witness the triple-double of online promotional videos, the Bill Russell of ticket plans:

You need to see the original? Let ‘em have it.

It is understandable if you need to watch both of the above videos a couple of more times to let this fully digest.

Next time our man Anthony Davis is at the free throw line late in the game, let’s give him a “Let-‘em-have-it” chant on free throw attempt number one, and the exciting “M-V-P” chant on attempt number two. Hell, I’m not complaining if we go “Let-‘em-have-it” on every Davis free throw from here on out. Hopefully the arena audio chief tosses that sound byte in after Davis blocks a shot. What I’m saying is the Frankie and Johnny possibilities run deep as can be and we should all be fully committed. The only negative feeling this puts in my bones is that I didn’t think of it first. Credit is also due to Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans for their actually tremendous performances of the non-special man men. Support this idea by grabbing some tickets right now.

In other video evidence that Anthony Davis is taking over New Orleans, here is a Vine taken post Sunday victory over the Dallas Mavericks. So far Davis is right about one thing – this is his city. He also says we’re done losing – I wouldn’t complain about a 37 game winning streak.

Chris Trew is a comedian living in New Orleans and behind the visitors bench in the Smoothie King Center. See him every single Wednesday night for the best weekly comedy show in New Orleans (located near Frankie and Johnny’s!), Chris and Tami. Follow him on Twitter here.

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AD’s Flight Academy Rolls Through Fulton Alley Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:07 +0000 For the second time in the past couple of weeks, the New Orleans Pelicans have made news for bowling. This time, the bowling is following wins, not preceding them. And this time, Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis were not the focal point of the event. Flight Academy”, is a monthly series of community events that Davis hosts in and around the New Orleans area for youths and families alike. On Tuesday, Davis, with an assist from teammate (and part-time special man) Anderson, led a group from the Westbank YMCA at Federal City during a night at Fulton Alley (600 Fulton Street.) The kids bowled, and when Davis got there, he made a beeline for the group of children, hanging out and playing with them. The night featured food (including fresh fruit) and refreshments, as well as free games of bowling for over two hours. Anderson, always a pleasure to be around, was cracking jokes throughout the entire event. Davis and Anderson have a real rapport, and watching the two get along off the court shows why they are so good together on it.

It is a treat watching Davis interact with the children. They all kept chanting “AD” and when he would walk around, they’d follow him, their real-life hero, just hanging out with them. The night ended with Anderson challenging Davis to a game of bowling. Watching the two of them joke around, while all the children chanted and joked, was great to see. Davis is sincere when he talks about what events like this mean to him, saying “When I walk in, they start cheering and everyone starts rushing to me, it was a great experience, great feeling, putting a smiling on kids faces.”

All the kids in attendance got two tickets to go to the Pelicans game tonight against the Denver Nuggets. Growing up in Miami. I never had an encounter like that with Alonzo Mourning, but with all the events he held down in my hometown (and playing basketball weekly in an indoor court he had built) it was a great feeling knowing one of my heroes cared about his and my community. And it is great to see Davis do the same.

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Nate Wolters: Voss Up or Ish Don’t Think So? Wed, 28 Jan 2015 01:30:46 +0000 First of all, if you don’t get the reference in the heading, then watch three of the greatest minutes in comedy history.

You’re welcome.

And much like Paul Wilmot in the video above, Dell Demps has to decide very soon whether Nate Wolters is ‘vuss up’ or ‘Ish don’t think so.’ According to the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Pelicans can only sign Wolters to a ten-day contract twice in the course of the season. After that, the only way he can play for them again this year is if they give him a contract for the remainder of the season. Financially, it is not really an issue for the team, as Wolters would gladly accept a minimum contract, but the question is whether the Pelicans would be better served finding another point guard to fill the backup duties for the remainder of the season.

If you have read my articles or listened to the podcast, you know how I like to think of these situations. I don’t think of Wolters being on the team, and going with someone else being an act of letting Wolters go, then replacing him. Instead, I like to imagine all options are floating out there with the Pelicans not tied to one any more than another. From there, I try to examine all the factors including skill set, fit, and costs (including future costs and opportunity costs) before arriving at the answer. With that perspective in mind, lets take a look at the Pelicans possible options.

The Free Agents

Nate Wolters

After a surprisingly effective rookie season, Wolters struggled a bit in Milwaukee and he hasn’t exactly been impressive in his stint in New Orleans. We only have 7 games (and 94 minutes) of data to judge Wolters on with the Pelicans, but Wolters is not hitting his shots (35%), isn’t getting to the FT line (9% FT rate), and has an assist to turnover ratio that is less than 1:1. Basically, he has been a huge negative on the offensive end statistically and the eye test does not tell you that he is a plus defender. What he does have going for him is the fact that he is more familiar with the system and the players than anybody on this list. He also is young, talented, and cheap. There is a chance for improvement and a small possibility that he can be a long-term solution at backup point guard if he can get to his rookie level of play.

Jordan Farmar

If you could guarantee Pre-Clippers Jordan Farmar, he would probably be the best fit on this list. Farmar is a guy who can score at the rim and knock down the jumper out past the three-point line. He isn’t necessarily a good defender, but he is a smart team defender who could pick up a system quickly. Farmar, like many role players wight he Clippers of late, was underutilized and grew frustrated in LA. In their infinite wisdom, the Clipper released Farmar to make room for Austin Rivers. We already crushed it in that trade by getting Q-Pon for one of the worst players in the league. Imagine if we effectively got Farmar too.

Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson was traded to Boston for Jameer Nelson, another guy Dell was likely considering, and the Celtics subsequently bought out Robinson. He won’t give you defense and he isn’t going to spend a lot of his time setting up teammates, but Robinson can give you energy and buckets in bursts. Robinson was terrible this year, but he was solid prior to getting injured the year before and he was nothing short of fantastic two years ago in Chicago. and in Golden State the year before that. There are a lot of solid rotation players on list, but Robinson is quite possibly the only one who can completely change a game.

Trade Targets

CJ Watson, Indiana Pacers

George Hill has recently returned for Indiana, and depending on what their goals are for the rest of this year, they could look to move Watson – who is in the final year of his contract. Watson is an above average three-point shooter who protects the ball and plays solid defense. He is a seasoned veteran without too many miles on his tires and he is a guy that is fine being a rotation player, and is not looking to be more than that. For all these targets, let’s assume a trade package that includes Salmons, Withey, and a 2nd rounder.

Mo Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves

The Wolves are gunning for a top-three pick at this point and Williams is not a part of their long-ten plans – so why not get something for him? Just two weeks ago, Williams exploded for 52 points against Indiana, and while that is not exactly what the Pelicans need, the threat of a backup guard who teams have to respect will open up the offense for everybody. Williams is also a smart, seasoned vet with 49 games of playoff experience and could be the type of piece that is the difference between being the 8th seed or the 9th seed in the West.

Ramon Sessions, Sacramento Kings

Sessions is another guy who is really struggling with his new team after playing well in previous stops. He is not a good three-point shooter, but he excels in one area that the Pelicans desperately need – getting to the free throw line. Over his career, Sessions gets to the free throw line more than Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday combined (per 36 minutes). A point guard who can come in and get the team into the bonus early for Davis and Anderson to take advantage of late in quarters could be invaluable.

Norris Cole, Miami Heat

Recent reports said that the Bobcats were looking into acquiring Sessions or Cole, so let’s imagine Dell gets into the mix. Cole has looked like a future star in spurts, but he has really struggled this year with Lebron gone. He is an intense defender who can get hot from the perimeter, though he is more of a mid-range guy than a three-point shooter. He is playoff tested and is still young enough to have some upside if the Pelicans want to put the time in to develop him.

Luke Ridnour, Orlando Magic

Ridnour is just a smart, craft vet and you know how Monty loves those! He has had some great three-point shooting seasons (including this year) and some terrible one’s, so you never know what you are going to get there. He can run an offense and won’t turn the ball over, though he does foul quite a bit. Not the highest upside on this list, but he probably has the highest floor. He simply isn’t going to hurt you and that is a big upgrade over what this team has had at the 4th guard position so far this season.

The Incumbent

Jimmer Fredette

Jimmer is on the roster, and the team could choose to let Wolters go and re-insert Fredette. If he was the three-point shooter that he has been over the rest of his career, that would be a solid option, but he just can’t hit this year. And the truth is that the coaching staff doesn’t seem to have much faith in him at this point. They couldn’t wait to give his minutes to Gal Mekel and Nate Wolters, just days after they were signed, and even last night, Monty put Salmons in the game before Jimmer. On the plus side, Jimmer knows the system better than everybody on this least and is loved by his teammates. If he could only hit that jumper….


Monty has given Wolters every chance so far to take this job and run with it, but he hasn’t done anything to keep Dell from looking for other options. There are some solid free agents on the market and a few more who can probably be had for cheap in trades. In this humble writers opinion, Dell should be working the phones to see if he can land Mo Williams or CJ Watson. From there, he should look into Farmar, and then move on to Ridnour or Sessions if he can’t get any of the other three. If none of those options work out, then you sign Wolters for the rest of the year, with a 2nd year unguaranteed and hope for the best.

What are your thoughts? Vuss Up or Ish Don’t Think So to Wolters? And who is your Double Vuss Up?

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In the NO Podcast Ep 202: No Jrue, No Problem Tue, 27 Jan 2015 05:40:37 +0000 Michael and I break down the 4-game win streak and what it means now that Jrue isn’t playing. We talk the uptick in Gordon’s numbers, how Anthony is taking more shots now, and address the idea of Jrue going to the bench. We also talk Nate Wolters, whether Gordon may play basketball as a Pelican for years to come, and if we think Dante and Quincy are the answer on the wing moving forward.

Enjoy the Podcast!

Like the Show or the Blog?

Like the music?

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Pelicans avenge 76ers loss Tue, 27 Jan 2015 03:48:41 +0000 Dare I say it?  Do I talk about cohesion and team play and sharing the ball?  Or do I just chalk it all up to the team looking good playing a totally overmatched squad.  I’d love to make this recap all rainbows and flowers, but good lord – did you look at that starting line-up for the 76ers?  Noel – Henry Sims – Mbah A Moute – Covington – Drew.  Three of those guys weren’t even drafted!

So yeah, good win taking care of business.  Sign that the team is going to go on a tear?  Check back next week.

  • With just a few minutes left in the third quarter and the Pelicans up 23, Davis sprinted the length of the floor trailing a fast break, slipped between two 76ers, ripped down a board in traffic and tossed up a putback while getting fouled.  The team was up 23!  Over the last few games, I will say Davis’ energy has been a joy to watch.  Oh – and he put up a 32-10-3-3-4 with zero turnovers.  And 19 shots.
  • I admit, I couldn’t stop grinning in the third as the team was winging the ball around the perimeter, passing up open shots to give the ball to teammates for other open shots.  They weren’t even necessarily better shots – but I love seeing it happen.
  • Since Jrue has gone down, the team has been doing a lot more to post up Anthony Davis.  I find it funny because Davis isn’t even a monster post-up threat right now.  He’s got a mediocre face-up game, a solid jumper, and nothing with his back to the basket.  But teams worry about him already!  They either flat out double or always have a guy ready to jump over to help.  It’s starting to bend defenses – which is the first step to breaking them.
  • The 76ers had a lot of their starting line-up out there in the fourth when the Pelicans’ scrubs couldn’t score for 6 straight minutes.  They cut the lead by 5 during that time.  Oomph.
  • Homeboy Anderson(19 and 7 with 3 steals) is a sick offensive weapon.  Let’s hope he can talk to Travelin’ Ryan, who is garbage.
  • Salmons played basketball tonight!  He had an awesome pick – put his foot down on the accelerator in transition . . . and 3 76ers easily ran him down, stole the ball and left him sniffling on the asphalt.  Maybe that last part was a flashback of mine.
  • I think I could let Wolters go.  As long as Jimmer is there to catch me as I fall.

Next game Wednesday against an okay Nuggets team!  Dogfight!

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Game On: 76ers @ Pelicans Mon, 26 Jan 2015 17:01:31 +0000 Danger!  Danger! The Pelicans won a high-energy game last night against Dallas that went down to the wire, and today get to face a bottom-dwelling 76ers team at home.  The team needs to keep their focus up, since the 76ers got their largest win of the season (by margin of victory) against the Pelicans just 10 days ago.

It’s the curse of a young team.  Focus can waver. (Fun note: weighted by minutes played, the Pelicans are the 2nd youngest team in the league.  Teams like Orlando and Boston may have more young guys, but they’ve play their vets a lot more.)

Keys to the Game

  • Win the turnover battle.  The 76ers force more turnovers than any other team AND they give up more turnovers than any other team.  Last game against them, the Pelicans gave up 10 more turnovers than they forced.
  • Thrash Philly on the boards and make something out of it.  The Pelicans are top 10 in rebounding, and the 76ers are bottom 10.  The Pels won handily on the glass last game – and still got beaten in second chance points.
  • Stick a guy on Robert Covington and then flat pack the paint.  There is no one else on this team that can shoot.  Make them.

Enjoy the game!

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Moleskin Moments: New Orleans Pelicans defeat the Dallas Mavericks 1.25.15 Mon, 26 Jan 2015 15:00:51 +0000 This is the biggest win of the season for the New Orleans Pelicans thus far. The 109-106 win is the third in a row for the Pelicans (their longest winning streak of the season.) It snaps a 9-game losing streak that the team had going against the Dallas Mavericks. The team is now two games behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth and final playoff spot. While point guard Jrue Holiday is still out, the team saw strong performances by both Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon, players who have had their struggled at times this year, and saw Anthony Davis and Tyreke Evans take over the game late. The Pelicans take on the Philadelphia 76ers tomorrow at 7 pm.

Quarter 1

  • The game started with a good play being run by the Pelicans. Gordon got a pick from Davis, who rolled to the basket hard while Gordon drove into the lane. The Mavs closed the lane up, but Dante Cunningham was left open on the baseline, nailing a mid-range jumper.
  • 10:51- Rondo is pressuring Tyreke Evans at half-court. It will be interesting to see if this leads to turnovers or prevents the Pelicans from getting into their sets.
  • 8:45- Back-to-back midrange jumpers from Anthony Davis, not a good sign.
  • 7:56-Evans is in attack mode early, which is a good sign.
  • 7:24- Evans attacks the rim but misses a layup. Davis picks up the rebound and scores on an and-1. Rebounding, being a key to the game, is going the Pelicans’ way early.
  • 5:53- Early play of the game candidate: Evans keeps Dirk Nowitzki committed long enough that when he finally lobs the ball to Davis, he catches it and finishes the alley-oop for an and-1. It is Nowitzki’s second foul of the quarter.
  • 2:14- The Mavericks are doubling Davis every time he touches the ball by the baseline, the team is going to have to make something happen with the space that this affords them.
  • :59- Anderson makes a jumpshot, a kind sight for sore eyes. (Taking a step inside seemed to help Anderson at first, whose first three made field goals were inside the arc.) On his first field goal, he surpassed the 5,000 point total.
  • Double pick and roll set for Evans by Anderson and Davis. Good way of getting Davis a different look. The play resulted in an open look for Evans right before the quarter.

Quarter 2

  • Nate Wolters-Gordon-Quincy Pondextor-Anderson-Alexis Ajinca is the starting lineup of the second quarter.
  • 8:24- The Pelicans haven’t sniffed the paint the last few possessions on offense.
  • 5:03- Davis steals the ball twice in the same possession. He is essentially playing a free safety role while covering Richard Jefferson, taking a lot of space up on the weakside of the court.
  • 4:04- Anderson nails a baseline three for his 18th (and final) point of the game.

Quarter 3

  • 11:11- Nowitzki rolling.
  • 10:48- Davis too.
  • 2:30- 10 free throws this quarter for Dallas, who used the constant stoppage of play to set up their defense and cut into the Pelicans’ lead.

Quarter 4

  • The team starts the quarter with both Davis and Evans in the game, hoping to avoid the lull they had to start the second quarter.
  • 9:40- No ball movement. Wolters dribbles the ball for ten seconds, then a lazy high pick and roll resulting in a contested three.
  • 4:12- Trying to suppress the Maverick’s run and coming out of a timeout, Davis is completely drawn out of the play that was run, standing by the basket, no movement from him, no movement towards him. Hard to believe that coach Monty Williams drew it up that way.
  • Next possession, Davis is isolated on the baseline against Tyson Chandler. When off-the-ball defenders cheat a little, no one cuts or moves. Davis takes a contested midrange jumper that misses.
  • Next possession, shot clock violation.
  • 1:33- Gordon hits a clutch three. It’s his first basket since the second quarter, and ties the game up at 102, after the Mavericks had stormed back into the game and taken the lead.
  • :54- Great stretch: beautiful block by Davis, who passes it to Gordon. Gordon outlets it deep to Q-Pon, who gets fouled by Nowitzki.
  • :23- Evans with a beautiful drive and makes a one handed layup. 105-104 Pels.
  • :12- Monta Ellis makes a beautiful layup over Omer Asik. Asik couldn’t have played it much better. The perimeter defense of the Pelicans was torched by Ellis tonight (36 points on 16-27.) 106-105 Mavs.
  • :12- Chandler gets greedy and hangs on to Davis, who nails a couple of clutch free throws to retake the lead. 107-106.
  • :9- Great double by Evans onto Ellis in order to deny the ball. The Mavs try to inbound the ball to Nowitzki over Davis, but Davis tips the ball and comes up with it in the scrum. Pels ball. Game.
  • After the game, Davis credited Monty with the strategy to have the person defending the inbounds double up Ellis. It was executed well by the Pelicans, as the Mavericks switched players who were inbounding the ball after the first attempt was deflected out of bounds.
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It Happened, It Happened, Oh My God It Finally Happened Mon, 26 Jan 2015 04:33:47 +0000 The Pelicans beat the Mavericks for the first time in ten tries and win 3 in a row for the first time all season, putting them two games over .500 for the first time since late November.  The win puts the Pels back into 9th place in the West, one game ahead of OKC and 3 games out of the 8th seed.  The winning streak comes at a good time as the Pels have 5 more in a row at home where they are 15-4.

The Pelicans led for a majority of the game, but not by much, and almost lost it in the 4th, the only quarter that Dallas won.  It was a very entertaining, back and forth game as each team seemed to have an answer when the other went on a run.  There were 5 lead changes in the last 2 minutes as Monta Ellis almost beat the Pels single handedly (36 points on 16-27 from the field), but with clutch buckets from Tyreke and Gordon, as well as some game-winning effort and FT shooting from Davis, the team held on.

Some notes on the game:

  • It was a great team win, as the Pels had 5 players in scoring double digits, 3 with double-doubles, 27 assists on 40 field goals, and only 10 turnovers.
  • Anderson had 14 huge points in the 2nd quarter alone, helping the Pels to a 36pt quarter (keeping pace with Dallas’34).
  • Chandler Parsons, who had 20pts in both the previous matchups, was held to just 6pts on 6 shots and was largely a non-factor in the game.
  • The Pelicans executed very well out of timeouts and inbounds plays, a category they typically excel in, but it made all the difference tonight.
  • After heading into the 4th with a 5pt deficit, the Mavericks went on a 15-8 run to retake the lead 99-97.  The Pelicans had stopped moving the ball and things started to tilt Dallas’ way, but the Pels ended the game on a 12-7 run and did not wilt under pressure.

Before the game I mentioned a couple things the Pels needed to key in on to get a win, and they hit on all 3:

  • Defensive Emphasis – There wasn’t a ton of defense this game, but the Pels held a team that averages 107.9ppg to 106, and got stops when they needed them, including a steal on a crucial inbounds play with 11 seconds left.
  • PG Play – The Pels really held their own here.  In 42mins Tyreke Evans recorded a season high 12 assists to go along with 24pts (11-19FG) and only 3TO.  The Pels also held Dallas backup guards Devin Harris and J.J. Barea to 1-10 from the field.
  • Anderson had a great bounce back performance.  18pts on 6-10 from the field (2-3 from deep).

Next up for the Pelicans is a Monday night matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers 7CT at the Smoothie King Center.

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Game On: Pels host Mavs Sun, 25 Jan 2015 22:34:02 +0000 The Pels host the Dallas Mavericks tonight in a crucial South West matchup. Dallas won both the previous meetings, but both were close contests. Dallas has become one of the more well rounded teams with addition of star pg Rajon Rondo, improving their perimeter defense by a large margin. The Pels, meanwhile, have lost their pg and best perimeter defender Jrue Holiday almost immediately after trading his backup Austin Rivers. Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon have helped with the ball handling and distribution (Gordon had a season high 10 assists earlier this week against the Lakers). They’ll have continue their good play to match Dallas’ talented backcourt.


Some keys to the game:


  • Keep up the defense – despite the absence of Holiday, the Pels have only allowed 100pts in one of their last 10 games, while the Mavericks have only broken 100 once in their last 4.  Having allowed 112 and 109 in the first two meetings, the Pels will need to really focus on that end of the floor.
  • PG play – Tyreke has been starting at pg for the pels and has done a decent job distributing, and Gordon has helped as well, but this team is notoriously inconsistent.  Against Rondo, Ellis, and Harris there can’t be sloppy ball handling
  • Anderson – in his last 4 games Ryan Anderson is 11/46 and missed the Pels’ last game against Minnesota.  He is shooting 12% better at home than on the road, and about 15% better from 3.  The Pels need his offense.

Game is at 5CT,  GO PELS

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What Has Gotten Into Eric Gordon? Sun, 25 Jan 2015 14:25:31 +0000 To say that Eric Gordon was struggling to start the season would be an understatement. Then, just as he was starting to play decent, he suffered a painful injury that threatened to keep him out for the rest of the year if he opted for surgery. Courageously, however, Gordon decided to rehab his shoulder and attempt to play through it. Even the mediocre version of Gordon would have been an upgrade over Austin Rivers, who had an especially bad stretch once Gordon went out. But then something surprising happened as Gordon returned in January. Not only has Gordon been passable upon his return, but he has been good. Really good.

Gordon is putting up 15.3 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.3 rebounds in just under 35 minutes per game. He is shooting 46.3% from the field and 40.4% from three. He is creating offense for himself and others. Nearly 80% of his 2-point field goal makes have been unassisted and his mid-range shot has been money (67% since return). And when he is being set up, he is knocking down his shots too, as evidenced by his 51.5% shooting from three in catch-and-shoot situations since his return, which is far better than the 34% he was shooting prior to getting injured. He is shooting 47.4% on wide open threes since returning, again way up from the 30% he was shooting prior to injury.

Perhaps the most important change in Gordon has been his ability to maintain his high level of play throughout the entire game. Over the course of the last few years, we have seen several games where Gordon looked great in the first half but disappeared in the 2nd half. In this stretch, however, he is actually shooting a higher FG% in the second half of games. In fact, in 3rd quarters, he is averaging 10 minutes and is shooting 54.8% from the field.

And in the 4th quarter, Gordon has become more of a facilitator, averaging around 2 assists in that quarter despite playing just 8 minutes. He also has his lowest turnover rate in that quarter. Since Gordon’s return, he has a 13:1 assist to turnover ratio in the 4th quarter, which is nothing short of remarkable. The key to his productivity seems to be the fact that he is playing on the ball more, as opposed to him just sitting in the corner and being a decoy like he was early in the season. He is setting the tone early by knocking down his jumper, then getting to the hole in the 3rd and setting up his teammates in the 4th while taking care of the ball.

Effectively, since return, Eric Gordon has been a slightly better version of what Aaron Afflalo or Bradley Beal has been this season. He has been more of a playmaker, as evidenced by the fact that he has 3 or more assists in every game since his return. In the 12 games prior to his injury, he failed to reach that threshold 8 times. And quite frankly, the Pelicans playoff hopes would have already been buried if Gordon didn’t come back and play this well. They weren’t getting anything from Rivers or Fredette in his absence, and the Toronto and Minnesota games would have likely been losses without him, and perhaps the Memphis game too.

With Jrue Holiday likely out until the All-Star break, Eric Gordon’s recent play gives the team hope that they can remain in that playoff picture as they anxiously await his return. He has given the Pelicans another creator to help out Tyreke Evans and his defense is also better than anything the other guards on the bench could give them. And not only does his recent play give the Pelicans hope for the upcoming stretch, but it is easy to envision a consistent and impressive offense once Holiday comes back if Monty staggers his three high usage guards properly.

Gordon finally has his confidence back and he has a clear role as well. By all accounts, Tyreke will move to the bench once Holiday returns, and Gordon’s role as a secondary creator will continue for the rest of the season. If that is in fact the case, and if Ryan Anderson could break out of his road slump, then the Pelicans can be an incredibly dangerous team over the second half of the season that has a chance to make some noise in the loaded Western Conference.

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Observations: Pelicans take down Wolves Sat, 24 Jan 2015 05:16:44 +0000 For a short time I thought this might just be one of those Mo Williams nights, when he would be hitting everything and make it really hard for the Pelicans to win.  The way the game opened, with a 11-1 run by the Wolves, I also thought I’d seen this pattern before by the Pelicans.  Get down big to a crappy team, never get over the hump.

Both were unduly pessimistic as Gordon caught fire on his jumper, Tyreke Evans did Tyreke Evans things, the whole team leaked out in transition through the middle two quarters, and Anthony Davis decided he’d finally hit one his jumpers in the fourth to seal what had been a 4-8 point lead for most of the game.

Going to have to give the game ball to Gordon tonight, though Evans was deserving.  Gordon was patient against a young team, waited for gaps, found the openings, and dropped his jumpers.


  • Anthony Davis missed every jumper he took tonight except the one with two minutes left to go and the Wolves trying to get back into it.  I felt like it was kind of a bad night for him.  And he finished with 21 and 12.  Good lord.
  • The Wolves have some veterans, but three different times, when the Wolves had Zach Lavine, Wiggins and Dieng out there – all young guys – Monty would have his guys switch zone, and the Wolves had no idea what to do.  All resulted in terrible shots – though Lavine did manage to hit the three he took out of it.  He’s shooting 24% on the season now.
  • If you get a moment, take a look at LaVine’s mug shot on his player card at  It screams high school yearbook tough guy.  “That’s right, look badass.  look badass.  yeeeaaah.”
  • Thad Young was a terror in the pick and roll, finishing well around the rim, but the Pelicans ignored him on the perimeter completely and he managed to grab exactly zero boards all game.  I like Thad, but I’ve never wanted to go after him because he’s a tweener forward with no perimeter game, and the Pelicans have plenty of that, thank you.
  • Evans hit a 45-foot set shot after a whistle.  That was just the fifth time the Pelicans tried a three pointer.  That’s right.  They shot 4 threes the entire game.  4.  The Wolves shot 9.  I should go pester ol’ Elias at the sports bureau to let me know the last time there was a game with a combined 13 threes taken in it.  Byron Scott eat your heart out.
  • The bench all played fairly well, and all but Babbitt had a positive +/-.  Dante Cunningham had a great effect as a hustle player at critical parts in the game, but I will say it again:  Step back, Dante!  Just a single step!  And your 14 points on 12 shots would have been 18 points on 12 shots!  And once that happens, the spacing would be so much better!
  • I was surprised that the Pelicans only had 13 turnovers.  It felt like every time they were about to put the smack down on the Wolves, they’d have a pair of stupid turnovers and let them back into it.
  • Nate Wolters got minutes again tonight as Monty tries to see what he can do before they have to decide if they want to sign him for the rest of the year or not.  They have 9 more days to decide.  What do you think so far?

On to face Dallas on Sunday!  Dare we hope for a 3-game winning streak?  Be still my heart!

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Game On: Pelicans @ Wolves Fri, 23 Jan 2015 23:22:33 +0000 If recent history tells us anything,we should expect a loss tonight. The team is on the road and apparently doesn’t care about the quality of the team it is facing. And they won the last game. Ergo, time for a loss despite the Wolves being terrible.

Feh. Let’s hope not.

Keys to the Game

  • End possessions.  The Wolves are great offensive rebounder, and that in a lot of ways is the reason they aren’t rock bottom offensively.  No offensive boards, bad offense.
  • Attack the rim.  The Wolves foul frequently.  Take advantage and don’t settle for jumpers.
  • Don’t get sloppy.  The only thing the Wolves do well defensively is force turnovers.  Be aware they will gamble.

Enjoy the game!

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Anthony Davis Named 2015 NBA All-Star Game Starter Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:00:16 +0000 The New Orleans Pelicans have an All-Star for the second year in a row, and this time he’s starting.

Anthony Davis is a starting forward for the West in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game. This is a huge honor for the team and for Davis, especially in just his third season.

Press Release

New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis has been named a starter on the NBA Western Conference All-Star team, the league announced today. Davis, a second-time All-Star, earned the most votes of any Western Conference frontcourt player, and becomes the first Pelicans player to be voted in by the fans since Chris Paul in 2011. Davis is the third player in New Orleans franchise history to represent the team in multiple All-Star games, joining Chris Paul and David West.

Davis, 21, is averaging 24.3 points on .563 shooting from the field, 10.4 rebounds 3.0 blocks and 1.5 steals over 36.0 minutes in 38 games. Among NBA leaders, Davis ranks 3rd in scoring, 10th in rebounding, 6th in field goal percentage and 1st in blocks. Davis has recorded 23 point-rebound double doubles on the season, including 21 20-10 games, nine 30-10 games and four 25-points, 10-rebound, five block performances.

The University of Kentucky product has taken part in All-Star Weekend in his previous two seasons in the NBA, appearing in the BBVA Rising Stars game as a starter in both 2013 and 2014, as well as a reserve in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game.

Joining Davis in the starting lineup for the Western Conference is Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers), Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies), Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) and Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers). The Eastern Conference starting lineup features LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls), Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), John Wall (Washington Wizards) and Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors).

Davis, who finished with 1,369,911 votes, was one of just three players to surpass the one million mark, joining leading vote-getter Stephen Curry (1,513,324) and LeBron James (1,470,483).

For the first time ever, the official NBA All-Star Ballot presented by Sprint included all current NBA players. As part of the NBA’s all-digital program, fans voted on; through social media networks, including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Sina Weibo and Tencent Microblog; via SMS text; and with the NBA Game Time and the NBA Game Time from Sprint applications

The 64th NBA All-Star Game will tip off Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The game will be seen by fans in 215 countries and territories and will be heard in 47 languages. TNT will televise the All-Star Game for the 13th consecutive year, marking Turner Sports’ 30th year of NBA All-Star coverage.

NBA All-Star 2015 in New York City will bring together some of the most talented and passionate players in the league’s history for a global celebration of the game. Along with the All-Star Game, TNT will also air the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13, and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night on Saturday, Feb. 14. The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge and State Farm All-Star Saturday night will take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Other events at Barclays Center include the NBA Development League All-Star Game presented by Kumho Tire and the NBA Development League Dream Factory presented by Boost Mobile on Sunday, Feb. 15, airing on NBA TV. Madison Square Garden will host Friday night’s ESPN-televised Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.


This selection may do something to further Davis’ fame among the casual NBA fans of the world, but this does nothing to those who follow the Association closely.

There are some contractual implications, however. Now that Davis has been voted an NBA All-Star Game starter once, he is partway to meeting the “5th Year 30% Max” criteria. He will reach the criteria if he is voted as a starter in the the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. Even if he signs his extension before the criteria are met, it can still affect the deal. Additionally, he can trigger the 30% Max by being voted to the All-NBA Team twice, which is still possible (anywhere on the team, need not be First Team), or by being the NBA MVP once. The key here is they have to happen before the first day of the extension is reached.

Maximum salary contracts are not actually the single biggest contract that can be offered. Each player has a maximum salary they can be offered in a given year. Clearly, it depends on the salary cap (or basketball related income if you wish). It also depends on the NBA experience of each player. Rookies up to players with 6 years of experience have one maximum salary. That category is called the 25% Max, but that percentage is actually only approximate now, the name being retained by custom only. The next category is the 30% Max for players with 7 years to 9 years of experience. The last category is for players with at least 10 years of experience, and that is the 35% Max.

If Davis is the Pelicans’ Designated Player, which allows him to be given an extension this offseason that will kick in after the final deal of his rookie contract and last for five additional seasons, it must be for at least the 25% Max. If he meets this 5th Yeah 30% Max mark, it can be for any amount between the 25% Max and the 30% Max, inclusive.

The higher maximum salary would still be in effect if he was not the Designated Player, but it would not be mandatory to have him at least at the 25% Max. It is likely the Pelicans will try to make Davis their Designated Player extension to lock him up for as long as possible. Michael McNamara details this and more here.

Some trivial loose ends. A player gets credited with a year of service just by being on the team for day, either active or inactive. Any player can be offered up to 105% of his salary in his most recent year of service, even if it is above the so-called Maximum Salary.

Cap implications aside, the Pelicans are going to be entering a world where cap space is but a dream soon, and Davis’ extra salary, while a slight encumbrance . . . about $3m in today’s cap figures, so a Quincy Pondexter give or take . . . is just a part of doing business with great players. It’s Anthony Davis, and you pay that man.

You want the good stuff, you pay for it.

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On the Fly, Episode 9: Timberrrrrrr-wolves Fri, 23 Jan 2015 01:26:49 +0000 Jake and I are privileged to welcome Zach Bennett from CanisHoopus and Hardwood Paroxysm to discuss the upcoming Pelicans-Timberwolves game. Zach drops some TWolves knowledge, I confidently predict a Pelicans victory, and Jake may or may not be holding a small cat hostage in his home.

There are some minor hiccups in the beginning, but they are resolved quickly.

Picture source:

If you aren’t already, make sure you are following Zach!

Link to article on Hickory High

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A Note on the Pelicans Ownership Succession Plan Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:37 +0000 Last evening, Jeff Duncan, in a very detailed piece, reported that the succession plan for New Orleans Pelicans and New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson has changed.

You can read Jeff’s piece to get more details about what was, but I’ll remind you of what is and give the short of what will be, per the new plan.

Currently, Tom Benson owns:

  • The New Orleans Saints
  • The New Orleans Pelicans
  • WVUE, a New Orleans television station
  • Benson Tower and other real estate
  • Banking and retail interests, most famously, car dealerships
  • A pile of other stuff billionaires own

The succession plan deals with all of his holdings and all of his family, but, again, we are sticking with the Pelicans. The Saints are hand-in-hand with the Pelicans here, so I’ll mention them a bit, too.

Now, the plan is for Mrs. Gayle Benson to own the teams. The teams will be in a trust, and she will be the trustee.

Without getting into every possible detail, a trust is an independent ownership entity that has some major components to keep in mind:

  • Settlor / Grantor: Tom Benson. His property will be held by the trust.
  • Trustee: Gayle Benson. She will direct the trust in its actions. In practical terms, she will act as the owner but she must act in the best interest of the beneficiary, reasonably speaking.
  • Beneficiary: Gayle Benson. She will receive the “benefits” of the property in the trust. For example, if the Pelicans make $1,000,000 that would be the owner’s to spend, the beneficiary gets the money. Mrs. Gayle is the trustee, but that is coincidence here.
  • Terms: Rules that bind the actions of the trustee or the existence of the trust itself.
  • Trust Law: It’s not the Wild West. There are rules that are unavoidable. In particular, this keeps parties from changing the terms they do not like at the drop of a hat, among many, many other things.

So, a trust is like a will, but it is a little more complex. It has more pieces, it is private, it can endure beyond the initial transfer of ownership, and it can come with a mountain of rules.

This added complexity is important, but so is the privacy issue. The goings-on in a trust need not be made public, unlike a will, so the team divulging this information is either a preemptive move if they felt this information would come out anyway, or it was a message sent to the millions of unofficial stakeholders in all of Mr. Tom’s enterprises, or both. There could be other reasons, I’m sure. None of this has been a huge secret, but it also has not be shouted from the rooftops. The last iteration I heard in private conversation well over a year ago was very similar to this arrangement, but it involved Ms. Rita, too.

Back to the complexity, the terms govern the trustee, in this case, Mrs. Gayle. We do not know the terms, but the terms could very well preclude the trustee from selling or relocating the team in most circumstances. Most. It won’t be all circumstances, as that’s not best for business.

Secondly, a trust can have a succession plan that is independent of the desires of the trustee. For example, if the beneficiary of the trust dies, the trust rather than intestacy law or a will can govern who the next beneficiary is.

Summarily, Mr. Tom’s desires can have an effect on ownership long after he passes.

Will they? I have no idea, but it’s on the table. Mr. Tom was Chairman of the NFL’s Finance Committee for about 20 years, so he’s pretty savvy about this stuff. He’s also surrounded himself with a pretty smart management team. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with some of them from time to time about and range of topics from the obvious things one may ask about to trouble with our glasses. If he wants something in there that’s allowed by law, it’s in there. Also, it is expected that this management team will remain in place, basically, for the remainder of Mr. Tom’s ownership and beyond.

Looking to the future, we start in the past and present. Not only are Mr. Tom and Mrs. Gayle from the area, they have become increasingly entrenched. From purchasing a house in Audubon Place off St. Charles Avenue by Audubon Park, massive donations to local institutions, Mrs. Gayle joining the board of Tulane (their neighbor) to purchasing the Pelicans, the Benson’s show an ongoing and growing commitment to the area that was not so obvious just 10 years ago. My hope is that all parties allow this to be an enduring commitment.

Closing on a note about the Pelicans specifically, Mr. Benson has gone through great and surprising lengths to integrate the Pelicans into his enterprise and into the city. Mixing his Saints staff with that of the Pelicans, bringing the Pelicans Practice Facility onto the Saints site and putting millions of his own money into it, rebranding to the Pelicans, and more all show that this entity will be hard to pry apart from the Saints organization. Moreover, Mr. Tom purchased the team once it was clear it would end up leaving New Orleans if another group purchased it. After that departure, the city would be damaged by the absence and by the scuffing this would leave on its reputation. Despite the rough shape the organization was in on the business side (and it was roughroughrough), despite the advice of his closest business advisers, despite the fact that he would likely never see that organization truly successful, he bought it.

He bought it for us. He bought it for our kids.

That’s what I was told, and that is what I believe.

At this point, all I can do is put my trust into him yet again and hope for the best after the worst happens.

Thanks again, Mr. Tom.

Press release

New Orleans Saints Owner Tom Benson has restructured the ownership transfer and control of the Saints and New Orleans Pelicans. The transfer of ownership will not occur until the time of Mr. Benson’s death. At that time, Gayle Benson will assume control of the New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans, in addition to other Benson properties.

“This is something I have thought about and prayed about for a while now,” said Benson. “Over the past 60 years, I have been fortunate enough to build a number of successful businesses not only in New Orleans but also in San Antonio. Throughout those years, I have included my family as well as a strong management team around me to run these businesses, whether they be banks, automobile dealerships, television stations or professional sports franchises. I want to continue this model of proven success. This is about the legacy of these two teams and everything we have done for the good of the city of New Orleans and our region –my primary goal is to give the organization the foundation to live on after me for many, many years.”

Benson added, “I agree that this is somewhat of a change in what has been formally declared but this is best for our teams and our community.”

The New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans will remain under the same management structure, with Gayle Benson serving as Owner that has seen both teams prosper and grow. The management structure of having a small team of senior managers oversee both the Saints and Pelicans will remain in place. The executive level management will continue to be led by Dennis Lauscha (President) and Mickey Loomis (Executive Vice President/General Manager). The senior level management team will remain in place with Greg Bensel (Senior Vice President of Communications/Broadcasting), Jean-Paul Dardenne (Senior Vice President of Corporate Partnerships), Ben Hales (Senior Vice President of Marketing & Business Development), Ed Lang (Senior Vice President/CFO), Vicky Neumeyer (Senior Vice President/General Counsel) and Mike Stanfield (Senior Vice President of Sales).

“Continuity is very important and this plan ensures that,” said Benson. “We have had the same management team in place that oversees both teams for a number of years. It has proven to be successful and it works. Dennis and Mickey will continue to run the operations as they have done day-to-day for the last ten years or so. They consult with me daily, but they will continue to have the same authority they have always had with making decisions, large and small and this will continue even when Gayle becomes owner. This is a good structure…the only difference is that my wife Gayle, will be in control of the Saints and Pelicans when I die, which I can assure you will not be anytime soon.”

Mr. Benson will continue to represent the Saints and Pelicans at the various league and owners’ meetings. And as has been the practice for many years, joining him will be Lauscha and Loomis, as well as Gayle Benson.

“While I have slowed down a bit due to this bad knee, I am still very actively involved in every aspect of my businesses and take part daily in decisions that affect all of my businesses,” said Benson. “I enjoy it, I truly do. I love being in the office and being around the coaches and players and staff and being a part of what they are doing. I have just come to a point in my life where I need to make some tough decisions on how things are going to be planned out. My wife, Gayle, is very important to me. She is born in New Orleans. She has been a businesswoman in this city for many years and is actively involved in many charitable organizations, the Catholic Church, hospitals, schools and university boards, to name a few…I am very proud of her. She is the most logical and natural person closest to me that will ensure the continuity, the stability and the success of our Saints and Pelicans in the city of New Orleans for a long time. The future is bright and secure for both teams here in New Orleans. Plus, she will be surrounded by the best management team in sports in my opinion, just like I have been, who are committed to this community and committed to winning championships.”

“Finally, when family members are involved, decision are always tougher,” said Benson. “My family, as they have been their whole lives, will be very well taken care of, however, this is about making the correct decision as it pertains specifically to the future of the Saints and Pelicans and their long-term success in the city of New Orleans, where they belong.”

The NFL and NBA have been informed of the succession plans set forth by Benson.

Q & A With Tom Benson (From the Organization)

Why now?

As I noted, with my knee and the few surgeries I have had on it during the past year, it has given me time to reflect on a number of issues that we will face in the distant future, not only with the Saints and Pelicans but also my other businesses like the banks, real estate, the ranch, the Benson Tower, WVUE-TV Fox 8 and of course my automobile dealerships here in New Orleans and San Antonio. This is a decision that I have decided was in the best interest for the long-term stability and success of our football and basketball teams. That is a lot to think about. And there are a lot of people and families impacted by decisions that need to be made and so I thought now was the right time. This is not something that came about overnight, but over time.

How or why did you decide on the change in ownership structure of the two teams from your family (i.e. Renee LeBlanc, Rita Benson LeBlanc and Ryan LeBlanc)?

As I noted, I have had time to reflect and figure out if we have the ownership succession plan correct after I die. And you know, my wife Gayle is my family too and a very important part of my life. You just know when the time is at hand to start to really think this through and make sure you have everything covered. It was documented that my daughter Renee, my grandson Ryan and of course my granddaughter Rita would have a large part of my estate, upon my death, including the two teams and other assets. However, this is a decision about the legacy of things that I have built in my lifetime – my family, including Renee, Rita and Ryan, just as they have been – will be very well taken care of after I die. But to finish my thought, this is based solely on doing what is right. I have spent the better part of my life building businesses and as a byproduct of building successful business, I have been fortunate enough in my life to be able to make sizeable donations over a long period of time that directly influence my community – the city of New Orleans. It is what I am most proud of in my life. And right behind that is the joy I get watching our fans after we win, and secure championships for our city. We have tasted that before and we want to provide that again. For that to continue we need to plan for the future and we need to keep the continuity and stability of what we have built at the New Orleans Saints and Pelicans. My wife Gayle will ensure this. Her love for New Orleans and giving back to the community she loves is unmatched.

Rita has been positioned for a long-time to be the eventual owner of the teams and represent them at league and owners’ meetings. What will be her role?

Gayle will own the teams upon my death and as I noted Rita will not be involved in the ownership or management of the Saints or Pelicans. My family, just as they have been for their entire lives, will be well taken care of. The reason for my decision is about laying the foundation for the Organization to continue to be successful.

What happens to the teams when Gayle Benson dies?

Well, since I do not plan on dying anytime soon, and I think Gayle will be around a long time. I am not sure how urgent that question is…but there is a plan, without going into great details, for the team to be set long term here in New Orleans.

Additional Quotes

“My husband is an amazing man and what he has selflessly done and built over his life is truly remarkable. What I have learned from him is that to build a strong community, you must first be willing to give, to help those in need and support those that are doing good, then and only then can community give back to you. The most important thing to me is to continue to secure his legacy in the city he loves, New Orleans, forever and we will do that.”


“We have built a strong foundation of success with the Saints and Pelicans on both the business side and the respective football and basketball operations. This will continue. Mr. Benson remains actively involved in the day to day operations of all of his businesses, addressing both the short and long term plans for the teams are always top of mind items and he decided now was the time to make this change. As President, employee, fan or stakekholder of the Organization, you simply want committed and dedicated ownership who provide the resources, support and guidance to be a champion on and off the field. Mr. Benson provides these assets and this change will continue to strengthen his support. ”



New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Pelicans

“Our football and basketball operations could not ask for a better owner in Mr. Benson. We have nothing but his unequivocal support and that is important. We have been a successful franchise because of it. Nothing will change with that when Mrs. Benson becomes the owner. That stability creates an environment so that players and coaches want to come here.”


Executive Vice President/General Manager

New Orleans Saints

Executive Vice President/Basketball Operations

New Orleans Pelicans

“I am glad to be both friend and spiritual advisor to Tom Benson. Through that relationship, I can assure you he is a man who daily strives to live out the values of Jesus in his daily life. He is consistent in his decisions, both personal and business, that they are rooted in faith and integrity.”


Archdiocese of New Orleans

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Pelicans Snap Out of It, Defeat Lakers Thu, 22 Jan 2015 03:25:15 +0000 The Pelicans defeated the Lakers to climb back to .500 for the 10000000th time this season.  The win was driven by an excellent Anthony Davis performance in his first night back from injury. AD overcame a slow start and finished the night with 29 points on 11-18 shooting, 7 rebounds, 4 blocks, and 3 steals. Good to have him back.

EG, Tyreke, and Pondexter rounded out the scoring tonight and the Lakers fell flat in the 4th, scoring only 12 points. EG also added 10 assists on the night and Pondexter’s contributions on defense were greatly appreciated.

Box Score

1st Quarter

  • For our first points, Omer Asik split a couple defenders with an excellent bounce pass to Tyreke, who spun and hit a reverse layup. Good omen.
  • Gordon’s shot has looked good since coming back from injury.
  • Dante Cunningham followed a pick/roll airball with a tremendous block on Jordan Hill, but it was negated by a foul call.  Shame.
  • The Lakers offense got into the bonus with just under 4 to go in the 1st quarter. The refs didn’t seem to be doing the Pelicans any favors early on.  11 free throws for LA in the first quarter.
  • The Wolters-EG-QPon-AD-Ryno looked good on offense. Context- still playing a bad defense, and probably not capable of stopping (m)any teams on the other end of the floor. But the flow was good, and players always seemed to be moving off the ball.

2nd Quarter

  • The Pelicans started off the 2nd with 2 attempts to get Ryno going from deep. Unfortunately, neither went in.
  • Wolters tried to squeeze a tight bounce pass to Ajinca, which led to a Lin fastbreak (FTs). Then he tried to feed someone in the high post, entry was denied. TO. Gotta clean it up. Wolters is typically good at taking care of the ball.
  • Tyreke picked his spots early and had little trouble scoring. Cut, offensive rebound, drive, drive, 3 pointer.
  • QPon caught the ball with a gaping hole in the center of the court and carried his man to the basket, earning the basket and a foul. The following possession, he hit a turnaround fadeaway to beat the shot clock. Then came the heat check.
  • Anderson caught the ball on a skip pass, pump faked, drove, and missed.. which was fine, but then he got a technical. You can tell he’s just so frustrated right now.
  • 2 turnovers trying to pass the ball inbounds in the span of 3, 4 possessions (one after a timeout). Inexcusable.
  • The Pelicans closed the half with 9 turnovers, which seems to be a theme of late and is utterly outrageous vs. a team like the Lakers.

3rd Quarter

  • It is so important to get AD going (shocking). Got an iso drive to the basket, scored, then promptly drilled a midrange J + got an And 1 the possession after. He wound up with 13 points in the quarter on an assortment of jumpers and drives; he also added 3 steals and 2 blocks in the period.
  • Kobe got stuck in the corner vs. Cunningham and faked left 3 times in an attempt to get DC out of position and spin baseline. But help was there, so he waited, and then AD got pulled out of help position and no one else foresaw Kobe driving baseline. It was so obvious what he wanted to do.
  • Tyreke overthrew AD on the last pass of the quarter and Nate Wolters covered for him by stealing the ball in transition and passing to Pondexter, who scored. Big swing.

4th Quarter

  • QPon was great in this quarter. Good defense, smart play, and filling in with some points as well. His play thus far as a Pelican has been good, which is welcome given how starved we have been for wing play the last few years. He is a competent 2 way player and those are sorely needed.
  • Joel and David were fawning over a turnaround left-handed shot that Kobe took, and rightfully so. It was amazing.
  • Eric Gordon hit Omer Asik with well-timed passes on 2 pick and rolls in 3 possessions. 2 dunks.


It wasn’t a perfect night, but the Pelicans won by a comfortable gap versus an inferior team– and for me, that’s enough.

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