Pelicans Win the Game and in Position to Win the War

Published: October 7, 2013

Anthony Davis is the future of this organization, and the future is now. Following a season where Davis dealt with some injury issues and was overshadowed nationally by Damian Lillard and Andre Drummond, he is now ready to take his place amongst the elite players in the NBA. Offensively, we saw the entire repertoire – dribble drives to the left and to the right, mid-range jumpers, putback layups and dunks, turnaround hooks and jumpers in the lane and post, and even some alley-oops. On the defensive end, he trapped the ball handler on picks, smothered the inbounds passer, and changed or blocked shots on the weak side.

In 26 minutes, Anthony Davis scored 25 points on 19 shots, grabbed 7 rebounds, and added a steal and a block for good measure. And somehow, those numbers don’t even do what Davis did tonight justice. Against a team that had a former NBA and Finals MVP, Davis was clearly the best player on the floor. His impact was felt on both ends on every single possession, and it is hard not to get excited about the possibilities once the Pelicans get their full arsenal of weapons on the court with Davis. Having Gordon and Evans will make the game so much easier for Davis on both ends of the floor, and that is a scary thought for the rest of the NBA.

Notes and Observations

– For those who care, the Pelicans won the game 94-92 thanks to Brian Roberts red-hot 4th quarter. Roberts scored 17 points in the 4th quarter, including a pull-up jumper with 21 seconds that put the Pelicans up for good.

– I would be shocked if Lazar Hayward makes this team. He just doesn’t offer anything to the roster that the Pelicans can’t get elsewhere. In the battle for the 15th roster spot, Arinze Okuanu has a clear edge.

– Speaking of our roster, is it possible that Monty showcases Roberts over the next few weeks? There is just no space for him on this roster when everyone is healthy, and guys like Kyle Singler and Ekpe Udoh are buried on their teams’ depth chart. A guy like Singler could get real minutes on this team, and if Roberts keeps putting up points like this, he will be on several GM’s radar.

– It is not time to start worrying about Jrue Holiday yet, but it is time to acknowledge that he will need better weapons around him to take the pressure off him offensively. When he is surrounded by inferior talent, he does not have the ability to make those guys better. Instead, he tries to do too much and he settles for terrible shots when the lane is closed due to poor spacing. Hopefully, the Pelicans stay relatively healthy throughout the season and Holiday can pick and choose his spots.

– Anthony Morrow should be allowed to do one of two things on the offensive end: Shoot a spot-up three or pass the ball. That is it and that’s all. His spot up jumper is a thing of beauty, and every time he gets a corner three off, I expect it to go in. But almost nothing good happens when he puts the ball on the floor or shoots while on the move. Catch and shoot or pass – if he does that, he could earn himself a nice little Gary Neal type contract next season.

– I like Brandan Wright, always have. Wish we could have signed him when he was cheap and the league had given up on him. Poor man’s Anthony Davis.

– You just can’t put Greg Stimesma and Al-Farouq Aminu on the court together, and quite frankly, I don’t know if Stiemsma should be on the court at all when the season starts. When those two are on the court, the Pelicans have no spacing. None. They are essentially playing three-on-five out there, and that forces Holiday to take too many chances. Those chances also result in turnovers. Instead, I would prefer to see Jason Smith with the first unit and have Stiemsma play next to Morrow, Rivers, Evans, and Anderson on the second unit. That unit could get away with Stiemsma as a black hole offensively, but a unit with Aminu can not.

Tonight, Stiemsma got 16 minutes and gave the Pelicans one point and two rebounds. He had a block and a steal, but really didn’t have any impact on the defensive end either. And there was no excuse for that. In the first game, it was understandable because he was going up against Dwight Howard, but tonight he matched up with Wright or Dalembert.

– Anderson made his season debut, playing 20 energetic minutes while giving the Pelicans 12 points and 6 rebounds (5 offensive). With the playmakers that the Pelicans have this season, I fully expect both Anderson and Davis to be in the top ten in offensive rebounds this year.

– Austin Rivers had another solid game, scoring 9 points on 8 shots. Free throws were a minor issue again (1-3), and he had two turnovers in 28 minutes, but to my eye, neither were his fault. He was in with some atrocious lineups and there were broken sets were he was just hung out to dry. He is progressing on the offensive end, but I really wish people would appreciate him on the other end. He has gone from a ten to an eighty in one calendar year on that end. He was terrible at the beginning of last year, but he is terrific right now. And I am not exaggerating. Terrific. Next game, just  do yourself a favor and watch him work on that end.

– And the best news of all: No injuries tonight! That’s priority #1 for the preseason. Everything else is just icing on the cake.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.