The Beauty of Gray

This is not a black and white world
To be alive, I say that the colors must swirl
And I believe that maybe today
We will all get to appreciate
The beauty of gray

— Live, The Beauty of Gray

As many have noticed, the next phase of renovations of the Smoothie King Center have begun. Immediately following the All-Star Weekend, demolition began on the exterior of the Center, with a large staircase being removed and part of the main entrance being blocked off.

The planned renovations, like all plans, have changed since they were made.

The main element of the renovations is a new entryway. The current plan is for one smaller than originally drawn up. This will still re-situate the entrance so that it faces those walking up from Dixon Drive rather than the loading dock of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The entryway will house ticket services, so patrons will not have to walk to the far side of the Center for purchases, will-call, etc. The team store will also be expanded, and there will be better parking along Dixon Drive for those stopping at the store away from game time. Some of the area currently used by the team store, ticket services, and more will be converted in to pre-function space (e.g. green rooms) and other areas that are used to help put on events and keep things running smoothly.

The subtraction comes with two main additions. The first is a coat of paint on the exterior of the Center. We have not been able to confirm the color choice or how final it is, but indications are that it will be something like gray. The second is the addition of a sports bar in the corner of the Center near the entryway. The bar will have a view down Dixon Drive rather than be behind the gray walls.

It’s unclear at this time how the sports bar will function, but you can bet that it will eventually have a sponsor and will allow a view of the game in the bowl and more. Revenue generation plus fan experience equals, in this case, sports bar. I can’t disagree at this point.

The new staircase on the Dome side of Dixon Drive leading to the upper walkway is still in the plans, and security will be moved farther on the walkways, which should allow for an easier experience with lines and perhaps more room to mill about outside from a functional perspective.

I can take or leave the color changes, but a smaller entryway in exchange for a sports bar is a good trade. This is why I love both plans and the gray area left in improving them. The Smoothie King Center will have much more personality and verve than its earlier incarnation, and that counts for something with fans.

For those wanting sources (and you should want them!):

The above snippet shows the call out for paint . . .

And here for the sports bar. Those seem unambiguous in general nature, but very nebulous in term of specifics . . . so . . . fun.

New Orleans Pelicans News

The New Orleans Pelicans had 4 games in the last week of February, lost all 4, and extended their losing streak to 7. They finished that week 23-36.

The first of the four losses was to the Los Angeles Clippers. The 123-110 loss was due largely to the Clippers’ 3-point barrage, but a bad run early in the third helped to seal it. The Pelicans offensive rebounding (40%) and free throw shooting advantage (29 of 35 v 21 of 26) partially masked the walloping they got at the arc (16 of 28 v 7 of 18). Early in the third, the Clippers when on a 12-0 run over the course of 2:32: a three from Crawford then 9 straight from Griffin (3 from the line, 3 shots at the rim).

The second loss was to the hated Dallas Mavericks, and it was a 108-89 gift to the home team. The Pelicans rebounded well (88.2 ORB%), but they turned the ball over 19 times compared to 9 takeaways. Again, the early part of the fourth quarter was not kind to the Pelicans. In the first 6 minutes of the quarter, the Pelicans were outscored 15-7, allowing the lead to grow to 19, which was the final margin. During this stretch, the Pelicans had 5 turnovers (one was a shot clock violation) and Rivers missed both free throws for a pseudo-sixth. The second quarter was a bigger loss for the Pelicans, but there were only 5 turnovers in the whole quarter. Also, Davis left this game in the eighth minute into the second quarter.

Though I had the pleasure of watching this game with Nick Lewellen over some wings, there was only so much a wing can do to substitute for a win. The 116-104 loss was largely determined by the Suns’ execution in the fourth compared to the opposite for the Pelicans. Again, it was a late run, this time courtesy of a 17-1 run by the Suns over the course of less than 5 minutes. The Suns failed to score on just a single possession in that stretch, losing a single rebound off a close shot to Davis. The Pelicans, of course, failed on all but one, and then Evans left a free throw at the line to boot.

The last loss was similar to the first, just worse. The 108-76 loss was to the Los Angeles Clippers, and it was an unbridled drubbing. Davis played just 3:07 seconds before sitting with foul trouble. The Pelicans never led and were down 7 at this point, and it did not improve other than Ajinca nailing a free throw during the substitution. The Clippers went on a 12-2 run in the next 4 minutes and change, and it the game managed to give up an additional 16 points in the balance of the game.

Around Bourbon Street Shots

With Chris Paul coming to town, Joe assets that his jersey will hang in the rafters in New Orleans.

Nick Lewellen took a look at the Pierre Jackson situation, and Michael McNamara takes and early look at potential offseason moves for the Pelicans.

Mason Ginsberg was at MIT’s Sloan Conference on sports analytics and gave his day 1 report.

`Voices’ of the People

I think the biggest offseason questions for the Pelicans is whether Dell should be making these decisions and whether Monty should continue to be the coach. My view is that both should go. Just two years ago, the Hornets/Pelicans future seemed bright.: They had a lot of cap room and draft choices. Since then Dell has drafted Austin Rivers, gave up our number 1 pick in a deep draft for a good but not great player, signed a shooting guard who can’t shoot, and traded our center. He also failed to address the team’s biggest need, which was and continues to be small forward. The only good decision he made was drafting AD which was a no brainer. With a record like that, does he really deserve to keep his job? As for Monty, the best evidence of the poor job he has done is the team’s defense. The Pelicans have been terrible defensively. I recognize that they have had injuries but so does every team. For instance, no team has had as many injuries as the Bulls yet they have remained competitive and a top defensive team. There is no reason why the team’s defense should be this bad.


Pierre Jackson played his first game for Fenerbahce last Friday. He started on the bench and only played 3 minutes in the first half. He did not play in the second half.

Here is a photo from the game:

3 minutes is not long enough for any kind of judgement. But here is what I thought while watching. He looked really fast, He can jump! He pulled a defensive rebound and I was impressed by the way he reached to the ball in the crowd. He got blocked once and got into traffic while trying to attach the basket in his second attempt.

He played in front of approximately 13000 fans and against the last champion of the Euroleague. It is not the d-league for sure…

Here is what his new coach, Obradovic, said after the game:

“Pierre Jackson needs time to adjust as a newcomer. It’s normal. He understands the way we play. He is going to have more minutes in the near future.” Obradovic also said that Jackson were in practice for only 4 times before he played in his first game. He said PJ will adapt with more practice and game-play.

By the way, Ex-Raptor Lithuanian Linas Kleiza plays for Fenerbahce and he led his team with 21 points and 8 rebounds.

I will try to post more here as I hear more from Pierre Jackson.

PS. Fenerbahce plays a league game at the moment but PJ is not on the roster because the Turkish basketball federation has a rule to have minimum 7 Turkish players on the squad of 12 players. That means only 5 non-Turkish players can play at league games. Fenerbahce plays Bo McCalebb (USA-G), Linas Kleiza(Lthuania-F), Nemanja Bjelica(Serbia-F), Luka Zoric(Croatia-C), Blagola Sekulic(Montenegro-F). Jackson has to prove that he’s really good to replace any of them.

PS#2. The starting PG for Fenerbahce is Bo McCalebb from New Orleans!


Rivers defense is nice. His offense is slowly coming along too. Withey is also looking good. I noticed him boxing out DeAndre Jordan for a rebound which is something nobody else could do. We say it every week, but once they get some PT, I think they will be good players for the Pels. I’m just hoping that when Jrue gets back, we don’t just forget about Rivers again.

Steven J

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