Sep 29, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Pelicans forwardAnthony Davis
(23) and teammatesEric Gordon
(10) and Tyreke Evnas (1) laugh as they wait to take photos during the Pelicans media day at the New Orleans Pelicans practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Crystal LoGiudice-USA TODAY Sports
As we continue our NBA preview series, we take a closer look at the New Orleans Pelicans
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New Orleans Pelicans 2013-14 record: 34-48
New Orleans Pelicans 2013-14 MVP: Anthony Davis
Three Things I Know About The New Orleans Pelicans…
- Anthony Davis is well on his way to being the top big man in the entire league. This could be his season to insert himself into the elite category of players.
- The addition of Omer Asik allows Davis to return to his natural Power Forward position and play with a defensive minded big man who’ll help him protect the paint.
- Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, and Ryan Anderson should all be back from injury this season and a healthy New Orleans team has a young core that has been together for a little while now, an underrated aspect of success in the NBA.
- Omer Asik (trade)
- Jimmer Fredette (free agency)
- Anthony Morrow (free agency)
The New Orleans Pelicans will be a playoff team if…
They can dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. They now have the essential means to do so – Davis offensively and Asik defensively. Davis is coming off a very impressive showing on Team USA and should come into this season with enhanced confidence, inching closer and closer to his eventual and inevitable elite status. They lost an outside shooter in Anthony Morrow, but should be able to fill that void with Jimmer Fredette. That factor will be important as Davis should draw a lot of attention in and around the paint.
What will be absolutely necessary is Jrue Holiday bouncing back from last season’s injury and returning to his All Star form. Point guard play is strong in the West but not necessarily that prominent in the Pelicans’ division so they should definitely look to exploit that.
Defense – While his team defense has been iffy during his first two NBA seasons, Davis is a tremendous individual defender and the addition of Asik will definitely boost the Pelicans in that aspect. Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday are also solid defenders who can use their length and size to lock down the perimeter.
Rebounding – The Pelicans now have two of the best rebounding big men in the game. There should be very few rebounds that fall into other teams’ hands.
Shooting – Jrue Holiday is a decent outside shooter and Anthony Davis can step out to midrange but the Pelicans lack shooting for the most part. Jimmer Fredette should be able to provide support in that area but he’s been anything but elite thus far in his career so that may be a lot to ask. We just have to wait and see. It would be great for the team if Ryan Anderson can return to form after suffering a devastating neck injury last season.
2014-15 New Orleans Pelicans MVP will be…
Anthony Davis. Don’t expect this to change anytime soon. And don’t be surprised if he’s a league MVP in a few short seasons.
Season Defining Question:
How much will the Pelicans’ perimeter game support their interior game on both ends of the floor? Stretching the floor will be an invaluable part of their game if perfected.
Best Case Scenario:
6-8 seed in the West, first round series win
Worst Case Scenario:
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