The recently renamed New Orleans Pelicans aren’t the talk of the league or the subject of much analysis recently, as their 23-37 record doesn’t leave a significant amount of room for optimism. If they were in the Eastern Conference, this team would be a few games out from the eighth seed and a playoff berth, but due to the drastic imbalance of talent currently in the league, the Pelicans are stuck 12 and a half games out of the Western Conference playoff picture.
So why am I bothering to write an article concerning this seemingly unimportant team? Simply becuase the potential of this young and talented team. Not this season, necessarily, but one, two, three years down the road, this reinvigorated New Orleans basketball team has the opportunity to be serious contenders in the league. I cannot seem to shake the word “potential” when thinking about the Pelicans, as it sums up their situation perfectly. Anthony Davis, commonly known as “The Brow”, due to his hard-to-miss monobrow, is a stud, plain and simple. Playing his second season out of Kentucky, this 20 year old has the opportunity to possibly become one of the best power forwards in the NBA. And although the team is starting to form around him, similar to how the Timberwolves form around Kevin Love, the supporting players are not to be overlooked. Jrue Holiday, although currently out for the season due to surgery for a stress fracture, came from Philadelphia to bring energy, speed, passing, and shooting to the young Pelicans organization. At only 23 years old, he too has much room to grow and mature into his role in this club.
To round out the backcourt, he has star shooting guard Eric Gordon. Although Gordon doesn’t draw as much attention as other guards in the league, he is right up there with them in terms of talent. A shooting presence along with a high basketball IQ makes Gordon a great support for Holiday to learn the skills he needs to improve. The organization has also acquired Tyreke Evans from the Sacramento Kings. Evans has not played up to his potential as of yet, but I wholly believe that he has the talent to become a big name in the league. His numbers have decreased every season, but I accredit that to his decreased minutes on the court, not his lack of effort or execution. With a young group of guys around him, I’d wager that he will step up his game and become a key playmaker on the Pelicans. The team is definitely lacking at the center position and doesn’t have the depth required to truly match up with the powerhouse teams of the league, but with a few smart trades and draft picks, it is not unreasonable to see this team becoming a real threat in the near future.
Eber is a member of the class of 2017.