Could the New Orleans Pelicans Contend in the Western Conference Playoff Race in 2013?

By Ryan Heckman


Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

This offseason has been an incredible one for the New Orleans Pelicans. They have gone from looking at the playoffs from the outside in, to now having a much more formidable roster that could contend for a playoff spot in 2013.

It all began on draft night when they dealt the rights to Nerlens Noel to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for All Star point guard Jrue Holiday. To me, this was one of the best — if not the best — moves of the night. Holiday will come in right away and change things up dramatically.

Holiday has the ability to score in a variety of ways, but most importantly he can get his teammates involved like they were used to last year with Greivis Vasquez. The thing about Holiday, though, is that he can get to the basket and finish a lot better than Vasquez. He brings another aspect to the offensive game.

Executing a sign-and-trade to bring in Tyreke Evans from the Sacramento Kings was another excellent move for the Pelicans. With Evans and Holiday, they have a back court that can get to the basket and score the basketball.

Don’t forget about Eric Gordon — while he’s still there at least. Gordon, when healthy, can shoot the ball at a high level and brings a tremendous amount of athleticism to the team. Holiday, Evans and Gordon will be a fun trio of guards to watch next year if they can keep them together.

One of the more underrated moves this summer was the re-signing of forward Al-Farouq Aminu. The young and athletic forward brings a lot of different things to the team, but most importantly he is efficient. He scores at a high percentage and can rebound very well at his position.

With a lot of the pieces in place this summer and of course big man Anthony Davis down low, the Pelicans have a legitimate shot to contend for a playoff spot in the wide open Western Conference. Looking at the lower seeds last season, the Pelicans may have a shot to make it in.

The biggest thing for the Pelicans next year is going to be the chemistry between their lineup of guards. If those three can mesh together nicely, they will be an incredibly fun team to watch. Not only will they be fun to watch, but we may be watching them in the playoffs next spring.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior NBA Writer for Follow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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