One of the biggest topics in the NBA right now is the New Orleans Pelicans. A whole lot of it isn’t even about the team, but the new team name. Opinions are pretty split, but I for one am a huge fan of the name. It doesn’t matter that it’s not intimidating or that it’s not scary. That’s not the point. It fits them, its fun and when your best player–Anthony Davis–has a wingspan of 7’5”, you can pretend that he is a Pelican flapping his wings.
Then the Pelicans unveiled their jerseys this last week and it was pretty disappointing. What’s the point of changing your name and not having that new name on the jerseys? Nonetheless, there is definitely a feeling of excitement around this team. They have a new name, new colors, new uniforms and new faces. It is a fun time to be a fan of them, but where exactly are these Pelicans headed?
When New Orleans decided to trade Chris Paul instead of letting him walk in free agency, it went straight into rebuilding mode. Management did it right and bottomed out, because in the NBA you need to be bad before you can be good. Because of this it was bad enough and lucky enough to get the first pick in the 2012 NBA draft. It picked big man Davis, who is well on his way to be a star player. New Orleans was also able to trim salary and get way under the cap.
Now this offseason the Pelicans decided to take a leap. Rather than continue rebuilding, New Orleans wanted to try to win now. They traded the rights of Nerlens Noel and a 2014 unprotected first round pick to the Philadelphia 76ers for all-star Jrue Holiday. Then they used their cap space to sign former rookie of the year Tyreke Evans to a four year $44 million contract.
I fear that the Pelicans may have jumped the gun a little. All there cap space is now tied into Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson, Holiday, Davis and Evans. This is a really nice core, but at best they are going to be competing for the seventh or eighth seed in the Western Conference.
Now it is entirely possible that this team will eventually be a good playoff team, but they had no reason to rush. Rather it would have been better to continue to gather assets and make the big moves when the team was ready. The Pelicans are going to be a lot of fun, but they could have also been great if they were a little more patient.