For the life of me, I can’t stop raving about this New Orleans Pelicans team. Going into 2013, I have the Pelicans as one of my two dark horse sleepers in the Western Conference along with the Minnesota Timberwolves. New Orleans very well could fight for one of the bottom three playoff spots this year, and it’s all thanks to their monstrous offseason.
It all started like this:
“Um, hello. Hi. We were wondering if you would like to trade us that tall, lanky, no-meat-on-his-bones rookie center that probably won’t play for close to another year… Oh, what do you get in return? Sure, sure. How about a 23-year old All Star point guard? Deal? Great, great. Pleasure doing business with you.”
The Pelicans, in my opinion, committed a highway robbery by getting Jrue Holiday from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for their draft rights to Nerlens Noel. Already having a guy like Anthony Davis — who is healthier and bigger I might add — made this deal especially a no brainer.
Thus far in the preseason, Holiday and his new-look Pelicans are off to a wonderful start at 3-0. Anthony Morrow is shooting lights out from beyond the arc. Davis is showing much improvement offensively, displaying a wider variety of shot selection. Brian Roberts is scoring off the bench just as he did a year ago. Austin Rivers looks like he has improved his ability to beat his defenders much more often than he did as a rookie.
This team is averaging 103 points per game and shooting 55 percent from three point range thus far. Although their hot start is reason to get excited, head coach Monty Williams can’t get too worked up.
“Our transition defense hasn’t been as sound as it can be,’’ said Williams, according to NOLA.com. “We have so many guys trying to figure out the rotation and schemes of our defense.”
While Williams continues to do his thing as a coach, finding different ways to improve, Holiday says he has enjoyed his time in New Orleans so far.
“It’s been fun, but obviously at times it has been frustrating,’’ Holiday said Friday after practice. “Coach tells me all the time that he wants me to figure out my teammates, where to give it to them. Obviously, preseason is that time to figure that stuff out, especially being with a new team.”
With still plenty of time before the regular season, look for this Pelicans squad to get more and more comfortable as time goes on. Oh, and by the way, Tyreke Evans has missed the last two games due to a minor injury but should be back within the next two weeks. Just imagine the possibilities for this roster at full strength.