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New Orleans Pelicans Already Pick Up Third-Year Options of Anthony Davis, Austin Rivers

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Derick E. Hingle – USA Today Sports Images

Anthony Davis is the future of the New Orleans Pelicans. The team with the NBA’s newest nickname may have added talented guards in Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans this summer, but that doesn’t change the fact that this team belongs to the number-one overall pick from the 2012 NBA Draft.

The Pelicans seem to know this, too, as they have already locked him up for the third year of his contract before he even has started his second year in the league. According to an Associated Press report, the Pelicans have already exercised their team-options on Davis and fellow 2012 first round pick, Austin Rivers, for the third year of their contracts.

Davis seems like a can’t-miss player at this point. In his rookie season he averaged a fantastic 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.2 steals in 28.8 minutes per game while shooting a solid 51.6 percent from the floor. In the preseason, as well as with Team USA this summer, Davis has already shown improvements in his offensive game and in terms of getting stronger to deal with the physical nature of the NBA game.

Rivers is a different story, though. His rookie season, on a couple of levels, was abysmal in New Orleans. He finished the year with a PER of an atrociously low 5.95 in addition to averaging only 6.2 points, 2.1 assists and 1.8 rebounds on only 37.2 percent shooting from the floor and just 32.6 percent three-point shooting.

After one of the worst seasons from a lottery pick in the history of the league, Rivers has obviously put in the work to improve. He’s worked on his ball-handling, his ability to create shots, and his passing this summer, with positive results showing at the Las Vegas Summer League and in the preseason. He could very well be on his way to righting the course of his career.

It’s not surprising that the Pelicans would lock up Davis already, but is a bit more surprising that they would do the same for Rivers. Having said that, the Pelicans showing confidence in Rivers could help the young guard continue to grow and develop going forward, which could aid him in his turnaround. All in all, it seems like New Orleans knows what they’re doing when it comes to these two youngsters.

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