The New Orleans Pelicans have one of the most talent-laden rosters in the NBA for the 2013-14 season. After trading for Jrue Holiday and landing Tyreke Evans as part of a sign-and-trade in free agency to join Anthony Davis and a slew of talented young players, this team has talent bursting at the seams.
However, the Pelicans have struggled to realize the potential that talent presents early in this season as they have gotten off to a slow start. Though Davis has performed like an All-Star, the team as a whole has looked rough at times and like they are uncomfortable in this system.
On Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, though, the Pelicans got a boost with the return of power forward and super-reserve Ryan Anderson. Not wasting any time to let his presence be known, Anderson lit up the Sixers for 26 points on 10-16 shooting from the floor and 6-10 shooting from deep. Not surprisingly, the Pelicans rolled to 135-98 victory over Philly.
Though a lot of their success on Saturday is predicated on a Sixers team regressing to the mean after a hot start, the Pelicans’ offense was in a much better rhythm on Saturday night. In actuality, it might not have been that they were uncomfortable with the system, but that the system doesn’t work properly without Anderson.
With Anderson’s elite ability as a stretch-four, it’s hard to duplicate his impact on an offense. Because of that, the Pelicans were running their system with replacements for Anderson when the system isn’t set up for traditional big men but is set up for someone with Anderson’s skill-set. It’s obviously a small sample size, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Pelicans started to click a little more moving forward now that Anderson is back with the team.