So what do you know about the Pelicans?
For the first time ever, an NBA team called the Pelicans will invade San Antonio to take on the Spurs tonight at the AT&T Center. Of course, those of you who’ve been following along know it is the new name for the old Charlotte Hornets franchise (New Orleans Hornets just didn’t really fit).
The name got a little bit of backlash when New Orleans native and long-time San Antonian Tom Benson announced the change to the public. It’s a little odd on first reference, but I think you get used to it. Besides, the Brown Pelican is the state bird of Louisiana and is pret-tay, pret-tay badass.
And the mascot is just freaking terrifying…
It’s like a devil bird disguised as a horrible clown with odd feathers and a Mr. T mohawk. Needless to say this image has been turned into a project of sorts for countless Photoshop enthusiasts and is now a thing that nightmares are made of. So let’s talk about basketball, shall we?
Joe Gerrity of Bourbon Street Shots and I talked a little bit about the matchup tonight. He asked me a few questions for BSS and I spun some his way as well. Here’s what he had to say about the young, exciting team from New Orleans.
1. There were certainly some high expectations for this team after the offseason they had, so how are folks feeling in New Orleans right now? How are things going with the Pelicans 12 games into the season?
Fans were rushing to judgement on every single move and player a few games into the season, but things are starting to calm down as newer fans have realized that it takes a few games for things to come together. Optimism is actually replacing pessimism around the forums and comment sections, and the enthusiasm for firing Dell and Monty has been quelled by victories.
2. Any basketball fan knows that Anthony Davis is part of the very bright NBA future, but just how good is he right now?
He’s on a path to becoming one of the best to play the game…ever, and it’s happening well before anyone thought it would. He’s averaging 20 points, 11 boards, 4 blocks, and 1.9 steals. Two players have done that before in a season. Perhaps you’ve heard of them? David Robinson (age 26) and Hakeem Olajuwon (age 27) did it a total of one time in their careers. Davis in 20 years old. Oddly enough it’s on defense where he has the most room for growth.
3. On the flip side, I’m not sure most people know how good Ryan Anderson is. What has his return meant for this team?
His three point prowess has allowed them to spread the floor, improve a bench that was pretty much being led by Brian Roberts, and make threes. Ryan Anderson is 13-21 from behind the arc in three games. The rest of the team has combined to make just 51 total this season, barely over four per game. In the modern NBA you need a three point threat (or three), and Anderson fills that role perfectly for the Pelicans.
4. How about the offseason acquisitions, Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans? Are they starting to figure things out?
Neither have impressed too much so far, and Evans was downright terrible to start the season, but they’re getting the hang of it. The problem has been too much settling for long range jumpers, but that seems to be working itself out. Another issue has been fast breaks, but that’s something that should figure itself out once the players become more familiar with each other.
5. OK, thoughts on the game tonight… what are some things you’re looking for the Pelicans to show us here in San Antonio? Care to make a prediction?
Oh boy. Just to stay competitive would be a win for this young squad. Also I would like to see AD and Duncan match up a little bit, just for fun. I make a habit of not predicting losses for my team, so I’ll go ahead and just say that we’ll still be paying attention midway through the fourth quarter, but probably not in the closing seconds. Take from that what you will.
The Spurs are going after their eleventh consecutive win against the Pelicans. And if they get it, they’ll tie the franchise record for best start to a season at 13-1. So there’s a lot going on tonight.
New Orleans (6-6) is one of the most intriguing teams in the league, and Davis (as we’ve already mentioned) is a stat-stuffing big man who can do it all. Seriously. ‘The Brow’ alone is worth the price of admission.
And just for your entertainment, a couple of GIFs that have made their way around the Internet. (Courtesy of SB Nation.)
So enjoy the show.