NBA TEAM PREVIEWS
Atlantic: Boston Celtics | Brooklyn Nets | New York Knicks | Philadelphia 76ers | Toronto Raptors
Central: Chicago Bulls | Cleveland Cavaliers | Detroit Pistons | Indiana Pacers | Milwaukee Bucks
Southeast: Atlanta Hawks | Charlotte Hornets | Miami Heat | Orlando Magic | Washington Wizards
Pacific: Golden State Warriors | Los Angeles Clippers | Los Angeles Lakers | Phoenix Suns | Sacramento Kings
Northwest: Denver Nuggets | Minnesota Timberwolves | Oklahoma City Thunder | Portland Trail Blazers | Utah Jazz
Southwest: Dallas Mavericks | Houston Rockets | Memphis Grizzlies | New Orleans Pelicans | San Antonio Spurs
Presenting an NBA preview of the New Orleans Pelicans that looks at the potential highs and lows for this coming 2016-17 NBA season.
What’s Good… Anthony Davis is reportedly healthy and as he goes, so goes the Pelicans’ present and future. Last season, Davis was held to playing just 61 games before eventually being shut down for the season due to a left knee injury and a partially torn labrum in his left shoulder. Davis underwent successful knee surgery and his ailing shoulder was found to not require surgery and is reportedly (there’s that word again) at 100 percent functionality. While he did recently suffer a minor ankle sprain, upon his return, he played 37 minutes and dropped 33 and 13. Suffice it to say, his ankle looks fine and his outlook for the season is a positive one.
What’s Bad… For the second straight season the Pelicans are dealing with major losses from a roster standpoint. Tyreke Evans is still on the mend from his most recent knee surgery and his rehab at one point was scaled back due to him developing a blood clot in his calf. Quincy Pondexter is also recovering from two major knee surgeries and may not be game-ready until January. Saving the worst for last, Jrue Holliday is away from the team indefinitely to care for his family while his wife Lauren recovers from a reportedly “successful” brain surgery procedure to remove a benign tumor. In matters such as this, basketball is obviously not important and we wish his family the best and his wife a speedy recovery.
X-Factor… When thinking of impactful players (besides Anthony Davis) that could be X-Factors for the Pelicans, two players come to mind – Terrence Jones and Buddy Hield. Jones is a freak athlete with the talent to be a franchise player. Unfortunately, he is also the NBA poster child for freak injuries. TJ has had an outstanding preseason and if he can manage to stay healthy we could be witnessing a banner season for the oft-injured forward. Hield had his ups and downs throughout the preseason, but still looks to be an NBA-ready guard capable of taking some of scoring burden off Davis. Possibly even taking over the starting shooting guard spot while tossing his hat into Rookie of the Year consideration as he will have plenty of opportunity on the banged-up Pelicans.
Bet On… Another stellar year from Anthony Davis as he continues his ascendance towards super stardom. He obviously has the talent and basketball IQ, now all we need is a healthy 82 games out of him to see the evolution of his game.
The Crystal Ball Reveals… While the Pelicans have much to be optimistic about this coming season, they will still be on the outside looking in when the NBA Playoffs come around. Let’s be honest, if they were in the East, I’d give them a puncher’s chance to make it in, but the West is just too stacked to sneak into the postseason.