After making the 2015 NBA playoffs, led by MVP candidate Anthony Davis, the Pelicans looked at to make more noise in 2016. They brought in Alvin Gentry, the assistant who helped orchestrate the Warriors offense to a championship win the year before. This years Pelicans have well, disappointed.
New Orleans is currently 20-32, 12th in the Western Conference. The main reason for their lack of success is injuries. Anthony Davis has missed some time along with Quincy Pondexter, Eric Gordon, Jrue Holiday and now Tyreke Evans.
Evans had his fair share of injuries throughout his NBA career. Eric Gordon, much like Evans, has also dealt with injuries. Both players have been in trades, but for Evans sake, it looks like he won’t be going anywhere. Gordon still has a chance to be dealt, but he has been on the market for a couple of years. Not to mention that he is currently recovering from surgery on a broken finger.
This comes back to management. Anthony Davis is the cornerstone, the franchise. They just signed him to a $145 million this past summer. He needs a team with talent with no injury history.
Chris Webber, a former NBA player, talked about the Pelicans in a recent TNT conference call.
“If you really want to keep the full context of positively around, if you want to keep encouraging hard workers put some people around him that think that way. Maybe some veterans, some more leaders.”
I agree with Webber on this. Anthony Davis is a star in this league and his stats have shown that he can compete with the best. The problem is that the team itself is not competitive.
Most are saying to fire Alvin Gentry and I disagree. I’m never a fan of firing coaches during or after their first season. Second, we saw last year that his plan is successful with the right players. That is where the management comes into play.
Ryan Anderson has been in trade talks for a while now. It’s likely he gets dealt somewhere else for an expiring contract, draft pick(s) or maybe just cash (hey, any extra cap space to get Kevin Durant, right?). With Gordon and Evans injury history, they most likely won’t get dealt at next week’s deadline.
Bottom line, you can’t predict injuries and it’s unfortunate to see this happen. But you can prepare yourself for the future. Trade bad contracts and build around Davis. Davis’ best years are ahead of him, and it would be unfortunate to see him play for a bad team. If the Pelicans don’t find talent, Davis will walk away in five years.