Formerly the Hornets, the New Orleans Pelicans have a new name and new colors this season, but will the change translate to any real difference on the court?
The fans certainly hope for a change from a team that has not made the playoffs since 2011, and hasn’t had any real kind of success in them since winning a playoff series in 2008. But the franchise has never been past the second round, and that’s the kind of change fans truly want to see, regardless of logos and jerseys.
Oddsmakers don’t love the Pelicans chances of having a memorable season this year, but are they headed in the right direction? Do they have what it takes to compete next year and in the near future, if not this one?
Odds To Win Championship: 100/1
Key #1: Continued development by Anthony Davis
Every franchise needs a strong foundation, and the Pelicans have just that in the form of Anthony Davis. The 2012 first overall draft pick has already made an impact in his short time in the league. New Orleans fans knew what to expect when the youngster was the team’s top scorer in his very first NBA game.
Even the best players don’t hit their strides in their first season, so as good as Davis was last year, he can be expected to be even better this season and well into the future. The Pelicans are hoping he has hardly scratched the surface of his potential and that this year is a true breakout one for the young talent. If it is, he will help the Pelicans become relevant in the NBA in record time.
Key #2: Great year from Eric Gordon
As impressive as Anthony Davis is, he is not the lone young impact player that the Pelicans boast in their lineup.
A 2008 seventh overall pick, Gordon has had a few more years to make a name for himself in the NBA. Starting his career with the Clippers, Gordon was part of a multi-player deal that saw him don the Hornets colors. In their final year as the Hornets, Gordon was the team’s leading scorer. With the rise of Davis, he may not claim that title again, but he will certainly play a key role alongside the 2012 draft sensation in remaking the Pelicans.
If the duo continue to develop and become a two-man power the likes of which the NBA has seen before in rare cases (Jordan/Pippin, Bryant/O’Neal, etc.) the Pelicans will be set for years to come.
Key #3: Holiday on point
Newcomer Jrue Holiday, acquired from the Philadelphia 76ers in the offseason, will be counted upon to be an impactful starting point guard for the Pelicans. With four seasons in the league, Holiday is a veritable veteran compared to some of his Pelicans counterparts, and his experience will be useful. But he is also young and has room to grow, which is encouraging.
Click here to get more basketball odds and up-to-date lines on the NBA.