The New Orleans Pelicans were dreadful last season. They previously made the playoffs in the 2014-2015 season with Monty Williams as the head coach. And in the 2015-2016 season that was to come, many expected them to take another step forward and not be the eighth seed they were in the 2014-2015 season. Well, the Pelicans surprisingly fired Williams and then proceeded to hire Warriors assistant head coach Alvin Gentry. The feeling was that he would help make star Pelicans forward Anthony Davis even better than he was while pushing the tempo for that team. Well, two years into the Gentry era and the Pelicans are nowhere near looking like a playoff team. As things currently stand, the Pelicans are right there with the Philadelphia 76ers as the league’s worst teams. For Philly, the reason they are so bad is they have tanked so many years and have missed out on that star they expected to covet via draft or free agency. But for the Pelicans, they have not been tanking nor have they missed out on a star because of the drafting of Anthony Davis. But what the Pelicans can say they have done is leave Anthony Davis all alone on an island.
The talented big man out of Kentucky has been one of the most dominant players in the NBA so far this season, averaging thirty points and twelve rebounds a game. But after his performance, that’s where the dropoff begins. Jrue Holiday was brought in back in the summer of 2013 via a draft day trade with the Philadelphia 76ers (Nerlens Noel was sent to the 76ers). When the Pelicans obtained his services, it was expected that he would be a second scoring option beside Anthony Davis. Well, unfortunately for the Pelicans, he has not been able to stay healthy since they acquired him from Philly. The most games he has played is 65 games and that was last season. And even though he played in 65 games, he only started 23 of them because he was on a minutes restriction and was still recovering throughout the season. So far, he has performed like more of a third option in his time there in New Orleans as opposed to a second option to take pressure off Davis. He is currently out while tending to his family and rightfully so. But when he does return, he will not solve all their issues and his time there tells us that story already.
But Holiday is just a symptom of what has gone wrong in New Orleans surrounding Davis. The free agent signings during Davis’ tenure in New Orleans have been truly mind-blowing. Check out these names: Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik and Solomon Hill. Only one of these guys is truly a contributor to this team. Evans has averaged double-figures the entire time he has been in New Orleans. And although he still cannot shoot this deep in his career, he still can make things happen on the court. But as far as the other two, it seems like the Pelicans wasted money. Asik was a talented backup big man for the Bulls when the Rockets decided to sign him back in the summer of 2012. And after one year, he proved he could be a starting big man. But ever since that year, things have gone downhill for him. He was booted out of the starting lineup when the Rockets signed Dwight Howard the following summer and then has been pretty inconsistent and nonexistent during his time in New Orleans. And last summer, the Pelicans had a chance to move on from the failed experiment with him and they still decided to bring him back on a five-year deal worth almost $60 million. Needless to say, that deal is netting them only 1.5 points per game from him this year. And as far as Hill, he was signed this off-season to a four-year deal worth over $12 million a season. He has never averaged double-figures in his career.
The Pelicans have made trades and signed free agents that simply were bad judgments and have not made a difference. And at this point, it looks like they will be waiting until next year for some more changes to happen (Holiday and Evans will be free agents). But every year they wait, the clock ticks on Anthony Davis’ career. And while he has had trouble staying healthy himself, there should be some more star power or at least a better supporting cast with him there. And it is because of the constant failures with acquisitions that you have to wonder when the Pelicans will make a change at general manager. Dell Demps has been there for a while and nothing has really changed. And that is unacceptable with a talent like Anthony Davis as your centerpiece. Demps, get that man some help or get out. Davis deserves better than this.
The General Mike Patton is an up-and-coming writer from Nashville, TN who brings a fresh and non-biased opinion about sports. From his radio experience in Nashville to his time as a sports writer for Free’s World, the website for radio personality and former co-host of BET’s 106 and Park Free (www.freesworld.com), The General is definitely one you want to get to know in the sports world. You can catch his work on SPORTSAWAKENING.COM. Mike grew up rooting for the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls and Chicago Cubs, and remains a passionate sports fan who expresses intelligent opinions.