19) New Orleans Pelicans - 27-55 in the 2012-2013 season. 14th in the West. 5th in the Southwest.
New Orleans now will be the Pelicans, and that might not be the biggest change of the offseason. New Orleans also made some interesting offseason moves, trading their draft pick to the 76ers along with their first round pick in next year's draft for Jrue Holiday, and signed Tyreke Evans from Sacramento. This team is clearly trying to build a core of younger players for the future, yet the question is how will this group mesh in year #1? The Pelicans are an intriguing team, and will be a trending topic whether they are good or bad this year around the league.
Acquired: Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Anthony Morrow, Greg Stiemsma
Drafted: Jeff Withey (#39)
Lost: Greivis Vasquez, Xavier Henry, Lou Amundson, Robin Lopez
Starters: Jrue Holiday (PG), Eric Gordon (SF), Al-Farouq Aminu (SF), Anthony Davis (PF), Greg Stiemsma (C)
Bench: Tyreke Evans (SG), Brian Roberts (PG), Ryan Anderson (PF), Jason Smith (C), Austin Rivers (SG)
Up: Anthony Davis - The Unibrow has really impressed in the preseason. After an up and down season last year, he looks stronger and better than ever as the Pelicans have nearly gone perfect in the preseason action. While it is preseaon, he's showing a lot of promise fans were hoping for when they drafted him #1, and many experts have him improving a lot this year. With new teammates and another year in the league, things are promising for Davis.
Down: Eric Gordon - The tough road for Eric Gordon continues. Ever since he's been traded from the Clippers, his career has been muddled by injuries and underachievement. Then there was the debacle with the Phoenix offer sheet the Pelicans matched without Gordon's consent. It's been a rough road for Gordon, yet this could be a telling year for him if he comes back strong and proves his critics wrong.
X-Factor: Jrue Holiday - Last year's draft had one of the most unexpected moments when the Pelicans nabbed Jrue Holiday from the 76ers for a pair of draft picks. This year is especially big for Holiday since depending on where the Pelicans finish the year, the trade could either look fantastic or catastrophic for New Orleans. A ton of pressure will be on Jrue to produce right out of the gate for the newly named Pelicans.
Question to Ponder...Should the Pelicans trade either Gordon and/or Anderson this year?
When the Pelicans signed Tyreke Evans, many took it as a sign that Gordon could be on the trade block like he's been for a few years now. The problem is his deal is a large one, and the market for him has fallen after all the injury woes. The other guy New Orleans could trade is Ryan Anderson, whose long range shot is a hot commodity for teams this year. The Pelicans could get great value for him, however he's really their only 3-point shooter other than Anthony Morrow. The Pelicans would be left with Holiday and Gordon needing to put up jump shots to help the spacing of this team. So should the Pelicans make trades, or stick with the roster they've developed? Intriguing.
Bold Prediction for the Pelicans: The Pelicans will trade Gordon, but NOT Anderson!
Gordon has shown sparks of offensive output, and with the Evans deal I think the Pelicans are looking to move him for some pieces. Close to contender teams might be interested in a guy like Gordon who can score the ball. Anderson is also big on the market, yet the Pelicans will try to keep him because of his long range shot off the bench. If they can pick up a Center at some point, they can afford to have him sub in as their 6th man, and be a lethal threat. New Orleans will want to move Gordon, yet Anderson should stay on the Pelicans.
Projected Record: 37-45 11th in the West, 5th in the Southwest.