The New Orleans Pelicans showed a lot of promise last season by making the playoffs in the extremely competitive Western Conference, and they are poised to take another step forward this season under new head coach Alvin Gentry.
However, is it possible that the Pelicans could win the NBA title next season? It's unlikely, but here are three reasons why they could be hoisting the Larry O'Brien trophy at the end of the year:
3) Small ball prowess
NBA teams are utilizing small ball more and more, with the Golden State Warriors leading the charge, but no team may be as equipped to play that style as the Pelicans. Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, and Tyreke Evans are all excellent ball handlers and major weapons in transition, while Ryan Anderson is a knockdown three-point shooters and Anthony Davis is the most athletic big man in the game today.
Gentry has already had a lot of success with his small ball system with the Phoenix Suns, and he'll have New Orleans playing the way that can maximize each player's individual abilities.
2) Roster continuity
The 2015-16 season will mark the third straight season that New Orleans' starting lineup of Holiday, Gordon, Evans, Anderson, and Davis will have been playing together, and that increased familiarity with each other will lead to a higher level of play simply because they've grown to learn each other's tendancies and how to play off of that.
Year Three of continuity was the breakthough season for the Warriors last year, as well as the season Oklahoma City went to the Finals and the first of San Antonio's three titles in the mid-2000's. If this group is going to become a contender, this is the year they'll show it.
1) Anthony freaking Davis
Davis had a historic season in 2014-15 (his third in the league), posting 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 2.9 blocks per game with a league-leading 31.0 PER and 8.43 wins probability added. Those last two numbers can only be compared to some of the greatest players of all time, and Davis is just scratching the surface of how good he can be.
Already a dominant shot blocker with an unlimited amount of athleticism and an array of post moves, Genty has been working with Davis on expanding his range out to the three-point line.
Simply put: Anthony Davis can already do everything on the court at an elite level, and he's only getting better. His play will be the biggest reason why New Orleans will be extremely successful - expect him to win the MVP award next season.Back to the New Orleans Pelicans Newsfeed