Editor’s note: This is the seventh of Sam Amico’s 30 NBA team previews entering the 2014-15 season.
C Omer Asik; PF Anthony Davis; SF Tyreke Evans; SG Eric Gordon; PG Jrue Holiday.
PF Ryan Anderson; G Austin Rivers; F John Salmons; G Jimmer Fredette; F Darius Miller; G Russ Smith; F/C Patric Young; C Jeff Withey; C Alexis Ajinca; F Luke Babbitt.
Monty Williams, sixth year: May be hard to believe, but Williams has become of the league’s longest-tenured coaches. He has his players respect, and that’s a huge key. But the Pelicans are thinking the playoffs this year. If it doesn’t happen, Williams could be on the hot seat.
Anthony Davis is perhaps the league’s most threatening shot-blocker, a fantastic teammate and a gifted finisher and shooter. He’s an All-Star and the Pelicans’ biggest reason for hope. … Eric Gordon can be lethal when healthy, although it’s hard to tell if he’s the scorer he once was. This is a key year for him. … Jrue Holiday is a top-notch point guard coming off a down year. Who is he now? … Tyreke Evans is another guy who hasn’t lived up to his potential regularly. But the potential is there. … Omer Asik can rebound, bang and score. The starting job is his.
It’s still hard to tell what the Pelicans really are, if this pretty good individual talent can mesh. … Aside from Davis, this team is not real strong defensively, particularly when it comes to the bench. … The Pelicans should be a better rebounding team.
The playoffs are in reach, but everyone on this team needs to show more consistency for it to happen. Odds are, they’ll sneak in by nabbing one of the final two spots. That would be a big boost for a franchise that needs one.