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Good to win when we effectively only played 9 guys and only got 15 from the bench.  It was interesting to see Ajinca out score, out rebound, and out block Asik in about 40% of the minutes.  (I like Asik, just think Ajinca brings something (offensive scoring efficiency, rebounding, and tonight blocks) to the table, too.  The last 5 games Ajinca is averaging 10 pts  & 8 boards while shooting 60% from the field!)  It was also interesting to see Cunningham and Q-Pon playing together.  We do need a PG with a better offensive game.

19 hours, 42 minutes ago on Observations: Pelicans take down Wolves

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After I wrote this I looked at Hollinger's rankings, which I like best, and Stein's rankings.  We were 13th and 14th in the league, respectively, but only have a 30% Hollinger Playoff odds.  In other words, take us out of the Western Conference and we are a playoff team.  I don't penalize us for being in such a tough Conference and Division.  Our Division still has only 1 fewer team at 0.500 or above than the entire (L)Eastern Conference.  Think about that.

2 days, 11 hours ago on New Orleans Pelicans’ Mid-Season Report Card

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I like this piece.  My disagreements involve the last three grades.  Adding Cunningham, Q-Pon, and ditching Rivers make me raise my bench grade to a C.  And I think that is fair when I look at benches league-wide.  I grade the team on absolute performance, not expectations, so I give a final grade of C+/B- since we are a middle of the pack team in the league, while in the Honors Conference and its AP Division.  That means Monte is doing a similar job.  As captain of the ship, and will a roster (much) worse than then teams ranked above us in our Conference, Monte gets a significant part of the credit for the team's performance.  So his grade should be more like C+/B-, too.

I never expected playoffs and thought we would finish 7th-10th in the West this year.  I think people expecting something more narrow, like playoffs this year, are more likely to have expectations influenced lower grades

2 days, 11 hours ago on New Orleans Pelicans’ Mid-Season Report Card

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Why did we only play 9 against the lowly Lakers, and what does that say about they guys who didn't play?

3 days ago on Pelicans Snap Out of It, Defeat Lakers

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@Michael McNamara @504ever @6thMan

You don't know until you try.

3 days, 19 hours ago on Let’s Talk About Ryno

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@6thMan @Michael McNamara

I do think our AA battery, Alexis Ajinca, should get a chance to energize this team each game, at Ryno's expense.  Ajinca's scoring efficiency was ridiculous against Toronto and Philly (and still .500 against New York).  He averaged 15 points, 10 rebounds, and 1.5 points/shot in 28 minutes in those three games.  Imaging playing Ajinca 14 minutes/game and getting half of that production!

3 days, 20 hours ago on Let’s Talk About Ryno

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Comparing this game to the Philly game: we were on a back-to-back and still nearly won.  Those are two big differences. 

5 days, 9 hours ago on Pelicans Are The Pelicans, Lose To The Knicks 99-92

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More than anything else, this win was powered by a French made AA battery.

6 days, 6 hours ago on Moleskin Moments: New Orleans Pelicans @ Toronto Raptors

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The simple question is: Which is the problem, roster or coach?


You examined the coach, let's look at the roster.  What percent of other Western Conference playoff teams would our guys, besides Davis, start for?  Make your list and see if that points to the fact that we don't have the talent to be a playoff team now.   My list is below.  It totals 1 and 2/3rds positions out of 5 and points to Memphis as the only team we could complete with, which has been historically true.  That's not near enough to make the playoffs.  Period.  So the roster is the problem!

Davis 100%

Jrue 37.5%: Houston, Memphis, Phoenix

Tyreke 37.5%:  LAC, Memphis, OKC

Eric (0%): OKC (but would chose Tyreke at SG)


By ever measure I know of, we are on schedule in our rebuilding process.  That tells me fan expectations, not team performance, is the problem.

1 week ago on New Orleans Pelicans Issues Go Beyond Monty Williams

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Rorschach inkblot test is a test to see what the viewer is bringing to a situation and games like this are just  Rorschach inkblot tests to me. 

You know, how is it sensible to say the Pelicans lost without their two best players so fire the coach?  Did OKC do that earlier this year?  And what about the roster?  What percent of other Western Conference playoff teams would our guys, besides Davis, start for?  Make your list and see if that points to the fact that we don't have the talent to be a playoff team now.   My list is below.  It totals 1 and 2/3rds positions out of 5 and points to Memphis as the only team we could complete with, which has been historically true.  That's not near enough to make the playoffs.

Davis 100%

Jrue 37.5%: Houston, Memphis, Phoenix

Tyreke 37.5%:  LAC, Memphis, OKC

Eric (0%): OKC (but would chose Tyreke at SG)


And what about Phily?  If you think for one second they didn't know they actually had a chance to win, if only because our two best players were out, and played their hardest because of it, you don't know sports or human nature.  Other (L)eastern Conference teams must feel the same way when they are at home.  Our young team hasn't learned how to win on the road.  Give them time.  The Pelicans are on schedule, or ahead of schedule, based of every historical model of NBA rebuilding I know. 


Patience, Grasshopper, patience.

1 week ago on Road Woes Hit New Low, Pels Lose by 15 to Philly

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@Pelican Poster

You have to balance Detroit's 9-1 with their playing their last 8 games in 12 days.  Maybe scheduling helped us here?

1 week, 3 days ago on Pelicans Outplay Pistons from Start to Finish in 105-94 Victory

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Out rebound opponents by 17!  Good games from finds Q-Pon and Jimmer(!)  Four players in double figures, five if you add in Asik's handicap of +2.  That's a nice game.

1 week, 3 days ago on Pelicans Outplay Pistons from Start to Finish in 105-94 Victory

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This players on this team are young and hasn't figured out how to win on the road against weaker teams.  How many games on the road against weaker teams to we have to see to figure that out?

And for all you Monty bashers. Monty didn't commit a turnover, didn't injure Jrue, and didn't fail to be an offensive presence not named Davis, Gordon, or Evans.  

These teams were tied at halftime in spite of Boston having 9 more shots.  Why? We shot much more efficiently.  When our efficiency advantage disappeared, so did the chance to win.  Missing open shots (a longer term Pelican problem) is the players' fault.

1 week, 4 days ago on Observations: Boston beats Pelicans

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@xman20002000

That's not my point.

2 weeks, 1 day ago on Pelicans Fall to Charlotte: Observations

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@bigezking

You're talking about Sean Payton before the Super Bowl season, right?

2 weeks, 1 day ago on Pelicans Fall to Charlotte: Observations

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@Michael McNamara @504ever

But with what currency do you use to swing for the fences?  Pelican player(s)?  Cap space $s and playing next to AD as a lure for someone in free agency?  And maybe the transcendent player is already on the roster.

I don't disagree with the idea of a big move, but first are the steps I outlined above. Then Dell reevaluates.  (He may give those moves a year to evaluate, which means Gordon's contract expires around the same time as that evaluation.)

Gordon is the key to bigger future moves, and his cost/value is in a range that has parameters: moving Gordon for the next 6 months will cost a 1st, moving Gordon 1+ year from now as an expiring will bring in assets.  So Dell will only move Gordon near term as the first step in a bigger deal, otherwise the opportunity cost (what you could have gotten for Gordon if you waited until he was an expiring, or his contract actually expires) are too great to pass up.

And let's not forget Dell is the master at finding 2nd teamers for nothing.  Finding another Anthony Morrow type player this summer would do a lot for this team, too.

Finally, there is something to be said for roster stability for a year, after all of this roster turnover.  Let all of the prior big moves get digested before the next one.

2 weeks, 6 days ago on MythBusters – New Orleans Pelicans Have More Flexibility Than You Think

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We need a quality starting C, pure and simple.  Simple question: Who can the Pelicans get that is better than Asik, how much money will they have to pay him, and how many assets will they give up to get him?  I like Asik objectively and in the context of this question.  Further, with the team's salary structure, Asik may be all the C the team can afford.

3 weeks ago on Evaluating Project Asik-and-Destroy

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To me, the passing by the Pelicans versus the Rockets was a direct result of seeing the excellent passing and off ball movement by the veteran Spurs team the previous game, and the Pelicans (players and coaches) understanding that was the direction this team needs to move.  Here is hoping that is the case.

3 weeks ago on Observations: Pelicans crush Rockets

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@mvpmb10

Don't forget the cap is about to go way up!

3 weeks, 1 day ago on MythBusters – New Orleans Pelicans Have More Flexibility Than You Think

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My hope for next offseason is to sign Asik to a 3 year deal at around $11M/year and get a good "3 and D" SF for the MLE on a 3 year deal.  (If we need the cap space for a known move, we trade Gordon and our 1st pick or possibly stretch Gordon. I would be fine with retaining Gordon; he in an expiring next season.)  We also need to upgrade the bench.  I am hoping we resign Cunningham, and OK with signing Rivers, Babbitt, Ajinca, and Jimmer to a cheap contracts.  Salmons' spot goes to the new SF and we still have one more roster spot (two if we move Gordon) to add a quality wing or backcourt player.  

My belief is management knows the name of the game is to build a team around a very young Anthony Davis. So they will be patient and not make any desperate moves.  

In Dell I Trust.

3 weeks, 1 day ago on MythBusters – New Orleans Pelicans Have More Flexibility Than You Think

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Our Big 3 (Davis, Holiday & Evans) are still what propels us.  They got better than normal help from Asik, Anderson, and Jimmer.  (Jimmer had 4 assists, too, all of them quality.)  Cunningham was his normal self on defense and we needed it; I hope we sign him to a second contract.  It all added up to a close, hard fought, win in Conference.

3 weeks, 3 days ago on Phoenix Suns Fall to New Orleans Pelicans 110-106

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Jimmer!

3 weeks, 4 days ago on Pelicans Scoop: First Trimester Review

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I really like this because the bottom line is being 15-15 now is pretty good.  The Western Conference is tough and the Southwest Division the toughest in the West.  A Pelican's win tonight will give the Southwest Division as many teams over 0.500 as the entire (L)Eastern Conference, again.  

I am measuring this year by how long we stay in the playoff hunt and how many wins we have.  My goal for the team is a several games over 0.500 finish.  I understand making the playoffs in the Western Conference is very different than making the playoffs in the (L)Eastern Conference, and making the playoffs in the Southwest Division is the hardest feat in the NBA.  Our turn will come!

3 weeks, 4 days ago on A Closer Look at the New Orleans Pelicans’ 15-15 Record

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This really interesting. Would love to see it turn into a win versus Phoenix.

3 weeks, 5 days ago on Notes From the Underground: New Orleans Pelicans Practice 12.29

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@PelicanSaints

I am on record as saying Babbitt needs the chance to attempt more 3s, especially corner 3s.  That didn't happen last night.  Instead Ryno and Rivers went a combined 7-22 for 20 points, more than outweighing Brooks going 5-14 for 13 points.  Chicago scored 7 more points on 1 additional shot.  (Chicago also had 7 more rebounds, 1 more assist and 2 few turnovers.  Game set and match Chicago!)    

3 weeks, 6 days ago on Observations: Bulls beat Pelicans

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I still think the guards have to make more of an effort to pass to Babbitt when Babbitt is open for the corner 3 pointer.  There is no point in playing Babbitt, let alone starting him, if players don't pass him the ball for his bread and butter 3 point shot.  That is the "tweek" I expect to see.  Three point shooting, especially from the corner is Babbitt's strongest NBA skill.  Babbitt shoots over 50% from 3 point land: that's why he plays.    Getting Babbitt 5-6 more 3 point shots per 100 shots could erase the 9 point deficit for the Pelican's current starting line-up.  Another "tweek" could be telling Babbitt to reduce his shooting from inside the 3 point line, where he shoots only 42.7%.  Finally, playing games against weaker teams, which is about to happen, should improve all Pelican's lineups compared to other teams.

4 weeks ago on Time for a Change in the Starting Lineup?

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@Clef504

That's not why we got rid of Ariza (or Okafor)!  We dumped their salaries to allow a rebuild of the team.  Now the rebuild is a starting SF (and maybe a few backup pieces) away, and you try to rewrite history.  Crazy!  

No tears where shed when Ariza left. Until this year, Ariza was only valuable in his contract year, and even this year Aminu's PER is higher than Ariza's, even though PER should favor Ariza since he is the better offensive player.

4 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Stick San Antonio Spurs 97-90

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Our guards consistently ignore Babbitt when he is open for the corner 3.  Maybe if they fed him a few more balls, we would have less problems with 3 point shooting?

1 month ago on Flat Pelicans Performance Leads to 96-84 road loss to Pacers

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No musical intro?

1 month ago on In the NO Podcast Ep 198: Jrue and AD

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@msise22 @504ever

How much better chance does AD have making the shot gets balanced against how much worse your rebounding chance is when AD takes the shot instead of Tyreke.  You also have to put the last play in context.  The Pelicans had shot two straight 3s with long rebounds going to OKC on the two prior plays.  

Finally, OKC was trying to take away AD on offense in the last few possessions.  That happens.  (He had killed them in the quarter).  The Pelicans have to be able to react to that and try another option.  And what was so "tough" about Tyreke's last shot, a step back 16 footer?

1 month ago on Pelicans’ Late Game Defense Seals 101-99 Victory over Thunder

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@msise22

Was that ballhogging/hero ball on the last play, or a conscious decision to get the Pelican's best rebounders, Asik & AD, under the basket with the best shooter/driver combination player, Tyreke, with the ball in his hands?  To put it another way, what if Tyreke hit the rim on that shot?  Isn't that, the execution, really the problem, not the play?

1 month ago on Pelicans’ Late Game Defense Seals 101-99 Victory over Thunder

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In the end, this was an Al Davis game.  Just Win Baby!  The Pelicans did and they are back in 8th place..

1 month ago on Pelicans’ Late Game Defense Seals 101-99 Victory over Thunder

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To me these sentences are what the article, and Jrue, are all about:  "My point is simple. Jrue Holiday is great, and he is good for this team. He has shown that he has the potential to be the 3rd, possibly even 2nd, best player on a championship team."

I think it is a slight to Jrue to talk about him not being the 2nd best player on this team.  When I think of players on this team in order of importance, Jrue is always 2nd.  I don't see a player being added* to change that, and I don't see a player currently on the roster changing that**.  Jrue is versatile, a both sides of the ball and either guard position player, who also is 2nd on the team and top 50 in the league in PER!  He is the 2nd best player on this team, and hopefully this is a championship team in the making.


* The only way that could happen is the team take a step backwards and trading two very good pieces for one great one.  Given the value of our very good pieces (Tyreke, Ryno, and Asik) and how hard it is to get a great piece, that ain't happnin!

** I love the top 5 guys playing on this team (AD, Jrue, Tyreke, Ryno, & Asik) and really appreciate the next 5 (Babbitt/Cunningham/Rivers, Ajinca/Withey).  I even think Gordon is a quality bench player on a championship team whose current salary is 2x-3x too high.  But Jrue is still the clear 2nd best player.

1 month ago on Don’t Forget about Jrue

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@Come On Pelican

And If I had the chance
I'd take her back
As a matter a fact

1 month ago on Pelicans Waive Guard Gal Mekel

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@NOEngineer

Salmons either had a subpar game or isn't worth the minutes.  Jimmer is nearly there.  Agree with everything else.  Further, during the last 4 games, three without a key starter, we have gotten good to excellent play from AD, Jrue, Tyreke, Ryno, Asik, Cunningham, Babbitt, and Rivers.  That's a nice core if we can keep them and add a 3 and D SF.  (We have also gotten solid play from Ajinca, Withey, and Mekel.)  It has been a fun stretch as a Pelican fan.

1 month ago on Pelicans take Rockets

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@xman20002000 @504ever But you didn't answer the question.  We can't keep everyone!

1 month, 1 week ago on Pelicans storm back on Jazz

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Ok, using this list in this order tell me who is the first player who is not essencial to this team: AD, Jrue, Tyreke, Asik, Ryno, Gordon, Rivers, Cunningham, and Babbitt

I say it is Gordon and, given his salary, it's an even easily the decision based on value. Cunningham and Babbitt are on minimum deals, and Rivers is currently overpaid to fairly paid in this year of his Rookie deal. Gordon has a contract thru 2015-16 at $15M/year. He will be gone by then.

1 month, 1 week ago on Pelicans storm back on Jazz

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What do you suggest the Pelicans do differently with AD out and against the best team in the league, and why do you think it will work?

It's easy to complain after the fact.

1 month, 1 week ago on Pelicans Lose Heartbreaker in OT

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AD is out and the rest of the roster looks good so far tonight, especially the Jrue and Tyreke. 82-81 now!

1 month, 1 week ago on Game On: Warriors @ Pelicans

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Where are all the naysayers about the non-AD part of our roster?

1 month, 1 week ago on Observations: Pelicans Win At Home Against Cleveland

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@champsworld504 @504ever @Come On Pelican

Let's evaluate than at the end of the season.  His is coming off neck surgery and the suicide of his girlfriend.  

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Pelicans Lose a Close One in Dallas

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@Come On Pelican

Anderson is a longer term piece, under contract until end of 2015-16 season and may be resigned.  So we need to let him play through this slump.  And don't forget he had been great within 15 feet.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Pelicans Lose a Close One in Dallas

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@CoReMeGa

The only ways Gordon & Tyreke equal Joe Johnson are ways we don't want them to: years in the NBA and salary.  Why would we trade away injury risk Gordon and his $15M salary for a past his prime, aging, Joe Johnson and his $25M salary?  We wouldn't!  And we certainly would lose critical piece Tyreke to do it.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Game On: Pelicans @ Mavericks

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@ryanschwan @504ever Sounds great. I thought Cunningham's D and slam last game were great.  Then he hit two long twos.  Glad to see his D shine again.  He looks like a keeper. Thanks!

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Observations: Knicks @ Pelicans

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Didn't see the game.  Did see Cunningham played much more than Babbitt, not that I mind.  (I like them both but see they have nearly polar opposite skill sets.)  Was a reason given why?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on Observations: Knicks @ Pelicans

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Really like Cunningham and Ajinca tonight, and Mekel early in the night.  Cunningham's defense was what really stood out for me along with his dunk.  I was sold.  Then he whips out the outside shot and hits two back to back.  That's even better. 

This is starting to look like a promising group of players (in this order): Davis, Holiday, Asik (looking better as we move away from the back spams) , Anderson, Evans, Gordon (when healthy), Babbitt, Cunningham, Ajinca, Mekel, and Rivers.  (Withey and Jimmer are just human victory cigars at this point.)

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers: Open Thread

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Key to the game? Luke Babbitt's offense?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers: Open Thread

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Oh gee, same problem as last game: 3 point shooting.  Opposing team's (starting) PG, SG, and SF 3 point shooting versus our team's (starting) PG, SG, and SF 3 point shooting (except Babbitt tonight) is the difference in the game.  At least Mekel, Cunningham, and Ajinca have positive +/- numbers in a 20 point loss.

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Clippers Open Thread

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Because rookie Russ isn't ready yet, you are ready to give up on Dell and Monte? Thats crazy!

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Fill Final Roster Spot with PG Gal Mekel

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And neither do all the NBA coaches and GMs who passed on him or didn't/don't playing him?

1 month, 2 weeks ago on New Orleans Pelicans Fill Final Roster Spot with PG Gal Mekel

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