Undefeated in games that don't count, the Pelicans are set to face the Miami Heat in the first preseason game in New Orleans Arena. It'll be interesting to see how many fans show up tonight - it's the first game at home after a complete branding overhaul and an off-season filled with major roster changes. On the other hand, people rarely show up to preseason games.
New Orleans Arena has that newly-renovated smell - it has undergone $50 million in upgrades over the off-season. The ongoing renovations to the arena have been the reason the Pelicans have had to play games in Biloxi and Lexington, KY, and all manner of bizarre places. Apparently all the new high-margin loge seats have sold out for the season, which is great news for the Pelicans' income statement. The photos in that Times-Pic gallery are really interesting - it seems like they've really given the stadium a modern downtown loft-y feel. And the new locker room looks pretty sweet, too.
Some folks at ESPN do a round table discussion to preview the Pelicans' season. The weirdest thing I saw in there was a prediction that Monty Williams will be fired (or at least be on the hot seat) this season. I haven't seen any daylight between Demps, Monty, and the management of the Pelicans thus far, so that was really surprising to me.
Jason Smith is the seasoned veteran on this Pelicans squad - he's the only holdover from the Hornets' last playoff run. It's a neat feature, since Smith has really grown a lot in the last 4 years from being an afterthought in the deal Demps made to unload Craig Brackins and Darius Songailia on the 76ers.