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Developing a Fanbase and NBA Rank

Part information, part analysis, part rant

Thomas B. Shea

Preseason basketball has begun, although you wouldn't know it if you depend on watching your beloved Pelicans on television. For reasons unknown to fans, the Pelicans are not offering television coverage of any preseason games. You can see for yourself here and here. Local TV for preseason games?  Furthermore, three regular season games will be unavailable for local television audiences.  @ Phoenix on November 10th (Cowboys @ Saints is at the same time), @ Chicago on December 2nd (Saints @ Seahawks is at the same time), and @ Minnesota on January 1st (College Bowl Games?). There has been no additional information released on if a tape-delay will be available for our DVR enjoyment. If the preseason is any predictor, expectations should remain low.

*Engage Rant*  Is this seriously the best support New Orleans can get for its team? I must have been mistaken, what with watching live streams of English Premier League games (amazingly NBC can show live sporting events now from England, a serious improvement from their 2012 Olympics coverage) on a smart phone, that this is 2013.  Nothing tells me that the NBA should seriously look into cutting down the length of the schedule (and overlap with the NFL) than not even being able to watch games (or DVR them) because the Saints come first, second, third, and fourth in this market.  Not to offend Saints fan, goodness I am one. But what happens if one of those games is the one Anthony Davis goes off for 40+ points? Just in case, I want access to those games.

The Pelicans need to develop a fan base. And not just the fan base that fills the arena. One that routinely watches the team on television. Where walking into a sports bar fans do not have to remind the bartender that the Pelicans play tonight and are on channel 678 (since most bars have DirecTV for Sunday Ticket).  The Saints fan base is far beyond the people filling the Superdome.  Check out this story about Saints ratings.  New Orleans is one of the best markets in the NFL in terms of fan saturation. During a typical Saints game somewhere between 40 and 50% of market televisions are tuned into the Saints. The Pelicans cannot approach those numbers.  But I know 0 televisions will be tuned into a Pelicans game when it is not being shown on TV. *End Rant*

Elsewhere in NBA news, ESPN is rolling out their #NBARank.  Michael Pellissier had an informative article on NBARank over at Bourbon Street Shots. Breaking down his study into a smaller piece, having good players is better than having bad players. Specifically, having four players in the top 100 of NBARank or having three players in the top 50 was a good predictor of earning a berth into the postseason. If you haven't been following along with the rankings or do not wish to sift through all of them now to see where the Pelicans rank, have no fear. Leg work complete.

Player 2013
Arinze Onuaku 494
Lance Thomas 391
Jff Withey 387
Darius Miller 380
Greg Stiemsma 350
Brian Roberts 316
Austin Rivers 281
Anthony Morrow 265
Jason Smith 243
Al-Farouq Aminu 170
Tyreke Evans 79
Eric Gordon 71
Ryan Anderson 56
Jrue Holiday 43
Anthony Davis 33

I fully expect Anthony Davis to rise into the top 50, along with possibly Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson. Now it is time to get excited for a moment.  And not just kind of excited.  REALLY excited.  *Takes a deep breath*

All five of those players are 25 years old or younger. This means that they are most likely not at their athletic peak yet.  All five of those players are under contract through the 2015-2016 season. Three seasons from now.  They are going to get better, and they are going to do it together. In New Orleans.

*Jumps around ecstatically*

Quickly I can assume that the number of NBA franchises in a similar situation is roughly zero.  Hopefully other SBNation team blogs are looking at these rankings as well and will have some kind of roster analysis to see if my assumption is correct.

For those of you wondering, Nerlens Noel checks in at 221, Robin Lopez checks in at 128, and Greivis Vasquez checks in at 124. That's the very definition of trading away two dollars in change (Noel, future first, Lopez, Vasquez, cap space) and getting two WHOLE DOLLARS in return (Holiday, Evans). In the NBA you need whole dollars on the court. Random couch change gets you the Charlotte Bobcats. Yes, cap space is valuable, but New Orleans is not drawing many "whole dollar" level players with their cap space.

So enjoy your New Orleans Pelicans and their growing pains, as you gather around the radio like it's 1940.