1. SBNation by Jason Patt - 12 (Last Week: 15)
Want to take a guess at who's leading the league in PER? Nope, not LeBron James. It's actually, who has an awesome 29.94 PER. The Brow not only is averaging a double-double, but he's blocking a whopping four shots per game.
2. NBA.com by John Schuhmann - 16 (Last Week: 16)
The Pelicans are 3-0 with Ryan Anderson, who has made 13 of his 21 threes since returning from his toe injury. They've scored almost 120 points per 100 possessions in those three games, and it was that lineup of Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Anderson and Anthony Davis that made a 19-5 run to win Friday's game against the Cavs. The schedule gets tough over the next few weeks.
3. ESPN by Marc Stein - 13 (Last Week: 15)
Anthony Davis is the only player close to Hibbert in terms of games (five) with at least five blocks. Also: New Orleans' late rally over Cleveland marked its first win after trailing by 12 or more in the final five minutes of the fourth since Feb. 28, 2001 ... when the team was still located in Charlotte.
4. Yahoo! Sports by Marc J. Spears - 17 (Last Week: 18)
The Pelicans have won three straight games, but have a tough back-to-back at San Antonio and against Golden State.
5. CBS Sports by Matt Moore - 16 (Last Week: 17)
Just stop having stupid losses. This isn't hard. Just stop with the stupid losses, and you're a good team. They're like the high school class that won't stop screwing around in seventh period.
6. USA Today - 14 (Last Week: 18
After personal tragedy and injury this offseason, Ryan Anderson has shown tremendous resiliency.
7. Bleacher Report by Tyler Conway - 16 (Last Week: 14)
The 2012 draft's No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis is beginning to play like it, blocking an astounding four shots per game and averaging a points and rebounds double-double in scoring nearly 20 points a night.
New faces Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans have to step up, as does shooting guard Eric Gordon, who has some of the most explosive scoring ability among players at his position in the game.
8. Hoops World by Moke Hamilton - 19 (Last Week: 21)
We love the Pelicans, we really do, and at .500, they’re playing fine. They really are. The concern here, though? Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon and Jrue Holiday are shooting 39, 41 and 43 percent from the field, respectively. We need better.
9. Sports Illustrated by Matt Dollinger -20 (Last Week: 19)
Think the Pelicans are happy to have Ryan Anderson back? New Orleans is 3-0 seen the big man's return. Anderson's been on fire off the bench, averaging 19.3 points and hitting 4.3 three-pointers per game on a scintillating 61.9 percent shooting. That kind of production will put Omer Asik rumors to rest.
10. ProBasketballTalk by Kurt Helin - 15 (Last Week: 17)
They have won three in a row since Ryan Anderson returned from his toe injury, that is not a coincidence. While a lot of people seem to want to trade him to Houston for Omer Asik, the Pelicans front office is not among them.
The Pels continue to waffle on the rankings but one common theme has emerged from a number of these quotes: the importance of Ryan Anderson and Anthony Davis.
At this point, it's pretty clear that they're our top 2 players. Additionally, I think our frontcourt rotation is set -- Anderson and Davis swallowing minutes north of 32, Smith getting about 20 (depending on the situation) and then two other front court players getting minutes (/COUGH/ WHITHEY /COUGH/).
Just as a brief "introduction" about their exploits this season:
TS% = 66.8, ORTG = 131 (!!!!), USG = 21.2% in about 31 minutes per game. He's shooting 6.4 threes per game -- crazy to think he shoots almost HALF of our team's 3s -- and making 53.1 percent of them. In fact, among players who take 5 catch and shoot 3PT shots, Anderson ranks #1, making 78.1 percent (!!!) more than the more hyped shooters Klay Thompson and Bradley Beal. His rebounding numbers has taken a huge hit, especially on the offensive end. But considering how Monty uses him on offense -- i.e. primarily as a spacer located in the corner or in the shoulder -- and how Monty likes to prioritize defending the break instead of attacking the offensive glass (with Davis the only one allowed to get offensive rebounds regularly since he can fly his way back on D like the pterodactyl that he is), it shouldn't come as too big of a shock. Nonetheless, it's worth noting that Anderson has the fifth (5th) highest contested rebounding percentage in the league (at least 30 minutes played per game).
I don't have to go into too much detail describing the awesomeness that is AD. Despite two consecutive bad games from AD (and yes, I do consider those as "bad" games for him), he's still on pace for a season where he averages ~18 points, ~10 points, ~1.5 steals, ~3 blocks while shooting 50 percent from the field and 80+ percent from the free throw line. Nobody in the history of the NBA has combined that defensive impact with that offensive efficiency, at the age of 20. The closest comparisons, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson, didn't shoot as well from the line and were already entering the prime of their statistical prime (23~26). It's unfair to think how good AD can get (barring significant health issues)...