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Bird Feed: Gordon returns, Monty on the Hot Seat, Anthony Davis is Awesome

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Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Gordon returned to practice on Friday -

John Reid reported Friday afternoon that Gordon participated in practice after missing Thursday's game with back spasms. On Sunday Gordon again practiced and has been upgraded to probable for the game tonight.

"I feel good," Gordon said Sunday. "I practiced the day after the game and I practiced today.I’ll be good to go for tomorrow. I pretty much knew it was minor and it was just all about getting certain rest to make it feel better. That’s what I did and it got better quickly. It was minor muscle spasms and it went away."...

Gordon is likely to return to his starting spot against the Wizards, while Evans could likely start at small forward. It will be the first time in the preseason the Pelicans will have their full contingent of players. Evans missed the first four games because of a strained right hamstring.

"We need to take these next two games seriously because everybody is healthy and playing and now it’s time to buckle down and get our rhythm as a team back," Gordon said.

Monty Williams is on the hot seat -

Sports Illustrated with a ranking of how safe each head coach is going into the season.

Monty Williams, Pelicans: The 2014-15 season marks a key crossroads for New Orleans and Williams. If the Pelicans finally make a real run at a playoff spot, Williams can pitch it as a third straight year of slow but steady progress. However, if the Pelicans fall out of the hunt early again, Williams will be looking at a fourth straight season of irrelevance. That type of stagnation isn’t always a death sentence for a coach, but New Orleans does have a budding superstar in Anthony Davis and the front office has made (relatively) major plays for Jrue Holiday, Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon. The time is now for Williams—under contract through next season—to oversee a winner or face the consequences.

Not a surprise at all to find Monty on this list. The disparity between what the media thinks the Pelicans are capable of versus what the media reports as the Pelicans' internal goals makes for a tidy narrative.

Anthony Davis #4 in NBA according to SLAM -

Slam Magazine is ranking the top 50 players of the NBA. Anthony Davis is the only Pelican in their rankings coming in at fourth overall.

Have I mentioned yet that Davis is only 21 years old? OK, maybe I did, but still, it bears repeating. Davis is the NBA’s next superstar, doing things right now that we haven’t seen a 21-year-old do since LeBron and Durant. He might not be the scorer either of those two players are, but that doesn’t mean that he won’t someday—perhaps this year, as this ranking suggest—be close to as valuable.

Considering Davis's ranking in other such lists this preseason, he will likely find his way into the top 10 in ESPN's NBA Rank as well.

Anthony Davis is the Golden Ticket -

Real GM writer Daniel Leroux gives Davis a new nickname, the Golden Ticket.

Amidst all the chaos, only one team has the true golden ticket: a young elite player that they can say with certainty will be there throughout this tumultuous time.

That team is the New Orleans Pelicans because they have Anthony Davis.

After a season where his team missed the playoffs and he barely made the All-Star team, it feels like Davis’ amazing accomplishments flew somewhat under the radar. In terms of Win Shares / 48 and PER, Anthony Davis has had the best age 19 season AND the best age 20 season in the history of the NBA. Despite missing fifteen games in 2013-14, Davis put up the 13th most Win Shares of any season for a player age 21 or younger ever, with only LeBron James and Magic Johnson posting a better total in their age 20 year (both with at least ten more games played).

This insanely high quality of play for someone so young gets even more ridiculous with the fact that Anthony Davis will be paid almost half as much in the next two seasons combined as Kevin Durant and LeBron will each make per season and New Orleans can match any offer at the lower maximum salary for the least experienced players in 2016 if they are silly enough to wait that long.

While some may see this as a future selling point, I think New Orleans should start incorporating into their team vision and pitches as soon as possible. LeBron and Dwight Howard have shown players around the league that they simply cannot rely on the assumption that the best players in the league will choose to stick around when they hit unrestricted free agency. This reality combined with shorter contracts leave very few sure things around the league unless players are in the same class and coordinate.

Even though last summer’s big additions Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans will still be under contract, I look at 2016 as the first major opportunity for the Pelicans to grab a big fish. The free agent class looks strong right now and since major power forward talents like Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge will almost certainly already be on new contracts, it takes some potential options for team-ups off the table.

New Orleans has played their hand differently than the media would prefer; leading to columns bashing the front office decision-making far and wide. When the new television contract hits will Dell Demps look like a genius?

Pelicans take on the Wizards Tonight -

Anthony Davis and company travel to Baltimore tonight to take on the Washington Wizards. The Wizards are broadcasting the game so the game will be available through your typical internet means. We will have full coverage for what may be the last preseason game the Pelican starters play significant minutes before the regular season begins.