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Bird Feed: Pelicans Rise in Latest Power Rankings, Anthony Davis and LeBron James Clash Tonight

Prepare to get outraged over the opinions of writers who have hardly watched your Pelicans play last week.

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SB Nation Power Rankings

Drew Garrison moves New Orleans up one spot from 17th to 16th this week.

His name is Anthony Davis. He is the destroyer of worlds. Davis currently leads the league in rebounds per game (12.4), blocks per game (4.4) and PER (34.8), and is fifth overall in points per game (24.4). He also had a phenomenal game against the Spurs, leading the Pelicans to a victory on the road while hitting the game-winning layup:

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A game against the Cavaliers on Monday will be a key litmus test for both clubs. Power Rankings

The Pelicans move up to 16th from 20th last week. New Orleans moved ahead of Boston, Atlanta, Oklahoma City, and the New York Knicks. Sadly 16th in the entire league is good for just 10th in the Western Conference.

Monday's game in Cleveland could tell us just how improved the Pelicans' defense is. The offense will continue to be bad if Eric Gordon (3-for-17 from 3-point range) can't hit from the outside or if Tyreke Evans (19-for-48 in the restricted area) can't finish on the inside. Somehow, Austin Rivers has been their most efficient guard by a wide margin.

ESPN Power Rankings

Marc Stein moves NOLA up three spots to 15th overall this week. As with John Schuhmann's rankings this puts the Pelicans 10th in the West, behind Golden State, Houston, Memphis, the Clippers, San Antonio, Portland, Sacramento, Phoenix, and Dallas. The (L)Eastern Conference is the worst.

Anthony Davis is up to five games, starting from last season, with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. The rest of the league, in that span, has combined for six such games. Now let's see if a one-point win in San Antonio is really the breakthrough this young team seems to need.

Yahoo! Power Rankings

Inexplicably, Marc Spears moves the Pelicans down to 16th from 12th last week. Washington, Brooklyn, Sacramento, and Phoenix all leaped New Orleans.

Perhaps an early MVP candidate matchup when New Orleans’ Anthony Davis plays against Cleveland’s LeBron James on Monday.

CBS Sports Power Rankings

Anthony Davis and company are on the rise in Matt Moore's (@HPBasketball on Twitter) power rankings, moving up from 16th last week to 12th. These rankings were the most volatile with New Orleans passing the Spurs, Clippers, Hawks, Cavs, and Knicks  while being passed by the Blazers.

I'm interested in inventing a new language so there could be more superlatives for Anthony Davis since I've run out of them in English.

Pelicans-Cavs Tonight

SB Nation's Paul Flannery lists this as the national game of the night to watch. Anthony Davis vs. LeBron James will do that. Glad to see Flannery also is upset this game is not nationally televised.

If you were going to choose one player right now to start an NBA franchise, who would you take? LeBron James is still the de-facto answer, but Anthony Davis hasn't just crept into the conversation: he is the conversation. His numbers -- 24.4 points, 12.8 rebounds, 4.4 blocks -- obviously get your attention, but more than that is the notion that he's still finding his way on an NBA court and his game is years away from being fully developed. He's the reason League Pass exists ... which is inexplicably the only place you can watch this game if you don't live in Cleveland or New Orleans.

Tonight's Required Reading

Check out our preview of the game here. Fear the Sword also has their preview up. In injury news Matthew Dellavedova will miss tonight's game while Dion Waiters is questionable. FTS has all the details.