It is literally impossible to recommend this piece more.
"Anything I do, I'll do for the city of New Orleans."
"New Orleans is a great city. When I came in, whatever I had to do to make everything go positively, I was more than willing and happy to do."
The first vow came from Maravich, in a Times-Picayune interview after news broke that the Jazz were being relocated to Utah. "Whether the team's in Salt Lake or not," he continued, "I'll do it personally for the city of New Orleans." By then, unfortunately, it was too late for Maravich; he was cut by January, picked up by Boston, and then retired at the end of the season at age 32. He spent the rest of his days in a state of rising paranoia, up until the sudden heart attack that killed him. A tragic hero for a city that knows the genre too well.
The second quote came from a phone conversation with Anthony Davis, already on a trajectory to becoming the NBA's next megastar and among the best basketball players to ever wear a New Orleans uniform.
That's just a snippet. Go read all of it.
The rest of the country is discovering the absurd trajectory of AD's career.
The avalanche of praise could be overwhelming and will surely shift if Davis fails to capture a championship by his seventh or eighth season, a phase James had to overcome and in which Durant currently exists. But Davis refuses to get caught up, lest it consume him to impatiently chase what might be unattainable or distract him from what he has already set out to accomplish.
"I just go out there and play. What people expect of me? That’s on them," Davis said, recently. "I don’t pay attention to all the stuff that they’re saying because that kind of messes with your head and you start getting complacent. That’s for the fans to read it and listen to it. My objective is to help this team win."
The Eastern Conference is The Worst
The @NBA West is off to a 14-3 start against the East. 282-168 (.627) in 2013-14 262-188 (.582) in 2012-13 156-114 (.578) in 2011-12— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) November 6, 2014
West is now 14-3 against the East. 2 of 3 East wins were over depleted OKC. Other was CHI in last second @ MIN.— John Schuhmann (@johnschuhmann) November 6, 2014
New Orleans has done their part, going 2-0 against the lesser conference.
If you read one writer on the Times-Picayune about the Pelicans, make it Nakia Hogan.
Evans, though, said he expected to shoot the ball better after an offseason of working with Pelicans assistant coach Fred Vinson on refining Evans' shooting stroke.
Evans said the biggest adjustment made was using his fingers more, instead of the palm of his hand.
"We shoot everyday after practice," Evans said. "Hard work pays off. It's definitely showing. I'm knocking them down, just doing the same things I'm doing in practice.
"I'm mot really (surprised). It's just me getting my confidence, knowing that when I shoot, I'm shooting with confidence. If I miss, I miss. Once I miss one, I can't stop shooting. That's what Freddy has been telling me, just keep my confidence up. And coach has been telling me to shoot, and that's what I've been doing."
Subtle things like hand position are difficult to measure. One thing that strikes me is Evans going straight up when he shoots without dribbling. Confidence and continuing to shoot are extremely important.
Our friends at Bourbon Street Shots do a great job with their podcast. While no national NBA podcast spends much time on the Pelicans every week you can listen to an hour plus of Michael McNamara and Ryan Schwan discussing the ins-and-outs of Crescent City Basketball.
In Case You Missed It
Oleh, our managing editor, outlined the direction of our blog. Then he took a dive into Austin Rivers performance so far this season. Christopher Cucchiara makes his debut asking if Eric Gordon should find a place on the bench. All Frozen references due to your associate editor with a young daughter at home.
Luke Petkac outlines the first four games for the Pelicans.
The Pelicans are averaging an even 100 points per 100 possessions, 19th in the league. But considering the team's shooting numbers, it's hard to believe they're scoring at even that rate. It's that bad.
New Orleans has shot 41 percent from the floor, 26 percent from the three-point line and 69 percent on free throws. As a team, the Pelicans have an effective field-goal percentage of 44. They're missing from everywhere. They've shot just 24 percent on jumpers and, somehow, 33 percent on layups. Layups!
As hard as it has been to watch though, these numbers bode well for the Pelicans moving forward. No team can shoot like that over the course of a season, least of all one as talented as New Orleans.
Eventually, the team should regress to the mean, and when that happens the offense will really start ticking.
I will take a much deeper dive into the shooting situation tomorrow. Spoiler: the ability of the Pelicans to create high value open shots has greatly improved.