Before the New Orleans Pelicans tipped off tonight they got a handful of good news. First, Eric Gordon was healthy enough to play in a preseason game. Gordon's presence in the rotation makes dealing with the absence of Quincy Pondexter (return TBD, maybe mid-November) far more manageable. Gordon played 15 productive minutes and scored eight points while knocking down one of three attempts behind the arc.
In another development Jrue Holiday's load was pushed from 10 minutes to 15 minutes tonight. As I have said from the start I expect the Pelicans to gradually increase Holiday's workload as the season progresses and would be surprised if he is still at 15 minutes a game by December. In those minutes Jrue peppered the box score chipping in nine points, eight rebounds, and five assists against just one turnover.
Finally, on the injury front Alvin Gentry said before the start of the game that the "bigs" are ahead of schedule. If Omer Asik (projected to be out three weeks with a return date right around October 27th) and Alexis Ajinca (out four to six weeks to return as early as the Pelicans home opener on October 31st) are indeed ahead of schedule that could mean trouble for Jeff Adrien snagging a roster spot.
The Pels get Gordon back tonight. Coach says bigs out injured are ahead of schedule.— Sean Kelley (@SeanKelleyLive) October 19, 2015
Norris Cole will be out extended time due to a high ankle sprain and Tyreke Evans missed tonight's game with knee soreness. The Pelicans needs in the back court, especially in the early going, could far outweigh hopes for depth in the front court by retaining Adrien. The signings of Bo McCalebb and Nate Robinson lead myself and others to believe Tyreke's injury could linger into the regular season making depth at point guard to be perilously thin.
If Asik and Ajinca are expected to be available soon the roster calculus on who wins the 14th and 15th spots gets even tougher for head coach Alvin Gentry.