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Projecting the Pelicans second most valuable player next to Anthony Davis

No doubt Davis will be teams strongest player, but The Bird Writes examines which Pelican will end up standing closest to him in importance.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Besides Anthony Davis, who will be the biggest contributor to the team's overall success?

Kevin BarriosTyreke Evans is the second best player on the roster. He's a proven 15, 5 and 5 guy that will be even better in this system. His ability collapse a defense and finish at the rim or kick out to a shooter will play a huge role in this team's success. I'm drooling to see he and AD with the reigns cut off.

Chris CucchiaraI am a big believer in the contract year for athletes. Lo and behold, both Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon will be playing for their futures in 2016. In addition, they are two of the healthier players at the moment -- shocker, I know. Expect solid contributions from the pair because they will not only be vital and necessary to the success of the 2015-16 Pels but also their checkbook balances in coming years.

Jay DunnJrue Holiday. The Pelicans struggled to defend point guards last season especially once Holiday was largely lost to the season with his stress reaction. He is an excellent defender, and making a big jump on that side of the ball, is the most logical way for New Orleans to vault into the ranks of the contenders.

Peyton FineJrue Holiday. In 41 minutes of the preseason, he is already +12 in terms of lineups. His defense at the point of attack, coupled with his ability as the team's purest point guard, will be the biggest "addition" to this team. He will make a larger impact than any free agent we could have signed this summer. I say this even if he remains on a minutes restriction until January. If Jrue is playing full-time by the end of the season and into the playoffs, I think the Pelicans may have a few wins in April and May.

David FisherJrue Holiday will be the unquestioned second banana to Anthony Davis by season's end. Despite the frustrations on Holiday's part, the Pelicans will stick to their minutes restriction, and by January, he should be good to go full out. Holiday will seize the starting point guard job and finish the season with a PER above 20 while trailing only Davis in a number of advanced metrics.

Kyle GahaganBehind AD, Eric Gordon's skill set is the most likely to lend itself to individual success in the Gentry scheme. He's a master of offense and a marginal defender, but it appears the Pels notion going into the year would be to out score opponents. Time will only tell if we get "Flash Gordon" or "Crash Gordon," but I'm voting for the former.

Jonny HarveyThe biggest contributor will be Jrue Holiday. Alvin Gentry’s offensive system is perfect for Holiday, who averaged eight assists when fully healthy in Philadelphia. I think he will end up fitting better in Gentry’s system than Goran Dragic, who made a strong push to be included in last year's All-Star game. If he makes it through his restrictions unscathed and the minutes cap is reduced or eliminated, he will take the offense and defense to another level.

Quentin HaynesThere are so many possible answers to this question, but I'm going with Eric Gordon. I believe a healthy Gordon is the second best player on this team. He can provide the defense at the shooting guard position, and his ability to space the floor is a bit more valuable than Evans' ability to attack the rim. If Gordon can play 65-70 games at a high level, his contributions will be incredibly valuable.

Zachary JundaIt feels like Eric Gordon's best season as a member of the New Orleans organization is on the horizon. After reinventing himself last year, partnering up with Alvin Gentry and the whole CONTRACT YEAR thing, it sure feels like the stars are aligning for the best campaign of his career.

Oleh Kosel: I've got to tip my cap towards Tyreke Evans. There isn't much doubt in my mind that Jrue Holiday will be the team's second most effective player, but due to his minutes restriction, I don't see how he'll return enough value to be the team's second biggest contributor. By default (and health permitting), I'd also vote that Ryan Anderson, and possibly even Eric Gordon, finish the season as greater influential cogs in the Pelicans overall success.