We're almost there, y'all. The fun hating babies known as "baseball players" time in the spotlight is coming to a close. At least the Saints are doing a nice job of filling in the void and are rolling along nicely at 6-0.
**looks at calendar**
Wait, this isn't the year 2009. Drew Brees is 36, the offensive line is garbage, the defense is garbage squared, there's no Jimmy Graham, and the Saints, in addition to being 2-4, are in salary cap hell for the foreseeable future?
But you know what, I say forget the Saints. Basketball season's here, and for the first time since Chris Paul was a Hornet, New Orleans has a team that could do some really nice things. The Pelicans have all the pieces needed to push the Saints out of the driver's seat as the team in New Orleans: a new head coach known for producing fast, fun and effective offenses, a legitimate star locked up for the next five years and a strong supporting cast that can hold their own (that's if they're ever allowed to be totally healthy).
What's more, fans can tell something's brewing and they're getting excited. In a football-first state, Louisianians are finally checking out the whole basketball thing, and they like what they're seeing. I was at Game Four of the Pelicans-Warriors playoff series, and two things made me happy:
1) People were still hurt from the meltdown of Game Three. I view that as a step in the proper fandom direction. Of course it's okay to feel like Steph Curry ripped your heart out with his game-tying shot toward the end of regulation, that means you care. It's sort of like Monster's Inc. just in reverse: we're scared because we care.
2) On the way out of the Smoothie King Center after Game Four, nobody felt like this was the end of this Pelicans era. Instead there were excited murmurings. People were saying things like "If only we were healthy all year," and "if only Monty Williams wasn't coaching like he had been shot with rhinoceros tranquilizers." You have to lose before you can win. MJ had to lose to Isiah and the Bad Boy Pistons before he got his. LeBron had to overcome the bogeyman Celtics. Even the reigning champion Warriors had to take some lumps from the Spurs before winning the whole thing.
So if you have not totally bought in, just hang with them a little bit longer. Good things are coming, just be patient. Bovada has the Pelicans at +4,000 to win the title this year, the ninth best odds in all of basketball (Miami and Memphis are tied at +3,300 so technically 10th but I digress). That's a fair amount of love for a team that got swept in last year's playoffs and didn't secure their berth until game 82.
But as fair as those odds are you shouldn't put money on that. Unless you have Bill Simmons levels of degenerate gambling, don't touch that. Instead here's some bets you'd have a better chance at winning.
Anthony Davis PER- 29.5
Anthony Davis' 2014-15 season was a great one no matter how you look at it. For the first time in his young career, he led the league in PER with a rating of 30.8. A PER greater than 30 is like the baseball equivalent of hitting .400 or an NFL quarterback completing 70 percent of his passes. It may not happen all that often but when it does it's something special.
But how rare is having a PER greater than 30? Basketball-reference says it's only happened 17 times since 1946-47, that's pre-NBA by the way, and it's been done by eight guys including Davis. Here's the other seven:
- Michael Jordan (four times)
- LeBron James (four times)
- Wilt Chamberlin (three times)
- Shaquille O'Neal (two times)
- David Robinson (once)
- Dwyane Wade (once)
- Tracy McGrady (once)