On the final day of the NBA preseason, the New Orleans Pelicans will finally make an appearance on their home floor at the Smoothie King Center. They will welcome the Miami Heat in their seventh game of the preseason with another mash unit masquerading as their regular season rotation.
In chatting with Scott Alexander yesterday on his daily radio show on ESPN 100.3, we talked about the Pelicans role players. Specifically, will they provide enough production to help the team survive the onslaught of all the preseason injuries?
Anthony Davis' production can be written in stone. We can also be assured that most nights Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson will step up to the plate. In his 15 minute restricted window, Jrue Holiday should pose an effective force. However, the rest of the group remains a giant question mark.
Dante Cunningham and Alonzo Gee combined to go 0-8 several nights ago against the Magic. Nate Robinson poured in 18 points on 7-11 from the floor, but in his two previous games, he combined for 15 points on 6-18 shooting.
If none of the missing in action players can return for opening night against the Golden State Warriors, the inconsistent are going to have to show some consistency.
One interesting player to watch against the Heat is Bryce Dejean-Jones. All the kid has done since first donning a New Orleans uniform in Summer League is produce. He finished with the 2nd highest PER among small forwards in July and his impressive play has carried into the exhibition season.
Against the Magic, I was hoping Dejean-Jones would have received some crunch time minutes, especially in overtime. With DC and Gee shooting blanks, Gentry perhaps should have taken a look at the rookie that continues to defy. With the start of the regular season a mere four days away, the Pelicans are going to need to find production from any part of the roster to help offset the rash of injuries.
In the closing minutes Wednesday, the offense devolved to a lot of isolation moves by Davis and Robinson. The Pelicans need to try to remedy that as much as possible tonight against the Heat.
As a side note, if you're attending the game or will watch it on NBA League Pass, let us know what you think of the new video board hanging over center court.