For the first time since 2008 the New Orleans Pelicans are playing on Christmas Day. They kick off the quintuple header at 11:00 AM against the Miami Heat. Last time they played on Christmas was also in Florida, against the Orlando Magic. The result then was a truckload of coal in the form of a 88-68 loss at the hands of Dwight Howard, Hedo Turkoglu, and Rashard Lewis. New Orleans trailed by 15 after the first quarter and 30 at halftime. They trailed by double digits for 41 minutes and never held a lead. The final seven minutes featured nine points, combined.
Tonight Santa will be making his deliveries. In the morning children young and old will rush to see what he left under the tree or in their stocking. The Pelicans will wake up in a Miami hotel and load up for an early tip-off at the American Airlines Arena.
Our writers at The Bird Writes have a Christmas List of our own for Santa. I don't know how up-to-date Santa is with the NBA CBA or if he's taken the Trade Machine for a spin but we sure have over the last few weeks.
What do you want Santa to bring the Pelicans this Christmas?
Kevin Barrios:Since I'm always mistaken for being Jewish (from Malaysian skinheads looking to beat me up to close friends to schizophrenic homeless people in the French Quarter to my regular customers) I'll pretend this is actually a Hanukkah question and ask for eight things:
- Tyreke Evans is currently shooting 41% from deep — I would ask for this to be the norm instead of some hot streak.
- I would like this trade to happen.
- Omer Asik retires from the NBA saving the Pelicans from paying him over the next four seasons — he enjoys great success playing in Europe.
- The Pelicans start getting superstar calls and Joey Crawford is finally fired.
- They turn down the lights in the audience and keep the court lit brightly in the Smoothie King Center.
- After the trade mentioned above, all of our pieces begin to fit together and we see consistent effort every night.
- We make a strong push for the playoffs, but end up with the 9th seed on the final game of the year. However, we win the lottery and draft 1st overall.
- The lure of playing with Anthony Davis begins to equal that of playing with LeBron and we start to see quality players taking pay cuts to play with him. The first of such being Hassan Whiteside forming the new era Duncan and Robinson while fixing our defense.
Joseph Billiot: I want Santa to bring the Pelicans a true point guard. I think this team has struggled so much because there is no one who can truly run the point in Gentry's system. The only realistic one to trade for is probably Dennis Schroeder from Atlanta, and I would be willing to give up any asset not named Anthony Davis to get him. That includes the Pelicans first round pick, but Atlanta would have to send another asset our way.
Jay Dunn:I'd like Santa to bring entertaining basketball to the Pelicans. Despite playing at one of the fastest paces in the association, the Pelicans are often flat out boring to watch. This is often due to the ball stopping tendencies of Tyreke Evans and Ryan Anderson. Hopefully Gentry can get the team to a point where we see less and less high pace stagnantion.
I've been especially good this year so I'll ask for one more thing. A 10 game winning streak. I know many people are calling for the Pelicans to tank the rest of the season but I think that strategy has a very small chance of benefitting the franchise. Keeping your franchise in purgatory in hopes of bouncing lottery balls is fools gold at best.
The Pels will have plenty of cap space this summer (like pretty much everybody) and if they spend it wisely they can improve the roster quickly. I'd rather New Orleans be a free agent destination because of the Brow rather than a lottery destination despite him.
David Fisher: A massive heaping of patience. This team, as currently constructed, wasn't going to win a title. Everyone covering this team knew it and somewhere in the back of the minds at Airline Drive they knew it too. That's fine; 29 NBA teams don't win a ring every season but that doesn't mean 29 teams have failed seasons. I want the patience to avoid shortsighted moves and the willingness to let players leave this summer who do not fit the direction or timeline of the franchise. Trade Ryan Anderson or Eric Gordon if you can get something in the future but avoid lateral moves treating the team as if it is a trauma patient. Don't make a trade just to look like you're doing something. Don't take on a headcase to get "value" for an expiring contract. Be smart and patient.
Zachary Junda: I just want a healthy team because while injuries aren't the only reason owed to the struggles in October and November they didn't do us any favors either. It feels like we lost custody to the real Pelican team. During the games where guys like Jrue and Asik were on minute restrictions those were our legally mandated weekend visitations. So once this group gets Quincy Pondexter back can we please keep them all healthy? We need to see what this roster looks like because if not we'll never truly know how cohesive the bunch is. It's like when the Rebels blew up the second Death Star in Return of the Jedi. You couldn't properly fear it because you never saw how many planets it could destroy.