Located in the heart of the deep south, New Orleans has been, and always will be a football town. Drew Brees and the Saints practically symbolize the city's rebirth post Katrina.
But the city's beloved Saints seem doomed for a long season, and truthfully, I feel terrible for the fans that have to shoulder the rest of the season. Sorry... love ya Drew.
Not only are the Saints 0-2, but Tulane football fans also have little to cheer for. The Green Wave lost its first two games against AAC opponents Duke and Georgia Tech by a total of 85 points and support for the team has dwindled, even with the latest win against FCS Main
Coinciding with the local football teams down season, the national and local media coverage has taken notice of the Pelicans preseason hype of Anthony Davis and crew. I'm not suggesting faithful Saints fans abandon their hometown heroes, but it's time this city starts to pay attention to what's happening at the Blender.
Despite residing in the second smallest market in the NBA, the Pellies will play on national television 13 times between ESPN and TNT, the most of any Pelicans team since the rebranding of the team.
Not only has the media taken notice of the Pelicans sure rise this upcoming season, but local fans have bought into this team more than any other in team history, as floor seating has completely sold out for the first time in franchise history.
After ranking No. 24 in overall stadium attendance last season, team president Dennis Lauscha proclaimed that the Pelicans have eclipsed the top three in ticket sales in the NBA, with a renewal rate of 90 percent, another franchise milestone.
Media giants understand the Pelicans are showtime not simply because of Davis. Alvin Gentry's squad has a plethora of scorers and players ready to redeem themselves. Eric Gordon is happy and healthy, Tyreke Evans has slimmed down, Ryan Anderson can finally just focus on basketball again and Jrue Holiday will hopefully have an opportunity to get back to All-Star form by the time the playoffs roll around.
Jrue's health is key. Look at statistics of the best three-man lineups for the Pelicans for the entire season.
Holiday owns this stat line, and players play better when he's on the court, albeit healthy. Now look at the post-all-star break version of this stat-line, when Holiday played more frequently coming back from injury.
Holiday played in seven of the top 10 best three man lineups post-all star break in terms of plus-minus. That's better than Anthony Davis, who only appeared three times. Health may be the Pelicans best friend this year, and a healthy team will make this squad very fun to watch under Gentry's system.
Gentry preaches an upbeat-tempo offense, with a ton of pick and roll actions he learned from Mike D'Antoni back in Phoenix, where he'd call high pick-and-roll plays like this with Steve Nash and Amar'e Stoudemire:
This is electrifying basketball, the kind of basketball that gets you to jump out of your seat and call your buddy from miles away to ask, "DID YOU SEE THAT? YEA, YOU SAW IT ON ONE OF THE 13 NATIONALLY TELEVISED GAMES? YOU'RE WELCOME."
These sets will have shooters spread out on the wings, and able cutters to make up for a defensive closeout, perfect for Evans, and shooters like Gordon and Anderson. Except it won't be Nash to Stoudamire, it'll be, fingers crossed, Holiday to Davis. Davis has better leaping ability at this stage of his career and can finish in more ways than Stoudemire did at any point of his career. Don't forget that Holiday averaged 8 assists per game as a healthy All-Star for the 76ers in the 2012-13 year.
If you're a Saints fan, you love electrifying plays where Drew Brees sends the ball flying to Brandon Cooks. Well, the Pelicans will be just as energizing on offense this year, and you don't want to miss out.
Historically, this city has normally considered this franchise an afterthought. Now, this playoff-bound team will be ascetically pleasing to watch under Alvin Gentry, as he'll attempt ascend Davis into superstardom aided by the plethora of able scorers.