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The Pelicans future core should include Evans alongside Davis and Holiday

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New Orleans should look to build around their elite core, not split them apart, because they rank incredibly well among the best in the NBA.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Pelicans most recent loss to the Clippers, social media was understandably looking to the future, specifically in regards to the roster.

Before the start of the season, I had circled three names that should not be moved: Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday and Quincy Pondexter. I've been a proponent of Holiday since he arrived, including the final stretch of games last season where many believed Tyreke Evans had cemented his status as the team's future starting point guard.

My, my, how times have changed. In comes Alvin Gentry, Holiday's tibia has yet to flare up again and the Pelicans are losing games at an inconceivable pace. Now, popular opinion has shifted against Evans, claiming he is an ill-suited piece for the current coaching staff. Never mind the fact that he's in the midst of his best season of his career, and his numbers during his tenure in New Orleans have displayed significant improvement.

A core of Davis and Holiday is a solid foundation for the future, but I'm adamant the team must include Evans among them. The biggest hindrance to this formula, I fear, has been statistic's archenemy, the eye test. Although Evans has made strides in reducing his ball dominant ways, the majority is fixated on every single instance he possesses the ball for longer than a couple of seconds. Thus, they hold the belief the Pelicans need to choose between Holiday and Evans, with the obvious answer being Holiday. If production trumps all, this makes no sense considering the pair has been a net positive every season since arriving in New Orleans.

In 2013-14, the duo combined for a +5.1 Net Rating. Last season, it was +4.5. This season that figure is a healthy +9.9, a remarkable feat considering all the negative team statistics across the board.

In two-man lineups who have spent 100+ minutes together, a Holiday-Evans lineup has proven more effective than any other New Orleans pairing and that includes anyone standing next to Anthony Davis. The tandem has outscored opponents by 61 points, 27 more points than the next highest pair. All of this in just 228 minutes. In 506 minutes, Holiday-Davis, the two untouchables on the roster, have only managed to outscore their opponents by 25 points.

Wait, it gets better though. As the numbers will bear out below, it's high time Evans' naysayers change their opinion because the Davis-Holiday-Evans trio is a dangerously effective lineup.

3-man #'s ORtg DRtg NetRtg FG% 3FG% ast/tov Opp. FG% Opp. 3FG% Opp. ast/tov
Davis-Evans-Holiday 117.3 94.5 +22.9 48.8% 40.8% 1.81 40.4% 27.6% 1.00

They sizzle on offense and stifle opponents. In 144 minutes, the group looks like world-beaters. In fact, look how favorably the trio compares to some of the best threesomes in the NBA today.

3-man #'s ORtg DRtg NetRtg FG% 3FG% ast/tov Opp. FG% Opp. 3FG% Opp. ast/tov
Curry-Green-Thompson 119.8 95.8 +24.0 52.3% 46.3% 2.04 40.9% 31.6% 1.42
Irving-James-Love 122.0 101.7 +20.3 50.0% 40.0% 2.29 46.3% 39.7% 2.08
Durant-Ibaka-Westbrook 117.0 99.3 +17.7 50.5% 37.7% 1.73 42.1% 35.3% 1.37
Griffin-Paul-Redick 112.8 99.5 +13.3 50.1% 40.7% 2.19 43.3% 33.5% 1.48
Duncan-Leonard-Parker 106.8 95.7 +11.1 47.6% 38.5% 1.86 42.8% 37.9% 1.87

With a record of 36-2, the Golden State Warriors are the gold standard. Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are the core of that group, one that no one would dare to break up this season, or likely at any time down the road. However, it could be argued that Davis-Evans-Holiday compare more favorably with them than any of the other listed 3-man lineups.

Regardless on whether you agree with that statement, the Pelicans trio stacks up fantastically against any other in the NBA. Two-way players are the envy of every coach and front office in the league today. It appears the Pelicans have three of them because they have functioned so beautifully on both sides of the ball this season.

Why on earth would anyone try to break that up?