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The Bird Calls Podcast Ep. 58: Raving about Rajon Rondo while lately being ravaged by the referees

Oleh, Preston and I drool over Rondo, address turnovers and look ahead to the Pelicans’ upcoming slate of games... all the while a barking dog seems to give Oleh the business.

NBA: Toronto Raptors at New Orleans Pelicans Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Despite another immoral victory against Atlanta and a pretty bad loss to the Toronto Raptors — Preston leads the good vibes as we all admit that there are real problems with this team, but also some tangible solutions.

We all grade the Pelicans’ performance dating back to the victory over the Clippers. I continue to preach that Alvin Gentry may not be the right coach for this roster, but is still positive overall — as I feel the team can win in spite of their coach — even if it means they won’t meet their full potential. The Pelicans continue to beat the teams they should, which isn’t something we could say in prior seasons.

I also mention Jrue’s apparent disdain for the city of Toronto, and how the Raptors seem to get the aggression we’ve been begging to see from him out of him. I’m also excited about Darius Miller’s continued golden stroke — even though he didn’t see as many minutes against Toronto as that shooting seemed to warrant. Maybe we should push for Darius to be known as, “Darius Reggie Miller.” Hey, it would make for a fantastic t-shirt!

Then we turn down the lights, draw the shades, light the candles, slip into something more comfortable and discuss Rondo’s minutes — I mean, look that this work of art:

Oleh gives us a brief update from Alvin Gentry’s post-practice media session — including a Tony Allen injury update, Alexis Ajinca’s status and the Toronto Raptor’s horseshoe where they sun don’t shine lucky shooting. He goes on to breakdown the Pelicans’ defensive woes and how vital Jrue Holiday has been in keeping the defense from a complete collapse. Lastly, Oleh also expresses concerns over Anthony Davis slip in offensive usage and how the Pels could look to get him going more — as well as some of the factors that have lead to it.

I next suggest that the Pelicans genetic makeup can predispose them to teams taking more threes, as they fear challenging Davis and Cousins in the paint, but that shouldn’t be a huge concern long term because, let’s face it, the Raptors were unusually hot.

Oleh and Preston discuss Jrue’s field goal percentage and how Holiday’s 2-point percentage is very good on the year, but his percentage from deep drags his overall shooting down. Preston cites an article on Pelican Debrief that illustrates how Jrue is much better off of the dribble than in catch-and-shoot situations — a drum Kevin has been beating for 2 years now. Oleh expresses faith that Jrue is starting to put it all together — seeing a lot of hope from him reducing turnovers and how he is looking to be aggressive offensively off the ball — citing a media day prediction from Rajon Rondo. While he is happy with Jrue’s attacking — he is concerned with his inability to draw fouls while doing so.

We discuss how the Pelicans handle the frustration of seemingly one-sided calls, and how they can handle those situations going forward. I show some empathy for Cousins for having to go against a player that kind of operates outside of the rules in Jonas Valanciunas, but gets away with no-calls. The officiating of the Raptors game is also questioned.

We debate the reasons why scoring drops with each quarter, and how that trend could be changing very soon — especially if the starting line up gets a minor tweak — even if we are currently experiencing growing pains as these new line ups figure out how to gel. Oleh, also looks into how role players emerging are changing that declining scoring trend, and how Rondo’s return will help reduce Boogie’s late game fatigue. We also give a Cheick Diallo progress report.

How much should we be concerned with the Pelicans’ turnover issues — is this an overreaction, a product of our play style, will it begin to correct itself?

Do we see any trades looming in the near future? If so, who are some legitimate targets?

How do the guys see the Pelicans’ fortunes over the next three games?

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