You may not see it now, or want to believe it but the New Orleans Pelicans are in big trouble.
It’s not just their record, it’s everything that their record could destroy. When a team achieves success, it becomes expected on a yearly basis. But the Pelicans have gone the opposite route since their playoff berth two years ago. Why?
It starts with players not being able to suit up. There were so many games missed by Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon that we, nor the Pelicans never got a true glimpse of how great the team could be. And to make matters worse, we never will.
Anthony Davis recently inked a 5yr/$145 million contract on the heels of the New Orleans Pelicans playoff run two seasons ago that may come back to haunt him and the team. The Pelicans are playing well below expectations, and with Davis missing a chunk of the year the team went in a downward spiral. To make matters worse half his teammates were sitting next to him in street clothes themselves.
If you were to check the Pelicans roster you could understand why Davis was quick to sign the extension. The backcourt was solid with players such as Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon. Holiday was the former All-Star that was ready to form one heck of an inside/outside combo with Davis but injuries have robbed the duo of any real glimpse of what they could become. Gordon has that sweet perimeter game that fits well with Davis but their time on the floor was limited. There was other talent mixed in with Tyreke Evans, Omer Asik, and Ryan Anderson and you can see why the future looked bright for the Pelicans but nothing is ever as it seems.
At their current pace the Pelicans will see the lottery again this year, their offseason was a disaster. Davis should be a top draw for free agents but they all have passed on a chance to play with “The Brow”. Anderson is gone, Gordon departed for Houston and what they got in return is a rookie in Buddy Hield.
Despite the huge contract, the Pelicans could be in danger of losing one of the best players in the NBA. No one thought Chris Paul would depart but, when you look down the bench and see the players that are supposed to have your back nightly, looking as if they are ready for a GQ magazine shoot than basketball players, something is wrong.
Loyalty is a strong word, but in sports, it comes with a price tag. Maybe it stops you from winning or opens up a bigger market for you in terms of fans and advertisement. You just have to know what you are getting yourself into when you decide to take that route.
Davis is now at that crossroads, the same crossroad Garnett was standing in before him, listening to the front office give promises about the players they wanted to bring in, plans for the community and the value of friendship and loyalty.
We don’t know the mind-state of Garnett back then but he stayed, collected the biggest paycheck at that time in the NBA, lost games, teammates, coaches and himself in the process because of the word “loyalty”.
The Pelicans are headed down that path with Davis, and the sad part is, it’s not his fault his teammates are fragile. But what does that do for his confidence in the team moving forward?