New Orleans Saints Fan
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SI top NBA players 50-31: Two Pelicans on the list (Posted on 9/23/13 at 2:01 pm)
Two Pelicans on this list
48. Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans (G, 23)
2012-13 stats: 37.5 MPG, 17.7 PPG, 8.0 APG, 4.2 RPG, 1.6 SPG, 43.1 FG%, 36.8 3FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 16.7 PER, 3.3 Win Shares, +0.7 RAPM
The Sixers’ decision to trade Holiday to the Pelicans for No. 6 pick Nerlens Noel and a future first-round pick on draft night prompted an immediate and sharp debate. Supporters liked the idea of scooping up a slipping Noel, hording assets and tanking for the 2014 draft. Detractors wondered why a team building for the future would want to part with a 23-year-old All-Star, two-way point guard who just completed a career year, has no off-court red flags and is locked into an affordable rookie extension (four years, $43 million) until 2017.
The debate really boils down to differing takes on Holiday’s ceiling: Is he a future No. 1 guy for a winning team or is he “merely” a top-10-caliber point guard who will be consistently above average, but not quite elite? Philadelphia needed the former but New Orleans seems content with the latter, as the Pelicans will belong fully to Anthony Davis soon enough. Holiday’s durability, ability to create for himself and others, leadership intangibles and desire to work defensively will all be welcome in New Orleans. – B.G.
41. Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans (F/C, 20)
2012-13 stats: 28.8 MPG, 13.5 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.8 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 51.6 FG%
2012-13 advanced stats: 21.7 PER, 6.1 Win Shares, +0.8 RAPM
The No. 1 pick in 2012 had a superb rookie season, but he didn’t enjoy the full hype treatment because of New Orleans’ poor season, a series of minor injuries and the shadow cast by Damian Lillard’s award-winning campaign. The offseason is a good time for “take a step back” appraisals and Davis, a top high school recruit and a dominant force during his one year at Kentucky, is a perfect candidate for such an evaluation.
Davis, 20, won an Olympic gold medal and averaged 16.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.5 steals per 36 minutes while placing in the top 10 among power forwards and centers in PER and block percentage as a teenager. He can play at least two (if not three) positions, he’s already an excellent finisher around the hoop despite a slender frame that is filling out, and he spent the summer working on adding a mid-range jumper to his arsenal. By the way, if you forget about him for a few seconds, he’s liable to snatch the ball out of the air, dribble coast-to-coast and finish with a dunk for good measure.
If every NBA player were thrown into a draft, Davis would be selected in the top 10, at the very least, given his potential for perennial All-Star play on both sides of the ball and his drama-free, strictly basketball approach. Excited yet? — B.G.
Very high praise for Davis in that last comment.
This post was edited on 9/23 at 2:25 pm