A mediocre 7-13 New Orleans Pelicans team sees the Oklahoma City Thunder for the first time this season. But this isn’t any normal 7-13 team, as they have Anthony Davis. With averages of 32 points, 11 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks, Anthony Davis is no average basketball player. But with averages of 2.3 assists to 2.3 turnovers, Davis clearly can’t have the ball in his hands all of the time. Besides, Davis’ 27.9% hit rate from three will always limit him in today’s NBA.
But beyond Davis and Jrue Holiday, there just aren’t any starter-quality scorers on the Pelicans. Frazier is a fine backup point guard, focused on defense, passing, and on-ball scoring. E’Twaun Moore would be awesome on OKC’s bench as a three and D guy, same for Jones and Cunningham. Even Langston Galloway can have nice nights scoring around screens.
But other Pelicans are complete duds. Lance Stephenson is a black hole of offense who only fits into a scheme where he is the primary scorer. Omer Asik is one of the most unmotivated and uninspiring basketball players of the modern era. Alexis Ajinca is too soft and slow for the NBA. Archie Goodwin has bounced in and out of the D-League. And Anthony Brown is a Small Forward who can’t shoot. All of these guys have seen significant time, and contributed a negative box plus/minus score. In fact, aside from Davis and Holiday, the entire roster has a negative box plus/minus score.
The key for the Thunder, who are 12-8, is to focus on forcing turnovers. Taking care of the ball is the Pelicans’ best aspect. But the Pelicans also defend without fouling relatively well, so OKC is going to have to see a few long-range shots go down. Asik is a terrible basketball player that I really don’t enjoy watching, but he can stop Kanter. So it’s gonna be up to Morrow and Lauvergne to pull the bench through.
The Pelicans are easy. Let’s take this game, after three days rest!
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 108, New Orleans Pelicans 98.
What do you think of tonight’s game? Drop a comment and let us know!
Injuries: Tyreke Evans (Out), Dante Cunningham (Out), Quincy Pondexter (Out), Cameron Payne (Out)
Time: 6 PM CST
Place: Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City, OK
TV: FSOK, FSNO