It’s no secret to any online betting fan that the New Orleans Pelicans basically made the playoffs because of Kevin Durant’s foot – and Serge Ibaka’s season-ending injury. With the Thunder just missing the postseason, the Pelicans were able to take the eighth and final spot – and then bowed out after the first round. Even though the Pelicans qualified for the tournament, head coach Monty Williams was shown the door in favor of Alvin Gentry.
At the time, Williams’ firing was a bit of a surprise, because this was the first time he had led the Pelicans to the playoffs – and team owner Tom Benson had also sent letters of congratulation to the coaching staff. With Gentry coming in, though, it’s clear that the plan for the Pelicans is to speed the game up. This could be what sets center Anthony Davis free, given his incredible athleticism and ability to finish well above the rim.
Can the Pelicans Contend in NBA’s 2015-2016 Online Betting Season?
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) August 5, 2015
New Pelicans in 2015
The Pelicans’ recent signing of Kendrick Perkins to a free agent contract makes sense if the team plans to feature Davis as a centerpiece. Perkins, also a center, is expected to take on a mentoring role for the young phenom.
Gentry revitalized the offense of the Golden State Warriors, which had ranked #12 in the NBA in 2013-2014. Gentry was the associate head coach for Steve Kerr, and Gentry went back to his roots from the “Seven Seconds or Less” era in Phoenix. As a result, the Warriors finished #2 in offensive efficiency and #1 in pace. Klay Thompson went to an All-Star game for the first time, Stephen picked up his first MVP trophy, and the team won its first title in 40 years.
Under Monty Williams, the Pelicans didn’t always attack first. Even with Tyreke Evans and Davis available to wreak havoc on opposing teams, New Orleans finished #27 in pace during 2014-2015. Williams’ time in New Orleans saw the Pelicans be the very slowest team in the league twice, and the team was never faster than #22. When Williams was an assistant for the Trail Blazers for Nate McMillan, Portland was the NBA’s slowest team for two straight years, so this is just a part of Williams’ offensive philosophy.
Gentry, on the other hand, will push the ball, and Davis will have to run the court to open and finish opportunities in transition. The Pelicans will feast on other teams by putting him at center, setting up spread lineups around him, and then picking and rolling time and time again. If the Pelicans decide to go big, that will free him up to create offense from the elbow. It would also make sense for him to start working on his corner three-point shots.
Davis has a tremendous amount of upside. Last season, he was only 21 years old, but he averaged 24.4 points per game and 10.2 boards while playing in a slow office. Amar’e Stoudemire, at the age of 22, averaged 26 points and 8.9 boards in Phoenix when Alvin Gentry was an assistant coach there. It’s not out of the realm of possibility for Davis to get close to 29 points per game, a level that only Shaq has touched in the last three decades. So can the Pelicans contend? Yes, yes they can.