• Nick Fay

The New Sleeper in the West

nop ust.jpg

The last couple years in the stacked Western Conference, there's been a surprise team to make a run. A couple years ago it was the Utah Jazz. More recently it's been the Memphis Grizzlies, who also had to beat out another surprise team for their playoff spot, the young athletic Phoenix Suns. These type of surprise teams are what keep the NBA interesting all season long, and this year a new face is likely to join that mix. That team being the New Orleans Pelicans. This starting line-up is full of talent, from the back court of Jrue Holliday and Eric Gordon, to the forwards of Tyreke Evans and Anthony Davis, and finally newly acquired Omer Asik, at center. Now the bench isn't anything special, but stretch 4 Ryan Anderson gives you scoring. Also likely to contribute are the young guards of Austin Rivers, Jimmer Freddite, and Russ Smith. Just like Portland last year, this team will rely heavily on it’s starting 5, whether Anderson gets majority of those starts or Asik is yet to be set in stone. The key to this team will be no other than Anthony Davis. He is a solid candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, and likely to snag a few of those MVP votes from LeBron James. Look for Anthony Davis to win an MVP of his own in the next few years. He has shown he's developing by how he jumped from his rookie to sophomore year in the NBA. His rookie season he averaged 13.5 PPG and 8.2 rebounds, he followed this with averaging 20.8 PPG and 10.2 RPG last year. Keep in mind HE’S ONLY 21! This season will be another year of progression; as well a year for him to take this team under that giant wing span he has, and set them up for a shot at a playoff run. They finished 34-48 last season and now a team fully healthy with Jrue Holiday returning. The Pelicans are going to be a threat. The chemistry will build over this season, ending with them reaching the playoffs as a 7th or 8th seed, enjoy Pelican fans!

*Photo via USA Today

-By Kory Waldron

#nba #prediction