NBA Future Power Rankings 6. New Orleans Pelicans
*Photo via USA Today
Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans finished last season sneaking into the postseason and losing to the eventual champion, Golden State Warriors in the first round. The organization fired Monty Williams and brought in Alvin Gentry to lead Davis and this roster into the future, which we think is pretty bright.
Davis, who will be making a legit argument as the best player in the league soon, signed a 5-year, $145 million extension this summer. With him locked up long term, you want a bruiser down low to protect your MVP, and the Pelicans did just that, locking up Omer Asik for five more seasons.
Former All-Star, Jrue Holiday and the 2009-10 Rookie of the Year, Tyreke Evans are under contract for two more years and core pieces, Eric Gordon and Ryan Anderson will be free agents next summer. The front office will have major roster decisions the next two seasons. These four have around $60 million due to them the next two years, and New Orleans may be able to find a better way to spend their money.
One thing, in addition to roster turnover, that is worrisome for the Pels are injuries. Just about every rotation player has missed stretches the last couple of seasons, including Davis. With this relatively young roster being bit by the injury bug already, their potential may not be realized.
*Photo via USA Today
So why are they ranked so high with all of these concerns? Anthony Davis.
Davis is a once in a generation talent who, if healthy, will duke it out with Kevin Durant for best player in the league honors in the next three to four years. He’s only 22, which makes his ceiling incredibly high. He could also have the “LeBron effect,” where players are willing to take less to play with him. He’s special.
New Orleans likely won’t keep all four players who are set to be free agents in the next couple of seasons, which means they will have cap space. They have also kept all of the first round selections during upcoming drafts which can be used as trade bait or use to draft a solid number two option. This team might look different going forward, but Davis will be the centerpiece, and it’d be foolish not to think he won’t reach his Hall of Fame potential and take New Orleans to the top.
Future draft commitments and rosters information courtesy of RealGM.com