Tip Off: 8:00 p.m. EST
The NBA franchises in Charlotte and New Orleans will always be linked. First Charlotte had the Hornets, then the Hornets moved to New Orleans. Then the New Orleans Hornets became the Pelicans and gave birth (I can only assume, although genetic mutation seems more likely) to Pierre the Pelican and thus years of nightmares for the children of the NBA. Now neither city has the Hornets, until the Hornets return to Charlotte next season. So this season will be the only time these two teams play when neither is the Hornets. Names are fun.
New Orleans leapfrogged the Bobcats in the 2012 NBA Draft and selected Anthony Davis with the number one overall pick. Davis is already very good and he's going to be an All-Star eventually, likely sooner rather than later. Is he the franchise-changing ultra superstar? Maybe. Maybe not, but he's the franchise guy and if he does become that player some predicted, no one will be surprised. To do so he'll need to hone his offensive game, namely develop a reliable mid-range jumper. He scored 20 point and grabbed 12 rebounds on opening night, using his quickness to fly past David West on the dribble and finish at the rim.
Reminder: Eric Gordon is very good, especially when he's healthy. But Gordon isn't always healthy. He's never played in every game of an 82-game season, only 42 games last season, and nine the season before. The problem for the Bobcats, however, is that he's very healthy now. He can be one of the more dynamic scoring guards in the league when firing on all cylinders. He's a 20 PPG scorer and shoots close to 50 percent on all two-point baskets. He can score, and does.
By pairing Gordon with All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans have one of the top backcourt duos in the league. Even if perhaps a bit undersized (cut to Bobcats: "Ok!") the diminutive duo can score 20 a piece. In Holiday, New Orleans has a fast (from end to end) and quick (from side to side) point guard who can set the table for everyone else as well. So staying with these two guards will be imperative for Kemba Walker, Gerald Henderson, Ramon Sessions and the lot. If Henderson can go into the post by all means he should. Although Gordon is stout, Henderson has maybe an inch or two on him and should be able to shoot over him.
Tyreke Evans joins the backcourt Pelicans party off the bench, giving New Orleans depth and more talent when the starters rest up. Ryan Anderson, another three-point specialist, will not be a worry for the Bobcats tonight as he is out 1-3 weeks with an injured toe on his right foot.
For the second night in a row, the Bobcats face a test in a team that's a good measuring stick for the young club. Charlotte will need Henderson to shoot better, and for Al Jefferson to get in shape down low if he suits up. Davis is going to be a tough cover for a lot of teams so it will be interesting/potentially painful to see which Bobcat is charged with staying in front of him.