Could the 2013-14 season be the year of the pelican? New Orleans Pelicans fans certainly hope so, but the success of the season hinges upon the health of their backcourt, particularly guards Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans.
Gordon was only able to play 51 out of 162 games for the then-Hornets the last two seasons. Nonetheless, when he was on the floor, the 6-foot-4 Indiana University product was an effective scorer, putting up 20.6 points per game in the 2011-12 season and 17 points per game in the 2012-13 season.
Gordon hopes that the recent mascot change from the Hornets to the Pelicans also signifies a rebirth of his NBA career—notably, a return to health. Thus far, his body isn’t telling him otherwise.
“I feel fine and I just want to be solid,’’ said Gordon. “I want to keep on progressing. The main thing at the end of the day is just staying healthy. The more I stay healthy, I will be productive.”
The same can be said about Evans, who the Pelicans obtained from the Sacramento Kings in a three-team deal. Through four seasons with the Kings, Evans averaged 17.5 points per game and should provide the Pelicans bench with some necessary offensive firepower.
Evans’ health status took a turn for the worse when he sprained his ankle during the Pelicans’ October 5 preseason opener against the Houston Rockets. Evans missed the last five preseason games, but he says he’s progressing in his recovery.
“I feel much better and I’m starting to do more things and move around better,’’ said Evans. “I’m just taking it a day at a time. With an ankle injury, you think you’re good and then you go back out there and twist it again. I just don’t want that to happen.”
The Pelicans have started the preseason 6-0 after defeating the Washington Wizards 93-89 last Saturday at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Although the NBA preseason is not a prime indicator for success during the regular season, it’s a positive sign that the Pelicans are pushing to be back in playoff contention, but Gordon and Evans must stay healthy.