You have to wonder if New Orleans Pelicans GM Dell Demps and their head coach, Alvin Gentry, have ever seen Kevin Smith’s 1999 comedy, “Dogma.” In it, the Catholic Church is trying to rejuvenate its, if you will, fan base. The Church has decided that the crucifix is too depressing so they introduce a new character…Buddy Christ.
See where I’m going with this?
The New Orleans Pelicans would have to agree that their 2015-16 campaign was too depressing. The Pelicans flailed out of the gate with one win in their first 12 games, and the season quickly became an afterthought. And, because you truly have to be God-awful to ever be out of the NBA playoff hunt, whenever it felt like the Pelicans could make a move into the eighth spot of the playoffs, another injury would surface, and the Pels limped to a 30-win snoozer of a season. So, to rejuvenate their fan base, the Pelicans introduced (drafted) a new character (player)…Buddy Hield.
OK, fine. I don’t think the Pelicans base their draft strategy on turn of the century so-so comedies, but the selection of Hield has rejuvenated the city’s hopes to get back to the playoffs. Hield, the Bahamas-born 6-foot 4-inch shooting guard from the University of Oklahoma (sounds weird, I know), seems to be a perfect fit for the Pelicans, and could contribute right away in what will hopefully be a more effective wide-open attack.
Hield absolutely lit up the college ranks in his senior year (yes, they still have seniors in college). Not only did Hield average 25 points a game for the Sooners, but he did it by making over half of his shots attempted (50.1 percent), including hitting 45.7 percent from the three-point arc. In a league not known for playing lock-down defense on a nightly basis, Hield could put up big numbers in his rookie campaign. And, better yet, take some pressure off Anthony Davis. Oddly enough, Davis – who will be entering his fifth NBA campaign – is only nine months older than Hield.
The Pelicans have more work to do, and next season will be a rebrand. GM Demps will hit the free agency market looking for a new small forward, and some familiar faces (Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson) will move on to other, if not greener, pastures. But, with the injury-plagued buzz kill of a season that the city just endured, that could be seen as a good thing. The gold rush known as NBA free agency begins this Friday.
And like a fine wine with a steak dinner, every tough decision should be accompanied by a beverage and song.
Beer Pairing: Urban South’s “Charming Wit”
Playlist Recommendation: Kurtis Blow – “Basketball”
Around the Way
Speaking of off-season, the world’s most popular off-season begins at the end of July, as the all-powerful NFL continues its world domination, with its 32 teams reporting to camp. The Saints report to camp on July 27. With the recent devastating flooding of Greenbrier, West Virginia, rumors are flying that the Saints will hold camp at their complex in Metairie, but as reported by ProFootballTalk.com on Monday, the Saints still plan to head north to Greenbrier. Here are some online options if you would like to help out those families in need in the Greenbrier area – UnitedWayGreenbrier.org Flood Relief campaign and the Catholic Charities of West Virginia Flood Relief. Thank you.
How ‘bout those New Orleans Po’Boys? I mean New Orleans Zephyrs, but that has to be the name everyone is going to pick, right? In case you don’t live in New Orleans, or do – but have been living inside a sinkhole for the past couple months – the Zephyrs management has decided to rebrand the team for the 2016-17 season and beyond. The promotion to gather new team names has produced a list that…is interesting. No, there’s no, “Teamy McTeamface,” on the list, but that may be welcomed by some at this point. Go vote here if you would like, or leave a comment below on what you entered and/or what you would like it to be. Me personally – I think the team should be called either the, “New Orleans Jazz Men,” or the, “Daiq City 190 Octane.” But, I’m a traditionalist.
It’s officially summertime, folks. That’s what my air conditioner keeps telling me, anyway. Most team sport seasons have wound down, but the athletes are still on the track and field. Congratulations to Tulane’s Jasmine Blocker – who was named First Team All-American. Blocker, a senior from Great Neck, New York, finished in the top eight with a time of 53.14 seconds in the 400-meter dash at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.
And, a major belated congratulations to the Xavier University Men’s Tennis team and NAIA Men’s Coach of the Year, Alan Green. Coach Green, a native New Orleanian, led the Gold Rush into the NAIA finals. The Rush fell to Georgia Gwinnett, but became the first Xavier team ever, in any sport, to reach an NAIA final. Kyle Montrel, Thomas Setodji, and Karan Salwan were named First-team All-Americans.