In the tough Western conference, the tough start the New Orleans Pelicans are having might be a death blow to their playoff hopes. Tyreke Evans still hasn’t played a single game this season, and his return might be the final piece of the puzzle to try and erase everything wrong that happened in the early goings of the season.
Evans averaged 16.6 points and 6.6 assists per game last season, helping the Pelicans make the playoffs for the first time without Chris Paul as part of the team (still the Hornets then). Anthony Davis not playing didn’t help as the Pelicans lost 11 of their first 12 games, making it a very rough welcome for a new head coach, Alvin Gentry, who usually does better when he’s an assistant as something of an offensive coordinator.
The return of Davis has helped the Pelicans get back on track, winning their last two games against the San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns. But even if Davis is going to improve under Gentry as the two of them have been talking about and hoping, missing a central piece like Evans makes it almost impossible in the long run to get back into a position of competing for a playoff spot.
He just went through a regular practice. We’ll see what happens post-practice now, but but he seems to think that he’s fine and feeling good. We’ll go again tomorrow and we’ll see how shootaround goes and then we’ll determine what our course of action would be from there.
The Pelicans have another game against the Suns coming up. Evans might be ready to play against them, being out of action for over a month since undergoing minor surgery on his knee. The biggest problem thus far for the Pelicans has been defense, giving up almost 109 points per game, worst in the league. Evans isn’t much of a defender, but sometimes the best way to counter that is being more efficient and successful offensively, something Gentry was brought in to make happen.