The beginning of things -- a vacation, a relationship, a job -- is often the best part. After a few days or a few months or a few years, human nature creeps in, glossing over the things you loved at the start and focusing on what isn't so loveable. It's a shoddy thing, that human nature. You shouldn't lose appreciation for something wonderful just because time has past, yet here we are.
That hasn't happened with Anthony Davis. There's still a young love that exists there, an appreciation for the limitless talent he seems to possess. LeBron James isn't appreciated like he was in 2006 when every rumbling freight train of a drive down the lane could cause eyes to pop or a mouth to drop. Michael Jordan has mostly been reduced to a tearful meme on Twitter, although yeah, he probably deserves that one. But Anthony Davis, a legitimate usurper to the "best basketball player in the world" throne, hasn't been dwelling in our subconscious long enough to dismiss his superhuman feats as expectations.
If there's any reason to watch the New Orleans Pelicans this year, it's that. Anthony Davis, his growth, his newness, is why you should flip them on ... ideally not only when they're playing the Mavericks! But even if you only catch them against Dallas, my spiel will stay the same. Here's some information you should know.
Saturday, Nov. 7 vs. New Orleans (second night of a back-to-back for NOLA)
Tuesday, Nov. 10 at New Orleans
Saturday, Jan. 2 vs. New Orleans (second night of a back-to-back for Dallas)
Wednesday, Jan. 6 at New Orleans (second night of a back-to-back for Dallas)
How have the Pelicans changed this summer?
New Orleans had a remarkably small amount of player turnover. Alonzo Gee joined the team, sure, and Kendrick Perkins is ostensibly going to backup Kendrick Perkins in some manner, but we'll see how that actually works out. No, no, the one change the Pels made had nothing to do with players.
Out is Monty Williams, a good ol' boy who promoted a healthy locker room but struggled a bit when presented with the precise X's and O's. In is Alvin Gentry, who has a surprisingly average track record thus far in the NBA but is undoubtedly a talented offensive mind. In is Darren Erman, who might be the perfect person to overhaul the bloated NOLA defense of yesteryear, hired on to Gentry's staff.
The players are generally the same, although perhaps less injury riddled than last season, and the key differences will be how they're coached. If Gentry lives up to the hype, that may be more impactful than any
What is the Mavericks' biggest challenge playing the Pelicans?
Well, there's Anthony Davis, all-NBA player, who can dunk anything thrown in the general vicinity of the rim and might shoot three-pointers this season. And then there's Anthony Davis guarded by Zaza Pachulia, which is ...
welp there's no need to finish that sentence
What is the Pelicans' biggest challenge against the Mavericks?
Especially with small lineups, the Mavericks will likely create open three-pointers at will against the Pelicans. Omer Asik can be taken advantage of and his smaller backups aren't too much better defensively.
Which game against the Pelicans will be craziest and why?
The schedule against the Pelicans is structured very strangely, with both games within days of each other. The Jan. 2 will be the craziest, though. Still rocking a headache from drinking entirely too much Fireball on New Year's Eve, you'll stumble into the living room and watch as the Mavericks sleepwalk through the first half and trail by 12 points at halftime. In the third quarter, a healthy Wesley Matthews will bury five three-pointers and you will rise from your delirium to worship him for his beautiful shotmaking. Up three points with seven seconds left, Tyreke Evans misses a three-pointer but Davis, of course, puts it back in while being fouled by JaVale McGee to send the game into overtime. You sink back on your couch as Norris Cole scores, like, eight straight points off stupid ass layups. The Mavericks lose. You remember your stupid headache.