Suns vs Pelicans tonight at 7pm PST on Fox Sports Arizona! How freaking good is Anthony Davis?

Ryan McDonough is inarguably a better GM than Dell Demps of the New Orleans Pelicans. Demps is responsible for the Pelicans paying Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holliday, and Eric Gordon over $52 million this season. He is the reason the Pelicans did not have a draft pick last year in the lottery and he is the reason they won’t have one this year, most likely in the lottery.

Demps is the reason Anthony Davis was drafted along with point guard of the future Austin Rivers in 2012, and he is the reason Anthony Davis is not currently joined by Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt. In 2013 Demps opted to trade Noel for Jrue Holliday immediately after drafting him. Instead of Davis and Noel dominating for the next decade-- keep in mind the two of them combine for a wingspan over 15 feet long-- Noel is hanging out in Philadelphia doing 76er things. Dell Demps still has a job.

Despite the fact that New Orleans has employed one of the worst GMs in basketball for the past five seasons its fan base really has nothing to fear. Anthony Davis is on track to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, barring injury. This month since coming back from shoulder problems Davis has averaged 29.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. This season Anthony Davis averages 4.3 blocks/steals per game combined. He is shooting 54.2% from the field and 83% from the free throw line, where he makes 6.6 trips per game.

Dell Demps drafted Anthony Davis first overall in 2012 in a draft where all 30 GMs would have made the exact same pick with the first overall selection.  The New Orleans Pelicans and Dell Demps have made mistakes recently, but none of it really matters. Because of Bird Rights Davis may spend the next decade in NOLA, and Anthony Davis is a mistake eraser. Davis is a reason to tank. A true franchise savior in every way. Anthony Davis is a nightmare for anybody he plays against who knows they can’t match his length and agility, and a nightmare for GMs like Ryan McDonough who know none of their hard work will matter if they can’t find someone 70% this talented.

Suns vs Pelicans tonight! IF THE SUNS WIN MAYBE DELL DEMPS WILL GET FIRED! But what do the others think…

What Vegas Thinks: Close Call (Suns -1, O/U 207.5)

According to Vegas the number of points separating these two teams tonight is unlikely to surpass the number of eyebrow the Pelicans’ star player possesses. This spread would probably be larger in the Suns favor if Alex Len were likely to be playing. Despite New Orleans having a 2 game advantage and coming into this game with more momentum than Phoenix the Pelicans have been a sub-.500 team on the road all season. However, without Len the Suns are likely to matchup against The Brow with Markieff Morris and Brandan Wright, both of who are likely to be lit up by Davis in the post and on the wing. However, the Suns have far more to work with in terms of players 2 thru 9 and even Davis has not played nearly as well away from the Smoothie King Center… yes that is the arena’s real name in New Orleans. A 1-point spread is nothing to get excited about as it is basically a toss-up, but it is indicative of how much these injuries are hurting Phoenix. This game would tilt strong toward the Suns if their ankles were made of titanium.

What the National Media Thinks: MVP?

This year’s MVP race is without a doubt the closest in a very long time and one of the most crowded. Anthony Davis may be its greatest casualty. Davis has a good chance of having a better stat line than any other fifth place finisher in votes in the league’s history. In 2006, Steve Nash’s second straight MVP season, Chauncey Billups finished fifth place in the MVP voting with 18.5 ppg and 8.6 assists. Billups shot 41.8% from the field and although his defense was always strong, it certainly wasn’t MVP level. In 2015, Davis is likely to finish in 5th place in the MVP voting behind Curry, Harden, James, and Westbrook. An argument could be made that many seasons, including those Nash years, Davis’s would be enough to win the MVP race by a decent margin even on a team who will be an 8th seed at best, and likely not a playoff team at all.

For good reason the national media is obsessed with this year’s MVP race. Recently Anthony Davis has grabbed the torch as the guy everybody thinks should be in the MVP race but isn’t really in the MVP race and so 150 media writers do pieces about how Anthony Davis should be in the MVP race. The same article has been written every single year about Chris Paul, and is written every single year if LeBron isn’t the favorite. We truly have reached the dog days of the season, even for media members, and these pieces get clicks. Ken Berger of CBS Sports is one of the writers who did a piece like this, and his is my favorite so it is the one I will reward with a hyperlink. If you want a strong look at how insane it is that Davis isn’t likely to finish top 3 in this year’s voting, go ahead and give it a read.

What Pelicans Fans Think: Fire Monty!

Boy, I knew Pelicans fans were not big on Monty Williams, nor should they be, but I was surprised to see this from The Bird Writes—incredible SB Nation name by the way—writer Kyle Gahagan. Apparently things have gotten so bad that New Orleans fans are interested in reading about NCAA coaches who should take over. Keep in mind this team is a game out of the playoffs and coming up on a stretch of games that determines their season. I have to give his list credit because Gahagan’s top candidate is Sean Miller, and as an ASU fan there is nothing I would love more than Miller exiting my life forever. What he has been able to do at U of A is remarkable even by their standards, however the rest of the list is unremarkable. Pitino is a retread whose strength lies in recruiting, not teaching. Tony Bennett has had a couple great years in Virginia, but I wouldn’t peg him as ready for an NBA gig yet. Beilein has as a bad season for every two good seasons at Michigan, and far more good seasons than great ones. Billy Donovan is an interesting name, and probably the only name on the list that would consider the job, but I’m not ready to hand him the reigns to the youngest super-duper star in the NBA yet. Donovan is more suited for a team like Orlando or Philadelphia, where his entire team is young and can be improved upon.

If the Pelicans fire Williams at the end of the season, which they most certainly will, and the Bulls fire Thibs, much less certain but very possible, then he should be the only name on their list. As a matter of fact, if Thibs is not the coach of the Bulls OR Pelicans next year then the commissioner should veto the move and make Thibs coach New Orleans. This sort of thing has precedent.

Also, I heard Lindsey Hunter is available? Trust me New Orleans, you would love him! HUNTER FOR NOLA 2015!

Suns vs Pelicans tonight at 7pm PST on Fox Sports Arizona! How freaking good is Anthony Davis?

Ryan McDonough is inarguably a better GM than Dell Demps of the New Orleans Pelicans. Demps is responsible for the Pelicans paying Omer Asik, Tyreke Evans, Ryan Anderson, Jrue Holliday, and Eric Gordon over $52 million this season. He is the reason the Pelicans did not have a draft pick last year in the lottery and he is the reason they won’t have one this year, most likely in the lottery.

Demps is the reason Anthony Davis was drafted along with point guard of the future Austin Rivers in 2012, and he is the reason Anthony Davis is not currently joined by Nerlens Noel in the frontcourt. In 2013 Demps opted to trade Noel for Jrue Holliday immediately after drafting him. Instead of Davis and Noel dominating for the next decade-- keep in mind the two of them combine for a wingspan over 15 feet long-- Noel is hanging out in Philadelphia doing 76er things. Dell Demps still has a job.

Despite the fact that New Orleans has employed one of the worst GMs in basketball for the past five seasons its fan base really has nothing to fear. Anthony Davis is on track to be one of the greatest basketball players of all time, barring injury. This month since coming back from shoulder problems Davis has averaged 29.3 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. This season Anthony Davis averages 4.3 blocks/steals per game combined. He is shooting 54.2% from the field and 83% from the free throw line, where he makes 6.6 trips per game.

Dell Demps drafted Anthony Davis first overall in 2012 in a draft where all 30 GMs would have made the exact same pick with the first overall selection.  The New Orleans Pelicans and Dell Demps have made mistakes recently, but none of it really matters. Because of Bird Rights Davis may spend the next decade in NOLA, and Anthony Davis is a mistake eraser. Davis is a reason to tank. A true franchise savior in every way. Anthony Davis is a nightmare for anybody he plays against who knows they can’t match his length and agility, and a nightmare for GMs like Ryan McDonough who know none of their hard work will matter if they can’t find someone 70% this talented.

Suns vs Pelicans tonight! IF THE SUNS WIN MAYBE DELL DEMPS WILL GET FIRED! But what do the others think…

What Vegas Thinks: Close Call (Suns -1, O/U 207.5)

According to Vegas the number of points separating these two teams tonight is unlikely to surpass the number of eyebrow the Pelicans’ star player possesses. This spread would probably be larger in the Suns favor if Alex Len were likely to be playing. Despite New Orleans having a 2 game advantage and coming into this game with more momentum than Phoenix the Pelicans have been a sub-.500 team on the road all season. However, without Len the Suns are likely to matchup against The Brow with Markieff Morris and Brandan Wright, both of who are likely to be lit up by Davis in the post and on the wing. However, the Suns have far more to work with in terms of players 2 thru 9 and even Davis has not played nearly as well away from the Smoothie King Center… yes that is the arena’s real name in New Orleans. A 1-point spread is nothing to get excited about as it is basically a toss-up, but it is indicative of how much these injuries are hurting Phoenix. This game would tilt strong toward the Suns if their ankles were made of titanium.

What the National Media Thinks: MVP?

This year’s MVP race is without a doubt the closest in a very long time and one of the most crowded. Anthony Davis may be its greatest casualty. Davis has a good chance of having a better stat line than any other fifth place finisher in votes in the league’s history. In 2006, Steve Nash’s second straight MVP season, Chauncey Billups finished fifth place in the MVP voting with 18.5 ppg and 8.6 assists. Billups shot 41.8% from the field and although his defense was always strong, it certainly wasn’t MVP level. In 2015, Davis is likely to finish in 5th place in the MVP voting behind Curry, Harden, James, and Westbrook. An argument could be made that many seasons, including those Nash years, Davis’s would be enough to win the MVP race by a decent margin even on a team who will be an 8th seed at best, and likely not a playoff team at all.

For good reason the national media is obsessed with this year’s MVP race. Recently Anthony Davis has grabbed the torch as the guy everybody thinks should be in the MVP race but isn’t really in the MVP race and so 150 media writers do pieces about how Anthony Davis should be in the MVP race. The same article has been written every single year about Chris Paul, and is written every single year if LeBron isn’t the favorite. We truly have reached the dog days of the season, even for media members, and these pieces get clicks. Ken Berger of CBS Sports is one of the writers who did a piece like this, and his is my favorite so it is the one I will reward with a hyperlink. If you want a strong look at how insane it is that Davis isn’t likely to finish top 3 in this year’s voting, go ahead and give it a read.

What Pelicans Fans Think: Fire Monty!

Boy, I knew Pelicans fans were not big on Monty Williams, nor should they be, but I was surprised to see this from The Bird Writes—incredible SB Nation name by the way—writer Kyle Gahagan. Apparently things have gotten so bad that New Orleans fans are interested in reading about NCAA coaches who should take over. Keep in mind this team is a game out of the playoffs and coming up on a stretch of games that determines their season. I have to give his list credit because Gahagan’s top candidate is Sean Miller, and as an ASU fan there is nothing I would love more than Miller exiting my life forever. What he has been able to do at U of A is remarkable even by their standards, however the rest of the list is unremarkable. Pitino is a retread whose strength lies in recruiting, not teaching. Tony Bennett has had a couple great years in Virginia, but I wouldn’t peg him as ready for an NBA gig yet. Beilein has as a bad season for every two good seasons at Michigan, and far more good seasons than great ones. Billy Donovan is an interesting name, and probably the only name on the list that would consider the job, but I’m not ready to hand him the reigns to the youngest super-duper star in the NBA yet. Donovan is more suited for a team like Orlando or Philadelphia, where his entire team is young and can be improved upon.

If the Pelicans fire Williams at the end of the season, which they most certainly will, and the Bulls fire Thibs, much less certain but very possible, then he should be the only name on their list. As a matter of fact, if Thibs is not the coach of the Bulls OR Pelicans next year then the commissioner should veto the move and make Thibs coach New Orleans. This sort of thing has precedent.

Also, I heard Lindsey Hunter is available? Trust me New Orleans, you would love him! HUNTER FOR NOLA 2015!

On Throwback Thursday, the Phoenix Suns face off against one of the youngest NBA franchises who are already wearing their inaugural jerseys.

It's Throwback Thursday for the Phoenix Suns tonight, where they are even offering huge discounts to fill up the stadium against a playoff hopeful.

Fans will enjoy throwback ticket prices starting at just $8, the same price that fans paid during head coach Jeff Hornacek's final season (1991-92) as a member of the Suns. Tickets are available at Suns.com/throwback.

Food and beverage items will also be discounted to similar prices from that era, including $2 hot dogs, soda and popcorn, which will be available at concessions throughout the arena.

The Suns will also feature an old-school feel during in-game entertainment, across its digital and broadcast platforms, and on select merchandise in the Suns Team Shop.

--Suns.com

There's been no mention of the coach or players wearing the short shorts from back in that era.

The arena should be sold out tonight thanks to that, and with the New Orleans Pelicans as the opponent the crowd should be 90+% Suns fans. Could be a real good night to show the team we can make it a home court advantage.

Al McCoy will be calling the game on the radio, just as he was doing back in 1991-92.

Details

  • What: Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
  • When: 7:00 PM
  • TV: FoxSports Arizona
  • Radio: ArizonaSports 98.7 FM


The Pelicans

The team who threatened to fumble their golden opportunity to build a championship contender around The Brow has risen steadily in the power rankings this year, and even built up momentum when Anthony Davis was out of the lineup for two weeks.

And this with stretch-four Ryan Anderson and combo guard Eric Gordon having underwhelming impact, and former All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday on the shelf for months with injury.

How are the Pelicans still in this thing, threatening to make the playoffs ahead of the Thunder?

One big factor has been Tyreke Evans, the former NBA Rookie of the Year who languished off the ball in Sacramento, and even New Orleans last year. But this year, he's been given the opportunity to run the show a lot with Holiday out of the lineup, and has positively flourished.

Evans has put up 16.8 points, 6.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game this season. Those are Eric Bledsoe numbers. Where Evans comes up short of Bledsoe, though, is on the defensive end. New Orleans, overall, plays really poor defense. They just make up for it on the offensive end and with clutch shooting.

Evans has always been best as the primary ball handler, despite his poor decision making that forced him off the ball in Sacramento. Now this season in New Orleans has to be considered the best of Evans' career.

Add in all the playable talent found overseas and in the D-League by GM Dell Demps, and you've got a recipe for unexpected success in NOLA even when Anthony Davis was out.

But ultimately, this is Anthony Davis' team. The Brow is just 21 years old, putting up 25 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and a sprinkle of everything else on a nightly basis. It's just crazy how good this kid is.

Check out more on the Pelicans at our SB Nation brother site The Bird Writes

The Suns

First things first: Alex Len and Brandon Knight won't play on Thursday night unless their ankles perform miracles.

On Throwback Thursday, the Suns trot out young players of the future.

One of those players no longer considered young (even though he is) is Eric Bledsoe. He's taken a lot of heat this season because he's not a pure pass-first point guard and has many too many turnovers for most people's liking. Some even blame him for the trade deadline, that the Suns picked the wrong player to build around.

However, Bledsoe has heaped that pressure onto his shoulders this season as the primary ballhandler and produced an all-around season only topped by MVP candidates. Sure, some point guards are better shooters. Some are better passers. Some are better defenders. But very few are better at so many facets of the game of the basketball.

Let's give Bledsoe some throwback love going forward. Phoenix fans love affable underdogs, but we should root for Bledsoe anyway. He's not the most amiable, or affable, or eloquent interview out there. And, as an incredible athlete, he's not an underdog.

But in a way, Bledsoe IS an underdog. He's often the shortest guy on the court and he's uncomfortable being the main scoring option. And he struggles with his words when the cameras are in his face.

Let's adopt Bledsoe as the misunderstood but lovable pitbull, and watch his future unfold as one of the best players in the NBA.

The Lineups

The Suns are missing two starters, while the Pelicans are missing a couple of key players as well (Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson)

suns-pellies-lineups

Out on a limb

With Anthony Davis and Omer Asik in the starting lineup, you'd think the Pellies rim protection is top notch. But alas, it's no where close to that.

Opponents MAKE more shots at the rim against the Pelicans (13.5 per game) than against any other NBA team. The Suns are 4th worst, allowing 12.6 per game. The Pellies and Suns give up the most opponents attempts at the rim too, with the Pellies actually worse by a wide margin (25.9 attempts allowed vs. 23.8).

The key for the Suns will be to attack the rim. They cannot let the Pellies off the hook by taking jumper after jumper.

With Len out, the Suns will need to force the Pellies to bench Asik by playing small. That would shift The Brow to center against Markieff Morris, making Keef's life difficult but opening up the floor for the other guys.

Interested in playing Daily Fantasy Basketball with the chance to win money? Sign up for FanDuel here! You can bet on Eric Bledsoe filling the stat sheet for the Suns and on Anthony Davis doing the same for the Pellies.

Prediction

Gonna be a tough game for the Suns, just like all the others for the rest of the season. Let's hope they have a renaissance night on Throwback Thursday and find a way to put another tick mark in the win column.

Suns by 4.

On Throwback Thursday, the Phoenix Suns face off against one of the youngest NBA franchises who are already wearing their inaugural jerseys.

It's Throwback Thursday for the Phoenix Suns tonight, where they are even offering huge discounts to fill up the stadium against a playoff hopeful.

Fans will enjoy throwback ticket prices starting at just $8, the same price that fans paid during head coach Jeff Hornacek's final season (1991-92) as a member of the Suns. Tickets are available at Suns.com/throwback.

Food and beverage items will also be discounted to similar prices from that era, including $2 hot dogs, soda and popcorn, which will be available at concessions throughout the arena.

The Suns will also feature an old-school feel during in-game entertainment, across its digital and broadcast platforms, and on select merchandise in the Suns Team Shop.

--Suns.com

There's been no mention of the coach or players wearing the short shorts from back in that era.

The arena should be sold out tonight thanks to that, and with the New Orleans Pelicans as the opponent the crowd should be 90+% Suns fans. Could be a real good night to show the team we can make it a home court advantage.

Al McCoy will be calling the game on the radio, just as he was doing back in 1991-92.

Details

  • What: Phoenix Suns vs. New Orleans Pelicans
  • Where: US Airways Center, Phoenix, Arizona
  • When: 7:00 PM
  • TV: FoxSports Arizona
  • Radio: ArizonaSports 98.7 FM


The Pelicans

The team who threatened to fumble their golden opportunity to build a championship contender around The Brow has risen steadily in the power rankings this year, and even built up momentum when Anthony Davis was out of the lineup for two weeks.

And this with stretch-four Ryan Anderson and combo guard Eric Gordon having underwhelming impact, and former All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday on the shelf for months with injury.

How are the Pelicans still in this thing, threatening to make the playoffs ahead of the Thunder?

One big factor has been Tyreke Evans, the former NBA Rookie of the Year who languished off the ball in Sacramento, and even New Orleans last year. But this year, he's been given the opportunity to run the show a lot with Holiday out of the lineup, and has positively flourished.

Evans has put up 16.8 points, 6.5 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game this season. Those are Eric Bledsoe numbers. Where Evans comes up short of Bledsoe, though, is on the defensive end. New Orleans, overall, plays really poor defense. They just make up for it on the offensive end and with clutch shooting.

Evans has always been best as the primary ball handler, despite his poor decision making that forced him off the ball in Sacramento. Now this season in New Orleans has to be considered the best of Evans' career.

Add in all the playable talent found overseas and in the D-League by GM Dell Demps, and you've got a recipe for unexpected success in NOLA even when Anthony Davis was out.

But ultimately, this is Anthony Davis' team. The Brow is just 21 years old, putting up 25 points, 11 rebounds, 3 blocks and a sprinkle of everything else on a nightly basis. It's just crazy how good this kid is.

Check out more on the Pelicans at our SB Nation brother site The Bird Writes

The Suns

First things first: Alex Len and Brandon Knight won't play on Thursday night unless their ankles perform miracles.

On Throwback Thursday, the Suns trot out young players of the future.

One of those players no longer considered young (even though he is) is Eric Bledsoe. He's taken a lot of heat this season because he's not a pure pass-first point guard and has many too many turnovers for most people's liking. Some even blame him for the trade deadline, that the Suns picked the wrong player to build around.

However, Bledsoe has heaped that pressure onto his shoulders this season as the primary ballhandler and produced an all-around season only topped by MVP candidates. Sure, some point guards are better shooters. Some are better passers. Some are better defenders. But very few are better at so many facets of the game of the basketball.

Let's give Bledsoe some throwback love going forward. Phoenix fans love affable underdogs, but we should root for Bledsoe anyway. He's not the most amiable, or affable, or eloquent interview out there. And, as an incredible athlete, he's not an underdog.

But in a way, Bledsoe IS an underdog. He's often the shortest guy on the court and he's uncomfortable being the main scoring option. And he struggles with his words when the cameras are in his face.

Let's adopt Bledsoe as the misunderstood but lovable pitbull, and watch his future unfold as one of the best players in the NBA.

The Lineups

The Suns are missing two starters, while the Pelicans are missing a couple of key players as well (Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson)

suns-pellies-lineups

Out on a limb

With Anthony Davis and Omer Asik in the starting lineup, you'd think the Pellies rim protection is top notch. But alas, it's no where close to that.

Opponents MAKE more shots at the rim against the Pelicans (13.5 per game) than against any other NBA team. The Suns are 4th worst, allowing 12.6 per game. The Pellies and Suns give up the most opponents attempts at the rim too, with the Pellies actually worse by a wide margin (25.9 attempts allowed vs. 23.8).

The key for the Suns will be to attack the rim. They cannot let the Pellies off the hook by taking jumper after jumper.

With Len out, the Suns will need to force the Pellies to bench Asik by playing small. That would shift The Brow to center against Markieff Morris, making Keef's life difficult but opening up the floor for the other guys.

Interested in playing Daily Fantasy Basketball with the chance to win money? Sign up for FanDuel here! You can bet on Eric Bledsoe filling the stat sheet for the Suns and on Anthony Davis doing the same for the Pellies.

Prediction

Gonna be a tough game for the Suns, just like all the others for the rest of the season. Let's hope they have a renaissance night on Throwback Thursday and find a way to put another tick mark in the win column.

Suns by 4.

The Phoenix Suns are on the outside of the playoff picture looking in. They sit three games behind the Oklahoma City Thunder and 2.5 games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth seed in the...

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