Updates from Wednesday, April 16
John Reid of NOLA.com has the latest on Eric Gordon's injured knee:
Pelicans general manager says Eric Gordon undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery today.— John Reid (@JohnReid64) April 16, 2014
The 2013-14 NBA season was supposed to be better for the New Orleans Pelicans. The team had traded for Jrue Holiday, Anthony Davis was a burgeoning star and Eric Gordon rounded out what appeared to be a very strong young nucleus.
Playoffs were on the team's mind. Instead, the Pelicans struggled all year and likely won't finish out the season on a high note, as both Davis and Gordon are done for the season.
The team announced the news on Thursday, via a press release on NBA.com:
The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward/center Anthony Davis (back spasms) and guard Eric Gordon (left knee) will miss the remainder of the season.
Davis was examined by team physicians, who determined that his injury will require 1-2 weeks of rest and rehabilitation.
Gordon will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his left knee next week and is expected to make a full recovery.
The Pelicans are currently 32-46 and in last place in the Southwest Division. The playoffs long ago became an afterthought.
Still, Davis wasn't the reason for that. He averaged 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game, improving dramatically from his rookie season, especially on the offensive end. And he might just be the NBA's next great superstar, as Zach Lowe of Grantland wrote in early April:
People around the league don’t know what to make of him anymore. They are just terrified, especially after having watched Davis average 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and three blocks per game on 55 percent shooting over a 10-game stretch in March—a period during which he turned 21 freaking years old. He’s already fourth overall in Player Efficiency Rating, behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Kevin Love. His game has so many elements on both ends of the floor, it’s going to take years for the Pelicans to figure out the optimal uses and roster construction for him. It’s hard to decide what someone is best at when the answer might be 'everything.'
While Gordon managed to stay healthier than in years past, he averaged a career-low 15.4 points per game. Part of that surely was the ascendance of Davis and the addition of another quality player in Holiday—Gordon's 12.8 shots per game was his lowest since the 2009-10 season—but overall, it wasn't the strongest year from the shooting guard.
At this point, Pelicans fans are probably hoping the team loses out and increases its chances at earning a top pick in the draft. While the team traded its 2014 first-round selection a year ago to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Holiday trade, the pick is top-five protected, meaning the Pelicans could yet hold on to the selection and add a talented young player depending on how the lottery plays out.
Surely, the thought of adding a top prospect to a group including Davis, Gordon, Holiday, Ryan Anderson (who played just 22 games due to injury) and Tyreke Evans has to be exciting for New Orleans fans.
It was a rough year for the Pelicans, but Davis and company should only improve next season. So long as they can stay healthy, that is.