BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Health will be a key factor for the New Orleans Pelicans in their attempt to avoid a fourth consecutive losing season.
The team finished last season with a 34-48 record. They were last place in the NBA Southwest Division and the only team from their division to not make the playoffs.
The Pelicans have the pieces to compete in a highly competitive western conference but injuries have plagued them from doing so. Coach Monty Williams spoke at the Team's Media Day and touched on how big health is for the team.
"Just having guys healthy, that to me is like a free agent signing," said Williams.
The Pelicans acquired Omer Asik in the off season and hopefully he does not follow a similar trend of some of their past key off season additions.
The Pelicans received promising shooting guard, Eric Gordon, in the blockbuster Chris Paul trade in December 2011. Since being in New Orleans, his production has regressed and he has struggled to stay healthy. In three seasons with the team, Gordon has missed over 100 games.
The Pelicans acquired forward Ryan Anderson in 2012 via a sign and trade deal with the Orlando Magic. He completed the 2012-2013 season missing one game however that not the case for the next season. The forward missed 60 games during the 2013-2014 season with a herniated cervical disc.
In a trade during the 2013 NBA Draft, the Pelicans attained 1-time All-Star Jrue Holiday from the Philadelphia 76ers. Expectations were high for the point guard but his season was cut short due to injury as well. He suffered a stress fracture of the right tibia and missed 48 games.
Star power forward Anthony Davis has missed his share of games during his first two seasons. He says he knows the western conference is tough but thinks avoiding injuries will be the Pelicans' toughest opponent this upcoming season.
"I think our biggest challenge is making sure guys stay healthy," said Davis.
The Pelicans currently have majority of their key players healthy for the upcoming season. Holiday, Gordon, Osik, Anderson and Davis have all been on the court in pre-season action. Guard Tyreke Evans is currently out with a right hamstring injury but may be back in time for the season opener.
The New Orleans Pelicans begin their season Tuesday, October 28th at home against the Orlando Magic.