Wednesday, the Pelicans face what to most teams would be a much needed break, the Utah Jazz. While New Orleans has already lost to Utah once this season, 105-111, the Pelicans should be favored. Since last game, Ryan Anderson has returned from an offseason injury. Anderson’s presence worked wonders for the Pelicans’ offense versus the 76ers, helping the team score an NBA season high 135 points. In preparation for the coming game, here are a few things to watch for:
1. Ryan Anderson’s Effect on Tyreke Evans:
Offseason addition Tyreke Evans has been, frankly, terrible so far this season. However, in Anderson’s return Evans had his best game of the season. Anderson’s presence provides much needed driving lanes for the aggressive Evans, who has been cramped for space working with the second unit.
2. Will New Orleans use an Anderson-Davis front-court against Kanter and Favors?
The Ryan Anderson-Anthony Davis front-court figures to be offensively dominant. However, Monty Williams may fear playing the pair versus the Jazz’ young bigs Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors, both of whom are larger than Davis. William’s decision may be indicative of his trust in Davis both as a rebounder and rim protecter.
3. Who will guard Gordon Hayward?
Historically, Monty Williams has been seemingly hesitant to creatively cross match, sticking to positional matchups. With Marvin Williams starting alongside Hayward, New Orleans could easily hide a less defensively potent wing on Williams while the better defender guards Hayward. While Eric Gordon is good defensively, Al-Farouq Aminu is clearly superior. However, Wiliams is tall for a small forward, and Gordon short for a shooting guard. It will be interesting to see how the Pelicans value shutting down Hayward as the offensive creator.
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