Tag: New Orleans Pelicans

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis “definitely” plans on shooting more threes this season


Fresh off signing a five-year, $143 million extension with the Pelicans, Anthony Davis is going into this season with high expectations on both an individual and a team level. The Pelicans made the playoffs for the first time in his career, and they’re now expected to be in the mix going forward. Davis has established himself as an MVP candidate and All-NBA caliber player, even as he has so much room to grow in his game at age 22. One thing he hasn’t done much of so far is shoot threes.

In a new interview with SLAM‘s Chris Cason, Davis says he plans on shooting more threes this year:

SLAM: There was a video out a few weeks ago with you working on your three-point shot. Can we expect you to step out and take more going forward?

AD: I’m going to mix it up. I love playing down low, but at the same time, if the opportunity is there; I’m definitely going to take them. That’s one thing for sure that coach Gentry has told me—“Shoot the ball,” “Let it go.” I’ve been working on it and I’m very confident in my game.

I’ve shot three’s all my life. I didn’t really need to shoot them over the past few years as much, but I’m never going to turn down shooting threes, especially if the coach tells me he wants me to shoot them. It’s something that I’ve definitely been working on. I definitely plan on utilizing it this year.

As incredible as Davis is, three-point shooting has never been one of his strengths. He’s shot just 27 threes in his three-year career, and made just three of them. But he’s extended his shooting range out to midrange, where he shot 41.9 percent last season. He shot 35.7 percent from 20-24 feet, and if he can even get his three-point shooting around there, to where defenses have to respect it, that’s huge. With all the other ways Davis can destroy you on the offensive end, if he adds even a respectable three-point shot, that makes him that much more lethal.

Nets’ Bojan Bogdanovic rolls ankle readying for EuroBasket, says he’ll be fine

Atlanta Hawks v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four
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The Nets are going to count on Bojan Bogdanovic this season, he likely starts on the wing next to Joe Johnson and will get heavy minutes.

Part of Bogdanovic’s off-season program is to play in EuroBasket with his native Bosnia and Herzegovina (along with fellow NBA players Jusuf Nurkic and Mirza Teletovic). But playing in real games means an increased injury risk and that befell the Nets two guard.

It’s nothing serious, he tweeted.

This is not enough for the Nets to pull an Alexis Ajinca, but Brooklyn will be watching. The injury shouldn’t linger into training camp if he doesn’t aggravate it.

Bosnia and Herzegovina open EuroBasket play Sept. 5 against Poland. Bogdanovic and his teammates are expected to have a tough time advancing out of the round robin play to the knockout tournament, they are in a group with France and Russia but more realistically would need to beat Finland or Israel to advance.

Pelicans strength coach says Anthony Davis is “stronger than he’s ever been”

Anthony Davis

Who’s excited for #MuscleWatch? Every year, as training camp approaches, you hear about players being in the best shape of their lives, or putting on 10 pounds of muscle. Sometimes it translates into results, and sometimes it doesn’t.

If this latest entrant turns out to be the real deal, that could be scary for the rest of the league. Pelicans strength coach Jason Sumerlin says Anthony Davis has put on 12 pounds of muscle, bringing him up to 253 pounds.

Via Pelicans.com:

“Our first phase was portion control,” said Sumerlin, taking over for Carlos Daniel, who left to further his education in the training field. “I wanted Anthony to eat more than he does, actually, because that’s the only way to gain weight. You have to get more protein, more calories. He’s never going to cut out pizza, but I finally got him to eat seafood, for the first time ever. He had salmon. He also has a chef now, so he’s become more adventurous when it comes to food and his diet. Changing his diet is a huge thing and probably half the battle.”

The second aspect of Davis’ muscle increase came from spending extensive time in the weight room with Sumerlin, getting on an uninterrupted lifting routine.

“He has been lifting consistently, doing all the small things perfectly and efficiently,” Sumerlin said of Davis’ regimen. “We are more consistent in his lifts and his corrective exercises. He’s lifted a lot more weight – he’s stronger than he’s ever been.”

The additional strength should allow Davis to hold his ground better against bigger frontcourt players he faces, some of whom have outweighed or outmuscled him in the past.

“He’s going to be stronger, faster, quicker and more explosive this year,” said Sumerlin, who has also emphasized core strength. “He talks about it all the time. He feels it. His trunk stability is a huge thing. Whenever he has been down low with the big guys, he kind of collapses (at his midsection). He’s starting to understand how to use his body more efficiently now.”

You obviously have to take any August reports about the shape a player is in with a sizable grain of salt, but the idea of a stronger but still agile Anthony Davis is absolutely terrifying. He’s going to be playing a lot of center in Alvin Gentry’s offense, so the added strength will come in handy for banging with opposing bigs. Davis is already in line to be the next generational superstar; this might be the year he overtakes LeBron James and Kevin Durant and becomes the best player in the NBA.

Pelicans pull French center Alexis Ajinca out of EuroBasket

New Orleans Pelicans v Minnesota Timberwolves

New Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry has big plans for Alexis Ajinca. In the coach’s up-tempo offense, Ajinca’s athleticism makes a good fit behind and next to Anthony Davis. With that, Ajinca is expected to see an increased role and minutes (even though the team did bring back Omer Asik). That’s why they signed him to a four-year, $20 million deal this offseason.

Ajinca has been playing this summer with the French national team as they prepare to defend their EuroBasket title and earn a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics. However, a week before the tournament starts, the Pelicans have pulled him out, reports eurohoops.net.

The player felt pain in his Achilles tendon since the start of the preparation period at the 20th of July. His condition remained unchanged, however the New Orleans Pelicans decided to forbid him from playing in the Eurobasket.

This was not a situation that was so bad New Orleans said he couldn’t even consider playing for his country; it was a relatively minor issue. But as it hasn’t improved, the Pelicans decided not to risk anything with a guy they just agreed to lock down for four years.

This is a blow to France, but they remain one of the deepest teams at EuroBasket and one of the favorites. They still have Rudy Gobert at center, Tony Parker at the point, plus guys like Boris Diaw, Nicolas Batum, and Evan Fournier on the roster. They could defend their crown, but that task just got a little harder.

Report: Pelicans finalizing contract with Jeff Adrien

Minnesota Timberwolves v Denver Nuggets

Jeff Adrien signed a guaranteed contract with the Rockets last summer, but they still waived him before the regular season.

Joining a team with just 13 players, including Bryce Dejean-Jones, whose contract is just $50,000 guaranteed, Adrien should have a better shot of sticking this year.

Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports:

The New Orleans Pelicans are finalizing a one-year deal to pay the veteran’s minimum to veteran forward-center Jeff Adrien, a source told Yahoo Sports.

Adrien latched on with the Timberwolves last year when they ran into injury trouble, but they cut him before having to guarantee his contract.

I can’t understand why Adrien has such a tough time getting NBA jobs.

He’s an excellent rebounder and good shot-blocker. To be fair, he’s also just 6-foot-7 and devoid of offensive skill. He is what he is: an undersized big man.

But he has played reasonably well the last couple seasons when given opportunities.

The Pelicans shouldn’t expect much more than intangible contributions from Kendrick Perkins. Adrien will serve as the actually productive backup limited big man.