With Anthony Davis expected to take another long stride forward and Alvin Gentry in as coach, most people (myself included) had the Pelicans as basically a lock to land one of the bottom three seeds in the West this season.
But health will play a role in that. Already starting point guard Jrue Holiday will be on a minutes limit to begin the season, while reserve point guard Norris Cole is out with a high ankle sprain.
Now comes news of knee surgery for Tyreke Evans, something announced by the team on Tuesday. No timetable for his return has been set, but you can expect him to miss the start of the season.
That leaves Nate Robinson, Eric Gordon (who has been injured this preseason himself), and guys such as Sean Kilpatrick and others you don’t know to fill in at the start of the season.
It’s possible that the injuries lead to a slow start, and while that may not keep them out of the playoffs it could hurt their seeding. And if their injuries persist, they could be fighting for a playoff spot in a crowded West.