The time has come. It’s NFL Draft Day and our boys are fired up and ready to roll! “How can you not be excited?" said a fired up Bobby Hebert. "The Saints have nine picks, the team is getting a lot of attention from other teams because of the high volume of selections, and now we can see if this year’s Draft class can come in and make an impact on the team right away!”.
The Saints currently have two first round picks at #13 and #31 but many feel the Black and Gold will have many options to possibly move up in the first round if they want to obtain a particular player. “If they Saints don’t move up and stay pat with their two first round picks, I think the Saints could take Randy Gregory or Bud Dupree,” said Hebert. Gregory is an OLB/DE from Nebraska, Dupree is an OLB from Kentucky and Trae Waynes a CB out of Michigan State.
Bobby is hoping the Saints 2015 class will yield some top-flight players like Sean Payton’s first class did in 2006. Reggie Bush, Roman Harper, Jahri Evans, Zach Strief and WR Marques Colston all became starters and primetime players for the Saints. Evans, Colston and Strief are all still starting Saints.
“Man, you wanna talk about impact and success, that Class of 2006 was amazing! Those guys came in and not only became starters, but they made immediate impacts, and three are still with the team! Being drafted to and then staying with the same team for 10 years does not happen often in the NFL,” Bobby continued.
I also feel the level of excitement surrounding this year’s draft. In the past, the Saints have moved up far more times than not. If the team does move up it will be to get a guy like Clemson's Vic Beasley (pass rusher), or Florida’s Dante Fowler (pass rusher). I can also see the Saints moving up to take a guy like Alabama WR Amari Cooper. That’s just part of what makes this draft so fun and exciting.
Saints Executive Vice President Mickey Loomis addressed the media today, just before his club participates in the 2015 NFL Draft. “You just don’t know what kind of call you might get,” Loomis said when asked if he may be interested in gaining more picks in this year’s draft.
Bobby Hebert asked Loomis about how he goes back and reviews prior draft classes and the impact the players had or did not have on the team. “We do look back at prior drafts. I do that a lot. I look and see why this pick may have been successful, why this pick did not work out like we wanted. In the 2006 draft, outside of Reggie Bush, I don’t know really how many guys were going to work out. And when you look back on it we got a lot of great players from that draft. We won a Super Bowl with that group. We’d love to emulate that draft.”
Loomis said when it comes to grading draft classes it is a continuous process. “I don’t think you look back after one season and give a grade on a player. It takes a few seasons to see how players pan out from the point when they were drafted.”
New Orleans has five picks in the first three rounds of the draft including two first round picks at #13 and #31. Loomis went on to talk about other areas of the team and if the club would possibly draft players for certain positions. As usual, Loomis kept things close to the vest.
Asked if the Saints are a rebuilding team right now, Loomis said “I wouldn’t say rebuild is the right word. Obviously 7-9 is not good enough. We know that 7-9 is not good enough. We’ve got a lot of good players on this team. There is a resolve to do better."
The Saints currently have nine draft picks which is the most in the Sean Payton era. So is the Black and Gold looking to stock pile even more picks for this draft and future drafts? “Gathering picks is a good thing. But our focus is on how do we get better right now. How do we help our team right now. Most of our focus is how do we help our team right now.”
New Orleans has been able to make a good living on the back end of drafts, particularly when it comes to undrafted free agents. Loomis says that paying close attention to those undrafted players is a big part of the entire draft process.
“It’s kind of a fun part of this process, getting those free agent players right after the draft. You never want to tell anyone that they are not getting drafted but you do realize how important it is in bringing in those free agents that help the team.”
For a full recap on today’s Saints News tune in to Sports Talk today with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia beginning at 4pm
He’s been covering the draft for nearly 30 years, so when he talks, people listen. NFL Analyst Mike Detiller is one busy man right now and Mike has been gearing up for this weekend’s 2015 NFL Draft. “This is the time when you start to see and hear things come out about certain players that are sometimes put out there to see if any team may bite on hearsay or rumor. This is the final moment leading up to the draft and all sorts of things can and have happened,” Detiller said.
Mike thinks that the Saints will have plenty of options and with nine picks the Black and Gold can make some moves. “The Saints have the right picks in good spots and with nine total selections there is room to move in many directions. The Saints have made moves in the past and if they want to they can make moves again this draft.”
In the last few weeks one player that has seen his stock rise is UGA running back Todd Gurley. “A few weeks ago many thought that Gurley might be a first round pick. And now some think he can be a top 12 draft selection. Todd Gurley is the best RB I’ve seen come out of college since Adrian Peterson came out of Oklahoma,” Detiller said.
To listen to our entire draft conversation with Mike Detiller just click below.
The most successful Pelicans season in four years came to an end as the #1 seeded Golden State Warriors finished off a clean sweep of the #8 seeded New Orleans Pelicans. New Orleans Coach Monty Williams put a wrap on the season with his final press conference Tuesday morning at the team’s facility on Airline Drive.
Williams just finished up his fifth season as head coach of the Pelicans, leading the team to the playoffs for the second time in his tenure, and first since 2011. Williams has compiled a record of 173-231 with a post-season mark of 2-8 in two playoff series losses to the Lakers in 2011 and this season to the Golden State Warriors.
“There are a ton of things that we have to evaluate. Overall as a team, I feel like this season was a great success for us. We exceeded expectations in many ways and our players have gotten better over the course of the last four years. From that standpoint I feel like we have moved this ship in the right direction. We’re not done. We’ve got a lot of work to do to be better,” Williams said in his opening statement.
Monty was asked how he deals with criticism and all the outside noise and pressure that comes with being an NBA coach. "I hear all that stuff second hand so it does not bother me - as far as pressure and expectations, that's just a part of what we do,” he replied.
Williams reviewed the season, talked about the team’s goals moving forward and of course was asked several questions about the league’s best young star in Anthony Davis. “Our major challenge is health. We have to be able to get healthy players on the floor for longer periods of time. Some of it is just part of playing in the NBA, but we have to deal with it. As far as A.D. is concerned, it has been a dream for me to help develop him on his journey. Hopefully he’s going to be a part of this team for a long time. He’s a special player. The prospects of his potential are incredible. I’ve never seen anyone like him. He’s got an effect on the game like I’ve not seen before.” ”
Coach was asked about other particular players, including big man Omer Asik, who is not under contract for the upcoming season. “He and A.D. are a good tandem in the front court. Omer is a highly valuable asset to the city and this organization.”
Williams said that “My focus now is on how can we be the best we can be. I’ve never doubted my ability as a coach. I do feel like as we add more players that fit my style, we’ve gotten better.” The team won 11 more games in the regular season compared to a season ago and earned a playoff berth. We feel like as an organization that being in the playoffs and gaining that experience is invaluable. Now moving forward, how we build on that and take that experience to become a better team, is important.”
You can listen to Coach Williams’ entire press conference this afternoon on Sports Talk with Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia beginning at 4PM on Pelicans Radio WWL.
The LSU Tigers were 3-1 last week after a midweek win over Tulane and the Bayou Bengals took two out of three from #2 Texas A&M this weekend. The Tigers are ranked #1 in five of the college baseball polls.
This week the Tigers face four games. LSU entertains Alcorn State followed by their weekend SEC series on the road in Starkville against the Mississippi State Bulldogs. Coach Mainieri and his Tigers have had to deal with a lot this season - mainly bad weather.
“It’s been difficult to deal with. It seems like every week there has been a weather issue. But when the guys come to LSU we tell our players that we have to be ready to deal with any situation that comes our way.”
LSU was able to get in all three games this weekend but not without a four hour rain delay on Saturday in the series finale against Texas A&M. Coach Mainieri was pleased with the Tigers winning two out of three but says his team could have taken all three games.
“We would have liked to finish up strong, and I thought we got off to hot start, but we made some mistakes. Credit Texas A&M as they have some great players. But we felt like we made some costly mistakes that kept us from a better shot at winning the third game of that series.”
The Tigers are still red hot with a 14-2 mark in their last 16 games. When asked where his team is with 11 games left in the regular season Mainieri said. “How can you not like where we are right now. We have the #1 ranked team in the country, I think we are playing well in all phases in the game. And our team has really come together. I do like where we are.”
LSU is coming down the home stretch of the season before the SEC Tournament and then on to the NCAA Regionals. Any chance LSU gets complacent and looks over anyone coming up? “This is the time we have to shift into high gear and focus on the last 11 games. I don’t think we are going to have any trouble focusing on each game, one game at a time,” Coach replied.
In sports, some teams have a way of dealing with the media and time passing when it comes to wins and losses. I learned a lot from Coach Saban over the years - his teams have an agreed-upon 24 hour rule. 24 hours after every game goes final, that game - the plays that happened, the good and the bad and the outcome - are no longer brought up or talked about.
So with that in mind, here is what I am thinking about our New Orleans Pelicans.
To say that the Pelicans 2014-2015 season was not a success would be completely wrong. The team won 11 more games in the regular season than the previous year and the club was in the Western Conference playoffs for the first time in four seasons and second under Monty Willams.
With all of that feel-good stuff said, this team should not have been fighting until the 82nd game of the regular season to secure a playoff spot. Poor losses to terrible teams along with big wins over champion-like teams - that makes no sense. If this team is going to take the next step, they have to get better from November to April. Expecting any team to turn things on in April and make a run at the title without having several consistent stretches of very good play throughout the season is not realistic.
The team has a core and the core on this Pelicans team is obviously Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday. These are the three players that should equal that of Duncan, Parker and Ginaboli in San Antonio. I think that Dell Demps can now rotate other players around this core and as long as this core remains together I can't see why this team is not in the post season every year from now own.
What to do with:
What about Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Omer Asik, Luke Babbit, Alexis Ajinca and Jimmer Ferdette?
Anderson is under contract for next season and is owed 8.5 million for 2015-16. Anderson looks to be the most valuable in terms of possibly upgrading the roster. Anderson has a place on this team - sharp shooters in the NBA are valuable. What has to happen is that Monty Williams has to figure out or decide what he wants to do with him.
Anderson was far underused this post season and many times when he was not injured Anderson would show up big in a quarter or a half and then disappear. Am I to assume that Anderson just faded out in those games? Were plays designed to get your best shooter the ball and then not executed? And if that's the case doesn't that fall on coaching? If the Pelicans shop Anderson, then get something real good in return. If they keep him, then use him to his full potential, please.
Omer Asik was a nice pick-up last off-season. His size and his ability to bang the boards and get those necessary garbage points are a must in the league. However Asik looked like a liability in the playoffs instead of the seasonal asset he was. I do realize that had a lot to do with the style team Golden State was. But in the playoffs you gotta up your game, and Asik did not.
Ajinca, Fredette and Babbit were all good pick ups, tut are these guys in the future of the team? Can they make the team deeper and better especially in the playoffs? Those questions are to be answered by Dell Demps and Monty Williams.
Monty Williams is a good man, a person that any of the 30 NBA owners would love to have lead their team when it comes to doing and saying the right things. But Monty's coaching has to come into question. I'm not hating. Hell when the entire country calls you out for not getting the ball to your MVP when the game is on the line - then that's not just me, and that is flat out what has happened. Monty Williams seems to have the respect of the players, and there is a sense of strong feelings about how good of a man Williams is. But is Monty the guy?
I know some of you will say 'look at the injuries.' So I have and heres my take. Name one of the 30 NBA teams that did not deal with long term injuries this season. You think Tom Thibodeau has used not having Derrick Rose for the majority of the last three seasons as an excuse? What about Scott Brooks?
Scott is out of a job and he was without KD much of this season, and had significant time missed from Serge Ibaka and Russell Westbrook, and dealt with those injuries in each of the last two years. Sean Payton, Les Miles, Nick Saban - none of them buy into the injury noise and Monty should not get a pass either.
Some will say that the Pelicans are the new OKC of tomorrow. I say so what! What is OKC right now? The Thunder are a team that had three major stars, one has gone on (James Harden) to become an MVP for the Rockets while the other two are still MVP-like players for OKC. And you know what? They have no titles and they are looking for a new head coach.
Does New Orleans want that? Do the Pelicans want to be sitting here in four seasons and looking at themselves saying we went to the Finals and lost and now we still have a great core but no coach and no direction?
I'm not saying get rid of Monty for the sake of getting rid of him. If there is not a plan in place, if there is not another coach that Dell Demps thinks can be a big upgrade to the Pelicans then you must stand pat and go with Monty.
I just think there are too many times that Monty looks like he's lost and in over his head. And folks, it was not like his counterpart in round one was Phil or Pat over on the other bench. Monty had six playoff games experience on Steve Kerr and it never showed.
Telling the media that the plan was to foul Stephen Curry, and then not executing that plan falls on the coach. And those who watch this team all season long are all too familiar with the Pelicans blowing double digit leads in games.
Keep in mind Monty Williams has been a coach for five seasons and four of those five seasons Williams finished last in the Southwest Division, and has a 2-8 playoff record in two series. He's had time to learn and Dell Demps must ask, is Monty an asset or liability when it comes to bringing the Pelicans to the NBA Finals?
And what kind of coach does it take to win the Finals? You tell me. Here is a list of the coaches that are responsible for winning the league's last 15 titles. Erik Spoelstra (Heat 2 titles), Larry Brown (Pistons 1 title), Phil Jackson (Lakers 5 titles), Doc Rivers (Celtics 1 title), Rick Carlisle (Dallas 1 title), Gregg Popovich (Spurs 4 titles) and Pat Riley (Heat 1 title).
The coach that had the least experience with that group above was Erik Spoelstra and Erik had the King on his team. So is Monty in that class? Can Monty go head to head with guys of that caliber? Rivers, Carlisle, Popovich will be around for a while and they are all in the West and so is the rising Steve Kerr. Those are things to just keep in mind my fellow hoop fans!
The early jump to offer the max deal to Davis was a beautiful move by Dell Demps. And Davis should be more than happy here in New Orleans and he should know that jumping to another team would mean he would be re-starting and going to a team that is more than likely a very bad team that has a lot of money. So I do feel more than safe that A.D. will be here for a while.
Monty Williams has one of the greatest young players in the history of the game on his team, and if the Pelicans don't win at least one title with Davis on hand, that is a failure. The best player in the world can't not have a title. Davis is all that and then some.
I feel real good about the team, the players and what Dell Demps has done. The GM's job is to bring in the players. Dell has done that. The coaches job is to coach them up and make the team better. Monty did make New Orleans better this season. But to me, making it to the playoffs was more Dell's doing than Monty's.
Folks, time is ticking and this team has title potential. Anything less than winning a title in the future is unacceptable.
And to all of you footballers out there it's time to start giving fair grades across the board. You expect the Saints to be a playoff team every year and compete to get to the Super Bowl each year as well and that to me is very fair. Well I'm telling you it's time to start expecting the same from the Pelicans. The Saints don't have the future best player in the world on their team. The Pelicans do and that to me is more than enough to know that this franchise should have a title in their near future.
Winning a title is not an unfair goal. It is the ultimate goal and the one that should be expected!
It’s a no brainer, but give credit to Dell Demps; the timing of his pitch to give MVP candiate Anthony Davis the max deal less than 24 hours after the Pelicans season came to an end was wise and smart. Demps has given Coach Monty Williams the right tools to make a complete NBA team. Demps now has his work cut out for him this off season with just six players under contract for the 2015-2016 season.
Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Ryan Anderson, Quincy Pondexter and Norris Cole are the only players that are under contract for next season. Eric Gordon has a player option but I can’t imagine another team offering Gordon $15.1 million, which the Pelicans owe him next year should Gordon exercise his player option to return. Demps made some solid moves bringing in Omer Asik, Norris Cole, Dante Cunningham and others to shore up a team that had a much better roster this season, leading them to the post season for the first time in four years.
Now back to Davis. Sure other big market teams will make their big city pitch at A.D. but let me tell you there are very few places in the NBA that has a better laid out future than the New Orleans Pelicans. Davis will become the best player in the world perhaps as soon as next season, and the only thing Davis needs is more time to improve his game and more time to learn the post season do’s and dont’s and what it takes to get his team to the finals.
Anthony Davis can be paid $20 million more dollars over the life of his max deal than any other team in the NBA can pay him in base salary. Dell Demps making this move right now is the best and only move to make. Showing the seriousness of how vital Davis is to bringing an NBA Title to the Big Easy is very important and all Dell did is what he could do.
Not sitting back and letting other teams start the rumors (which they will anyway), but cutting off the noise about what the Pelicans will or will not do when it comes to keeping Davis is done, and the Pelicans have laid the money on the table and said we WANT YOU here!
Dell Demps made this move but he did not have to at this time. Davis is still under contract from his rookie season and he’s owed just a little over seven million dollars for next year. By already offering the max deal a year before the talks are supposed to begin, Dell lets the rest of the league try and figure out what to do. Now Dell can work on bringing back the players that he feels will get this team to the next level and he can be looking ahead to a pretty good market of free agents this summer come July 1.
I think we all feel like New Orleans should still be alive in their series with Golden State instead of being swept. But making the biggest and best move after the season came to an end is a good start!
It was all going so perfectly. And for the first time in the series against the top seeded Warriors, the Pelicans got what looked to be the ending we hoped for in the first two playoff games. But the ending would be far worse than the previous two, leaving the Pelicans in a 0-3 hole. Golden State stormed back from a 20 point deficit in the fourth quarter to stun the Pelicans 123-119 in overtime.
The comeback by the Warriors is the third largest comeback in NBA playoff history. “If I was the coach, I’d say I think I had a lot to do with us losing this game.” Those are the words from the mouth of Charles Barkley.
Barkley was in an exchange with fellow TNT “Inside the NBA” host Shaquille O'Neal as the two greats were talking about the Pelicans loss. Barkley emphasized that he felt like coaching was the biggest issue.
I mean, what can I say? I’ll be fair, but let’s be real. The Pelicans have advanced and improved more in one year than many could have envisioned. This is a young team, the core players are under contract for a while. And New Orleans has the best young star in the league, Anthony Davis, on their squad.
But, I too have to raise the question about coaching. Is Coach Monty Williams supposed to be held to the same standard as his players? Does he get a pass as a young talent learning how to coach in the playoffs? Is that being fair? Or, am I being too lenient?
Also disturbing, this was the one game of the three where New Orleans got a huge boost from Ryan Anderson…yet they lost. And, man, why didn’t Monty Williams do something to get Ryan the ball more in the second half? Anthony Davis took two shots in overtime! There are many frustrations in that game, but I guess that’s all a part of the process of growing and maturing a team. Or, again, am I being too soft?
So, now for the next 24 hours or so, the Pelicans will hear all of the doom and gloom about being in an 0-3 hole in the NBA post season. (No team has ever come from behind from an 0-3 loss to win a series.) Will the ending to game three sour any ray of hope for this team moving forward? Hell, a win in game three would have made this series tight and a real battle.
But, the best the Pelicans can do is respond with a win and show their fans what they’ve seen in the first three game… a team that doesn’t quit…a team that plays hard…till the final horn goes off.
All of the evaluating--what needs to be fixed, changed and or tweaked will come soon enough. Clearly this is a much better team than they were a year ago. Are they supposed to be better than what we saw on the court in the 4th quarter, blowing a 20 point lead? Yes. But, how tough is too tough or how lenient is the debate.
LSU has seen more than their fair share of big time baseball games. But even Coach Paul Mainieri will tell you this weekend’s series against Texas A&M is a little different. “It’s number one versus number two. Anyone that says that the adrenaline is not flowing a little higher than normal would be lying. This should be a great series.”
The #1 ranked Tigers host the #2 Texas A&M Aggies with game one of the three game series Thursday at 6:30PM right here on Tiger Radio WWL 870AM. LSU beat Tulane 6-0 Tuesday night to win for the 12th time in 13 games.
Coach said his Tigers were not looking ahead to the big SEC Showdown with the Aggies. “I thought we were totally focused on the Green Wave,” he told us. "I was real pleased with the way our pitching came in and set the tone. We beat a Tulane team that has been playing well and a team that I have a great deal of respect for.”
LSU pitchers combined for a one-hit shutout versus the Green Wave. “Tulane was coming off an excellent win and had been hot at the plate. So I was really pleased with the pitching effort we got from our staff,” Coach continued. LSU will send Jared Poche to the mound in game one, Austin Lange starts for LSU in game two while Austin Bain will start game three for the Bayou Bengals.
Coach Mainieri says the Tigers have their hands full with the Aggies: “I can tell you that Texas A&M has a lot of great players on their team and they are pitching and hitting at a very high level this season.” The Aggies climbed in the national polls after winning their first 24 games of the season.
LSU enters the key series 35-6 overall. Texas A&M is 36-5 overall.
You can listen to Bobby and Deke’s entire conversation with LSU Coach Paul Mainieri by clicking below.
If we’ve all learned one thing in the first two games of the best of seven series between Golden State and New Orleans, it is that the younger, inexperienced team looks like anything but. After making an enormous comeback in game one, the main question going into game two was would the Pelicans play a complete game or would the #1 seed Warriors flex their muscles and prove a point?
New Orleans not only played better - one could argue even in a loss that the Pelicans had one of their best outings of the season. But this is the pros and moral victories have no place in the NBA. And the Pelicans are now in a 0-2 hole to the Golden State Warriors.
The Pelicans built a 13 point lead in the first quarter but the Warriors would quickly erase that early deficit with a big second quarter spurt. Unlike in the first game of the series in which the Pelicans seemingly saved their best play for the final moments, New Orleans did not finish out the game as they had hoped. And it would be the Warriors that upped their play in the final four minutes to take a double digit lead that turned into a double digit win.
Tyreke Evans, who was a game time decision whether or not he would play in game two, had one of the best showings as a Pelicans player. After netting just one point in game one, Evans responded with a big night scoring 16 points with 10 rebounds and seven assist.
Fellow Guard Eric Gordon was solid with 23 points in the loss to the Warriors. In game one the Pelicans quietly snuck back into the game to make things close in the final quarter; game two would see New Orleans go toe to toe with the Warriors all night long. New Orleans came out smoking and led 28-17 after the first.
Golden State did catch fire and stormed back with a big 38 point eruption in the second to take a three point 55-52 halftime lead over New Orleans. The third quarter had a pace that favored the Pelicans. New Orleans is more suited to a low scoring pace with the Pelicans winning the third quarter 19-16 to be tied 71-71 with Golden State going into fourth.
New Orleans was looking for more balanced scoring in game two after getting 71 total points combined from just three players in game one. The Pelicans got a big night from Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon in the loss and their better play will be something the Pelicans need if they are going to take game three on Thursday night.
Anthony Davis finished with 26 points including just eight points in the fourth quarter. Norris Cole gave some help in the form of 11 points while Ryan Anderson was quiet for the second straight game with just four points on the night.
Klay Thompson paced Golden State with a team high 26 points and Stephen Curry added 22 for the winners. Draymond Green was solid on both ends of the floor with his defense and Green chipped in 14 points for Golden State.
The series now shifts to the Big Easy where the Pelicans return home to Smoothie King Center and play host to the Warriors in Games three and four. New Orleans was 28-13 at home inside Smoothie King Center in the regular season. Game three is Thursday night with tipoff set for 8:30PM right here on Pelicans Radio 105.3 FM.