Two touchdowns in the Pro Bowl, two dunks over the goal post. Saints tight end Jimmy Graham looked overjoyed celebrating with his old post TD routine.
Per ProFootballTalk.com Graham said after the game, "That was amazing. For me, it made the entire week." That's not all though. He then added, "Hopefully, one day they'll look back and change this rule so I can do it in a real game. And hopefully one day in the Super Bowl." I get that the league doesn't want players hanging on the post and throwing them off kilter like Graham did in Atlanta in 2013 spurring the rule change.
21 year old Anthony Davis is averaging 24 points, 10 rebounds 3 blocks and 1.5 steals a game. He ranks 3rd in scoring, 10th in
rebounding, 6th in field goal percentage and 1st in blocks. He skill set for a 6-ft-10 power forward is truly amazing.
Davis finished with 1,369,911 votes and was just one of just three players to go over the one million mark, joining leading vote getter Stephen Curry of Golden State (1,513,324) and Clevleand's LeBron James (1,470,483). The 64th NBA All-Star Game tips-off February 15th at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
When Coach Monty Williams addressed the media before the Pelicans contest tonight versus the Lakers, he let it be known that point guard Jrue Holiday's ankle injury has been upgraded to a stress reaction in his lower leg. The time table for his return is now 2-4 weeks.
The news is a bit scary considering Holiday missed half of last season with due to a tibia fracture and this very well could be an aggravation of that injury.
Look for Tyrke Evans to move into the starting lineup at PG, while Dante Cunningham is at small forward.
The Pelicans are currently in 10th place in the Western Conference with a record of 20-21; 4 games behind the Phoenix Suns for the 8th place and the final playoff spot in the West.
The Pelicans hit a new low last night in New York losing 99-92 to a Knicks ballclub that was on a 16 game losing streak and still owns the league's worst record at 6-36. Sure, New Orleans was without starters Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, but that's hardly an excuse against a Knicks team that put 2 players on the court that were just signed to 10 day contracts.
The Pels wrapped up their 5 game road trip with a 2-3 record and dropped games to NY, Boston and Philadelphia. Those 3 teams sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are a combined 6-22 in the month of January. So that's 3 wins against New Orleans and 3-19 versus everyone else.
At the onset of the season, expectations were for this Pelicans team to contend for the 8th seed in the West; but let's get real, they haven't been able to string together 3 straight victories. Right now New Orleans is 20-21 at the halfway point and 4 games behind Phoenix who sits in 8th place in the conference.
The season is far from over, but something HAS to change. That brings up the question: is it time to move on from Monty Williams?
Since coming to the franchise in 2010, Williams owns a record of 148-205 as head coach. The team's only trip to the postseason under his lead came in year 1 when Chris Paul was still with the team.
But rebuilding a franchise is a process even with a superstar like Anthony Davis already in place. I know it may not seem like it, the Pelicans have been improving.
YEAR RECORD WIN/LOSS PECENTAGE
2011-12 21-45 .318
2012-13 27-55 .329
2013-14 34-48 .415
Current 20-21 .488
The higher-ups believe in Williams, but the teams' inconsistent play cannot be doing him any favors.
Another thing to think about is how Davis would feel about a switch at head coach?
The combination of trading away Tyson Chandler and then getting rid of Byron Scott really soured CP3 here. It wasn't the dagger, but it didn't help either. You see what I'm saying?
Making sure Davis is happy is obviously vital to keeping him here long term. He seems to have a good rapport with Monty, but then again it's the only pro coach he has known.
If the franchise is going to make a move, I don't get the sense it will be mid-season. Williams was given a 4 year extension in 2012 which runs though the 2016 season and I feel will at least be given the chance to finish the year out.
As hard as it may be to see, the team has shown improvement under his lead. Will that be enough for Williams to be around NEXT season is the big question I have.
It's now official, the Pelicans have announced that they have signed guard Nate Wolters to a 10-day contract. He is 6-4, 190 lbs. and was the 38th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Washington Wizards before his rights were dealt to Philadelphia, and finally Milwaukee. He has appeared in 69 games with the Bucks and has career averages of 6.4 points, 2.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds per contest.
The 23 year old will be available for the Pels' game tonight in Detroit and will wear #34. Tip-off is at 6:30pm on the flagship 105.3 WWL-FM.
Meanwhile, point guard Jrue Holiday's is out for this evening's contest vs. the Pistons. He left Monday's tilt in Boston with ankle inflammation in the 1st half and did not return.
Jrue Holiday's status is still unknown after he left yesterdays game in Boston with right ankle inflammation, but it may not be good as ESPN's Marc Stein tweeted the Pelicans could be adding another point guard to the roster:
Pelicans, I'm told, are zeroing in on PG Nate Wolters for 10-day deal after Wolters cleared waivers earlier today following release by Bucks
Wolters is 6-ft-4, 190 lbs. and could serve as a back-up point guard, which the team has been in desperate need of anyway. The 23 year old was recently waived by the Milwaukee Bucks who drafted him in the 2nd round in 2013. Wolters has appeared in 11 games this season averaging 13 minutes per game with 2.3 points 1.5 rebounds and 1 assist.
For the 9th time in his otherwise stellar career, Peyton Manning is one and done in the NFL playoffs. Speculation about the 38-year-old's future began immediately after his subpar 26 for 46, 211 yard outing in the divisional round of the AFC playoffs. Manning was asked about retirement following the Broncos 24-13 loss to the Colts.
"Ah, yeah, I guess I can't just give that simple answer," he said. "I'm processing it."
Meanwhile, twitter exploded on the topic following th egame and many specualte the QB might have, or perhaps, should have played his final game:
Feels like we are watching the end of an era. One of the greatest ever. #Peyton
Age looks to have finally caught up with Manning. He fell below his career average of 7.7 yards per attempt in 5 of the last 7 regular season games, and tossed 4 TDs with 6 INTs over the final 5 contests.
If this in fact is the end for Peyton, he'll still go down as one of the greatest to play the game. He has played in 3 Super Bowls, winning 1 and has earned 5 league MVP awards. He also holds the all-time records for passing touchdowns (530) and game winning drives (52). If he does return next season, Manning will likely break Brett Favre's all-time record for passing yards and completions.
Along with age and diminished skills, health could be an issue. He was able to come back after 2 neck surgeries, but could be dealing with a new issue:
Broncos QB Peyton Manning played Sunday's Divisional Playoff loss and the past month of the season with a torn right quad, per two sources.
He would count $21.5 million against the salary cap in 2015. That cap figure is made up of a $19 million salary and a $2.5 million prorated bonus charge. We saw Denver part ways with Champ Bailey when he couldn't play any more, could they do the same to Manning? And if so, where could his next landing spot be if he still wants to play?
While the top overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft (Anthony Davis) has lived up to expectations, the Pelicans' 10th overall selection has not. Now, Austin Rivers is reportedly packing his bags for Beantown as New Orleans is involved in a 3-team trade with the Celtics and Grizzlies. Here's how it breaks down:
To New Orleans: Quincy Pondexter
To Memphis: Jeff Green
To Boston: Austin Rivers, Tayshaun Prince, and a future 1st round draft pick from the Grizzlies
That's right, Quincy Pondexter is headed back to New Orleans. The small forward/shooting guard was selected 26th overall by the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2010 and was traded on draft night to N.O. His time here was short lived as he was sent to Memphis the very next year for Greivis Vasquez.
Rivers meanwhile has struggled in just about every facet of his game and looks to be nothing more than a bench player.
Stay tuned as we wait for this deal to become official, plus it may just be the first trade GM Dell Demps has up his sleeve .
Well, you can scratch 'defensive coordinator' off the Saints' need list. Rob Ryan will be back, with Lyons Yelling of WWLTV reporting the Black and Gold will indeed retain Ryan for the 2015 season.
Ryan's future was unclear following team Executive Vice President and General Manager Mickey Loomis' media availability yesterday.
"We are in the very beginning of the evaluation process," Loomis said. "When we get our decisions completely made we will make the announcements at the appropriate time."
WWL Saints Sideline Reporter Kristian Garic said "Bringing Rob Ryan back is the right choice. Sean Payton values stability on his team and this gives them just that. Ryan will, in all likelihood, be surrounded with a better support staff both in coaches and personnel."
The team has yet to make an official announcement about Ryan, but it makes a ton of sense to keep him around instead of bringing in a 4th d-coordinator in 5 years.
He'll need to prove though that this past season was the fluke. In 2013 Ryan came to town and turned around the league's worst offense to the 4th best unit in the NFL. In 2014, however, the defense plummeted downwards again and finished 31st overall giving up 384 yards per game.
Much of the same issues we've seemed to be talking about forever remain key problem areas. Generating turnovers and better tackling will surely be a focal point come training camp. The Saints also need to rediscover their pass rush. In 2013 the Fleur de Lis D managed 49 sacks but last year tallied a mere 34.
Ryan definitely is a player's coach as everyone in the locker room seems to love and respect him. We'll see if they show up on the field for him though in 2015 and prove the team made the right decision to retain his services.