Game Preview: Pelicans vs. 76ers - November 16, 2013
Roughly five months after completing one of the most significant trades of NBA draft night 2013, the Philadelphia 76ers and New Orleans Pelicans meet for the first time this season on Saturday in the Crescent City. In June, the 76ers and Pelicans (3-6) signaled new directions for their franchises when Philadelphia dealt ’13 All-Star guard Jrue Holiday to New Orleans, in exchange for the sixth overall draft pick, Kentucky’s Nerlens Noel.
Through the Pelicans’ first nine games, Holiday is the third-leading scorer for his new team as well as its leader in assists. During New Orleans’ most recent home game on Nov. 8, the fifth-year point guard dished out 13 assists, one key to an 11-point victory over the Lakers. Holiday spent the first four seasons of his NBA career with Philadelphia, culminating in consecutive playoff berths in 2011 and 2012, as well as his first All-Star appearance last season. The current 76ers roster includes several of Holiday’s former teammates, most notably New Orleans-born Thaddeus Young and former No. 2 overall draft pick Evan Turner.
After suffering an ACL injury during his lone collegiate season at Kentucky, Noel has not played a game for the 76ers yet. 76ers rookie head coach Brett Brown said recently that Noel may miss the entire 2013-14 season while rehabbing. Philadelphia was projected by just about everyone to have the worst record in the Eastern Conference – if not the entire NBA – but has defied those expectations early. The 76ers were 5-4 entering Friday’s visit to Atlanta, after opening the campaign with three straight impressive wins. Philadelphia stunned two-time defending NBA champion Miami on Oct. 30, then came from behind to beat Chicago on Nov. 2.
Saturday’s game is the first of two meetings between these clubs in a short span. On Nov. 29, the day after Thanksgiving, the Pelicans will make their only visit of the season to the City of Brotherly Love.
Jrue Holiday vs. Michael Carter-Williams