Anthony Davis and Quincy Pondexter organize Pelicans voluntary workouts in Los Angeles

by Jim Eichenhofer
@Jim_Eichenhofer

Among the nine players who scored the most total points during the 2014-15 regular season for New Orleans, topped by Anthony Davis (1,656), every member of that group is under contract for next season. As a result, when Davis and forward Quincy Pondexter decided to hold voluntary workouts with their teammates in Los Angeles this week, it may have a bit easier for the Pelicans than many clubs to foster a large turnout. Ten players are participating in the workouts, which begin today in California.

“Quincy and I had been talking about getting the team together and just reunite for a few days,” Davis said. “We made some calls, and a lot of guys jumped on board. It’ll be great to get back in the gym with the guys and get some work in before training camp rolls around in a few weeks.”

Pondexter: “We’re working on building something special. We have that family environment you want as a team and just enjoy being around each other.”

The Pelicans – who have several players with California connections, including Pondexter, a Fresno native – are also using the workouts to begin preparing to play in Alvin Gentry’s up-tempo system. Gentry and staff members will be on hand to observe the workouts, but are not permitted to participate in any coaching, based on NBA rules.

New Orleans is six weeks away from opening training camp at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. Media Day is scheduled for Sept. 28 in Metairie, with practices beginning the next day. The Pelicans’ current roster is nearly identical to the one that reached the Western Conference playoffs last season, with the exception of additions Kendrick Perkins and Alonzo Gee. Pelicans GM Dell Demps said part of the decision to return much of last season’s roster was a result of his team’s on- and off-court cohesion.

“It’s like with any other job, you want to enjoy the people you work with,” Demps said. “At the end of the season, looking at the group and the way they were working, you could see the chemistry. From talking to the guys, they expressed to me how they enjoy playing with each other and wanted it to continue. We feel like we’re still growing. We feel like we got a taste of the playoffs, but are by no means satisfied. We want to take that next step.”

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