Expected returns of Omer Asik and Luke Babbitt would give Pelicans a dozen players in uniform

by Jim Eichenhofer

Barring anything unforeseen prior to tip-off, Alvin Gentry expects to have both center Omer Asik and Luke Babbitt in uniform for tonight’s NBA TV game vs. Golden State. If both players can participate, it would give New Orleans a season-high 12 players available.

“You’re talking about a guy that started for (New Orleans) most of last year,” Gentry said of Asik. “Luke obviously started some games last year. We’ve got to get to the point where we’re healthy enough that we can be consistent and playing guys in their true positions.”

Gentry added that Asik has ranked in the top 10 of the NBA in per-minute rebounding for several seasons. Babbitt led the league in three-point percentage last season, but did not officially qualify for the title due to not reaching the minimum number of makes.

Other notes from pregame:

  • With the Pelicans starting 0-2, Gentry indicated multiple times that patience is important when viewing the 82-game season, as well as the team’s injury situation. Gentry: “(The players sidelined are) guys that were integral to us playing and being effective in what we’re doing. We don’t want to make excuses, but Tyreke (Evans) is a guy who averages 16 points and almost seven rebounds and assists. The versatility he has where he can play 1, 2 or 3, and he can be on or off the ball, all of those things are a factor. But we’re going to keep playing and hopefully get everybody back eventually. We’re not going to panic. We don’t think we have the wrong system in; we think everything will be fine once we get the players we anticipated having.”
  • In the extremely small sample size of two games, New Orleans is shooting just 40.8 percent from the field, which ranks 24th in the NBA. Four of the Pelicans’ top five scorers so far are shooting below 40 percent, including Anthony Davis (37.8), who is normally ultra-efficient. Gentry on his team’s shooting: “It’s all about the spacing on the floor and shooting the ball with confidence. We’re asking some guys right now to do some things they haven’t done since they’ve been in this league. That’s why we have to be patient. We can’t have a quick fix. We have to be in this for the long haul.”

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