Atlanta's Tiago Splitter dribbles against New Orleans center Omer Asik

Pelicans shootaround presented by HUB International: Anthony Davis discusses outlook for 2016-17

by Jim Eichenhofer

ATLANTA – He won’t be playing in New Orleans’ final two preseason games due to a right ankle sprain, but with Tuesday’s contest vs. the Hawks being televised nationally (NBA TV, 6:30 p.m. Central), Anthony Davis addressed a few big-picture topics after shootaround in Philips Arena. The 23-year-old hopes to be on the floor Oct. 26, when the Pelicans open the 2016-17 regular season vs. Denver in the Smoothie King Center.

Asked for his perspective entering his fifth NBA season, the three-time All-Star expressed optimism, saying, “Everybody is relatively healthy. We are all excited about coming into this season. We feel like we got some good acquisitions in the offseason. Everyone is coming in with a hard-work mentality and just trying to get back to where we were two years ago.”

Other highlights from Davis’ meeting with members of the local and national media:

When the topic of so-called “super teams” was broached, Davis was asked if he takes pride in being part of a team that built from scratch. He said, “I was with this team when we were rebuilding, my rookie year. I’ve seen this team grow each and every year. What other players do and other teams do is on them – I can’t control that. I’m just trying to focus on what’s going on in New Orleans, and what I can do to try to help the team get better.” …

Alvin Gentry also spoke about his previous NBA team, Golden State, and noted that there is no downside to a club adding the talent and character of a player like Kevin Durant. “I think you probably arrive when you’re the hated team,” Gentry said of the current Warriors. “I think (every other NBA team) would have a desire to be hated and be in their situation. (But) they’re great guys. They have a great coach. I tend to disagree with people who say, ‘We’ll see how everybody fits in, how the chemistry is.’ When you get one of the three best players in the NBA, there are no negatives. There can’t be possibly be a negative there. He’s a great guy, he plays to win and fits in perfectly.” …

Preseason rosters are known for being extremely lengthy, with 20-ish players in uniform for many NBA teams in October. However, New Orleans doesn’t have that kind of luxury of extra bodies. In addition to three players who’ve been out (Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans, Quincy Pondexter), the Pelicans will be without Davis, E’Twaun Moore (heel) and Robert Sacre (foot) tonight. Terrence Jones is listed as questionable and sat out both games in China.

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