The rise of Anthony Davis
Davis led Western Conference big men in the voting in becoming a first-time All-Star starter and second-time All-Star. He also led the league in player efficiency rating (30.81, 11th-best in NBA history) and blocks for the second time.
The playoff-clinching win
The Pelicans had to win the regular-season finale against the defending NBA champion Spurs to gain the eighth playoff spot in the West. Playing to secure the second playoff spot and homecourt advantage, the loss dropped the Spurs to sixth.
Tyreke Evans at point guard
With Jrue Holiday injured, the team was 27-18 with Tyreke Evans as its starting point guard. He became a better facilitator than earlier in his career and clearly was the second-best player on the team.
Building the roster
Starting with the signing of forward Dante Cunningham (above), General Manager Dell Demps made the roster competitive. Quincy Pondexter filled a gap at small forward and with Norris Cole and Toney Douglas provided athleticism and defense.
Wins against the big boys
Season 3-1 records vs. the Spurs and Thunder ultimately yielded a playoff berth. New Orleans snapped 10-game losing streak vs. Golden State, beat Atlanta and swept Toronto, Brooklyn and Milwaukee. It all provided needed confidence.
The Game 3 collapse
The Pelicans took a 20-point lead into the fourth quarter of Thursday’s Game 3 against Golden State, only to see the Warriors send the game to overtime and win. It was a heart-breaking loss for a team still trying to earn its fan base.
Another season of injuries
Jrue Holiday missed half the season for the second consecutive year, and Ryan Anderson missed 18 games after missing half of last season. Davis missed 14 games, too. It affected the team’s chemistry, which impacted consistency.
Up and down early
Through the first half of the season, the Pelicans didn’t win more than two consecutive games and were 20-21. During a stretch from Dec. 9 to Jan. 19, New Orleans followed a win with a loss 10 times, winning consecutive games once.
The ugly losses
The Pelicans dropped 13 games to teams with losing records, including six at home. A loss on Jan. 19 at New York, which had lost 16 consecutive games, started speculation that coach Monty Williams would get fired.
Signing John Salmons
Salmons was to represent veteran insurance at small forward. But his struggles greatly undermined an already-weak bench at a key position before he was traded Jan. 10.