Meet the 2014-15 New Orleans Pelicans _lowres

Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON--New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams calls a play in a NBA basketball game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Minnesota Timberwolves in New Orleans, La. Friday, Feb. 7, 2014.

No. 1 Tyreke Evans

Small forward/guard. 6-6. Sixth season. Memphis.

2013-14 averages: 14.5 points, 5.0 assists, 4.7 rebounds

WHAT HE DOES: His relentless drives to the basket, especially on the fast break, will be a big part of the offense. He could play three positions — starting at small forward and moving to shooting guard at times and point guard with the game on the line — but he’ll have to be disciplined in half-court sets.

No. 2 Darius Miller

Small forward. 6-8. Third season. Kentucky.

2013-14 averages: 4.4 points, 1.2 rebounds

WHAT HE DOES: Showed promise at the end of last season that he could be a player if he develops, bringing adequate shooting, defense and ball-handling. He must play well consistently to snatch the starting small forward spot and solidify his future viability with the team.

No. 3 Omer Asik

Center. 7 feet. Fifth season. TURKEY.

2013-14 averages: 5.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, 0.8 blocks

WHAT HE DOES: Asik brings strong low-post defense and rebounding and is known for setting screens that will get open shots for teammates and rolls to the basket for himself. He needs to be a scoring threat to keep opponents honest defensively and help the Pelicans maximize their potential.

No. 4 Patric Young

Center/power forward. 6-9. First season. Florida.

2013-14 averages: 11.0 points, 6.2 rebounds. 1.0 blocks

WHAT HE DOES: Has a niche on the team because of his strength and defense and could match up with similar big men this season if he progresses. Not a great leaper, he has to be active, physical and effective, but it remains to be seen if he can.

No. 5 Jeff Withey

Center. 7 feet. Second season. Kansas.

2013-14 averages: 3.3 points, 2.6 rebounds

WHAT HE DOES: When on his game, Withey is an active defender and good shot-blocker who began to play well offensively toward the end of last season. He has been in a funk since the summer with what he said last week was a personal problem and could be mired near the end of the bench until he snaps out of it.

No. 8 Luke Babbitt

Forward. 6-9. Fifth season. Nevada.

2013-14 averages: 20.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks

WHAT HE DOES: Babbitt brought toughness and surprised with his defense after coming to the team in January last season but wasn’t a consistent shooter, which was considered his calling card. Not a true small forward or power forward, he must show overall improvement, most notably with his shooting.

No. 9 Russ Smith

Point guard. 6 feet. First season. Louisville.

2013-14 averages: 18.2 points, 4.6 assists. 2.0 steals

WHAT HE DOES: Smith’s role will be that of a full-court defensive pest, and he has shown he can do that. A rookie, he needs a lot of development, and the coaches have indicated they will be patient with Smith, who is very quick.

No. 10 Eric Gordon

Shooting guard. 6-4. Seventh season. Indiana.

2013-14 averages: 15.4 points, 3.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds

WHAT HE DOES: Gordon combines drives to the basket with outside shooting (39.1 percent on 3-pointers in ’13-14) and is a solid defender. He has to stay healthy (64 games last season), and it remains to be seen if he can adapt to a new role if required.

No. 11 Jrue Holiday

Point guard. 6-4. Sixth season. UCLA.

2013-14 averages: 14.3 points, 7.9 assists

WHAT HE DOES: Holiday anchors the defense with his on-the-ball pressure, which makes him a key factor in a league stacked at his position. He has to bounce back from a stress fracture in his right tibia that ended his season after 34 games and also show he can keep turnovers down and play consistently in an offense that is expected to be versatile.

No. 15 John Salmons

Small forward. 6-7. 13th season. Miami.

2013-14 averages: 5.2 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists

WHAT HE DOES: Veteran brings leadership, experience and the ability to play on both ends of the court. He has to show he can fit well with the starters, is in shape and still has a strong desire to play.

No. 23 Anthony Davis

Power forward. 6-10. Third season. Kentucky.

2013-14 averages: 20.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks

WHAT HE DOES: Davis led the Pelicans in scoring and rebounding and led the NBA in blocked shots in becoming an All-Star in his second season. If his continued emergence results in the team’s ascent as one of the best in the Western Conference, he’ll be mentioned in MVP conversations.

No. 25 Austin Rivers

Guard. 6-4. Third season. Duke.

2013-14 averages: 7.7 points, 2.3 assists

WHAT HE DOES: Still trying to establish himself, Rivers showed last season he can drive to the basket and was surprisingly effective as a defender. However, this appears to be a make-or-break season, and Rivers needs to improve his outside shooting and free throws and make a bigger impact as he fights for minutes.

No. 32 Jimmer Fredette

Guard. 6-2. Fourth season. Brigham Young.

2013-14 averages: 5.6 points, 1.3 assists

WHAT HE DOES: Fredette was brought in to provide a much-needed second 3-point shooter, and his 40.1 percentage seems to indicate he is up to the task. He could flourish by getting open shots off teammates’ drives and by defending well enough so he can get consistent playing time.

No. 33 Ryan Anderson

Power forward. 6-10. Seventh season. California.

2013-14 averages: 19.8 points, 6.5 rebounds

WHAT HE DOES: Anderson, who missed the rest of last season after a January injury, finished second in the NBA in 3-pointers made in 2012-13 and is also a good rebounder off the bench and the team’s emotional leader. As the only proven volume 3-point shooter, he will be a target of defenses, and how he — and the Pelicans — react bears watching.

No. 42 Alexis Ajinça

Center. 7-2. Fifth season. France.

2013-14 averages: 5.9 points, 4.9 rebounds

WHAT HE DOES: Ajinça brings size, rebounding, shot-blocking and a mid-range jump shot and played with more confidence in practice and preseason games as he has gotten more familiar with the team’s system. The backup center spot is his if he can stay away from fouls, which limited his time and his effectiveness last season.