As we do around here more often than not, Hot Hot Hoops caught up with fellow SBN site, The Bird Writes, in preparation for Heat and Pelicans. I chatted with their site manager @Rohan_Cruyff and below is our exchange.
1. Anthony Davis is having a stellar year averaging 21.4 PPG and 10.4 RPG. What do you think his ceiling is in the NBA? Could he me an MVP candidate at some point?
Davis' ceiling for me is best player in the league, following the end of LeBron James' reign. He brings far, far more to the defensive end than someone like Kevin Durant as an outstanding rim protector, low-rate fouler, and perimeter on-ball defender. On offense, he's already outstandingly versatile and efficient. I think we're right on the cusp of "at some point" this season itself; he's just a notch below Durant and James in terms of meriting consideration this year at age 21, and he'll surely be there next season if healthy.
2. The Pelicans are out of the West playoff race. What types of changes do they need to make to get in the hunt next year?
Far and away, they just need better injury luck. The quartet of Holiday/Gordon/Anderson/Davis has been very, very good on the floor together, but it just hasn't happened enough. With those guys healthy next year and the team finally figuring out how to use Tyreke (play with him quality shooters), they should be right back in the mix.
3. Anthony Davis is good, but the Pelicans are not a top tier rebounding team, in what ways do you expect them to give the Heat problems?
Davis is already obviously a very tough guard, but I think the Pelicans in general have presented an underratedly tough challenge for defenses through the year. Miami will need to watch for New Orleans in transition, with both Evans and Davis often looking for it this season.
4. LeBron James is always the top priority in every scouting report against the Heat. What will the Pelicans do to keep James from getting what he wants?
I wish I could respond more positively here, but Monty Williams' defense has struggled against middling opposition, let alone the league's best. James will likely be matched up with Al-Farouq Aminu, but New Orleans hasn't been great in help schemes against anybody. So James should have his full arsenal ready to go to -- passing, shooting, driving, whatever it is.
5. What's your prediction for the game?
Heat by 13, but a nice double-double night for Anthony Davis.