Interestingly enough, they are all members of the New Orleans Pelicans. Unfortunately for the other eight, they were members of the following teams who were bounced in round 1: Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards.
The Pelicans, though, are coming off a blowout win over the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semi Finals, cutting the Warriors’ series lead to 2-1. They were led by monster performances from former Wildcats Anthony Davis (33 points and 18 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (21 assists and 10 rebounds). But first, here are the players who were eliminated in the first round.
- Alex Poythress
- Bam Adebayo
- Dakari Johnson
- Eric Bledsoe
- Jodie Meeks
- John Wall
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Patrick Patterson
Players Left Standing
Davis has been the heart and soul of his Pelicans team this postseason. Following his huge Game 3, he’s now averaging 30.1 points, 12.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks this postseason. Davis has yet again made the case as to why he’s one of the better five players in the Association. His team will need him to play up to par or better in Game 4 if they wish to even the series at 2-2.
Miller has had an unimaginable journey to the NBA. From bouncing from the Pelicans, the Iowa Energy (D-League), Brose Bamberg (Germany) and back to the Pelicans, he has finally found his role in the league. Averaging 5.4 points per game may not seem significant, but shooting over 38% from behind the arc keeps the defense honest and makes life easy on Davis.
Liggins, like Miller, has also bounced around the league. However, instead of just three teams, he’s played for 11 in just seven seasons. Unlike Miller, though, he’s averaging just 1 point per contest and seeing just 6 minutes.
What this team could have been... The Pelicans were looking like a fringe title contender before Cousins went down with a season-ending torn achilles. While the team managed to rally around MVP candidate Anthony Davis, unless you’re Brad Stevens, it’s nearly impossible to replace All-NBA talents. Cousins was averaging 25.2 points and 12.9 rebounds per game before his injury. He had also finally found his niche in a winning system. It will be interesting to see both how the Pelicans fare going forward as well what his future holds this summer when he hits unrestricted free agency.
There isn’t a better fit in the league for Rondo than the Pelicans. Last summer, the team locked up scoring guard Jrue Holiday to a near-max deal. They then added Rondo to shoulder the ball-handling and playmaking duties. It’s no coincidence that Cousins, Davis and Holiday all had arguably their best years as pros. In his 13th season, Rondo is averaging a double-double of 11.4 points and 13.9 assists this postseason. That’s not to mention his defense on Damian Lillard in the first round was at its peak. The Pelicans will need that same mindset from Rondo in Game 4.
Game 4 of the Pelicans’ series with the Warriors is set for Sunday at 3:30 P.M. EDT. The Pelicans will need a repeat of Friday night’s efforts to even the series at 2-2. For more updates on Cats in the NBA, check back with ASeaOfBlue.com.