NEW ORLEANS - The New Orleans Pelicans opened training camp Tuesday, surrounded by new logos, colors and training facilities. But the most important change for this team is its upgraded roster, including guard Tyreke Evans, guard Jrue Holiday and center Greg Stiemsma.
"Just from right now, if you ask me to compare it to last year, it's two totally different teams," guard Austin Rivers said. "But that doesn't mean anything unless we show it on the floor. In reality, we have to win games. We could have a way better team and still have the same record. We've got to put it on the floor."
This re-tooled team has already been working to achieve that for the past month during voluntary workouts, in which the majority of the team has participated. Now, with a week of two-a-day practices ahead, they'll officially start putting the pieces together.
"Even after just one practice today, you can already see how many weapons we have. It's ridiculous," Rivers said. "It's hard to get a stop just during drills. Just go down the list: guys can score at every angle."
On this first day of training camp however, Coach Monty Williams never mentioned offense, true to form. Defense was the sole point of emphasis.
"It was a hard practice. Really intense. A lot of teaching. A lot of confusion," Williams said. "It was physical, and guys went hard. We went longer than I thought we would, but we had a lot to teach. There's a lot of stuff we want to get in. They're overloaded right now, but it's just going to help us in the long run."
Everyone on the roster is healthy, including forward Jason Smith, who's coming off surgery for a torn labrum, and guard Eric Gordon, who received final medical clearance just a few days ago.
Gordon is now ramping up into full "basketball shape," according to Williams. Don't expect Gordon to go hard or play much during the upcoming pre season games, which begin Saturday.
"If I had to put a time on it, I would say in another two weeks he'll be ready to play in a game," Williams said.
Williams does expect Gordon to be 100 percent for the start of the regular season.
"I do. I really do. I think he'll be more than ready for the opener," Williams said. "There's a part of me that I have to push to make sure he's doing the things necessary to not work at his pace, but work at the pace I think he needs to work at to be ready.
Williams will consult with Gordon's doctors and the team training staff to make sure Gordon doesn't push too hard too quickly. Williams does not want Gordon re-injuring himself and only being available for intermittent games, as was the case last season.
The Pelicans go on the road to face the Houston Rockets Saturday in what will be the first measuring stick for how much better this team really is – or is not.
Sign up for emails from FOX 8 Live
Get news and forecasts from FOX 8 delivered to your inbox by signing up for the lists below.
Police say a woman is dead and her mother is injured is injured following an incident in Destrehan. Officers were called to the 300 block of Madewood Drive in Ormond Estates around 9 a.m. Wednesday morning. Amore>>
A neighbor tells police that a resident of the home walked across the street, bloody, and handed her a note saying she needed police.
Wednesday, July 30 2014 9:12 PM EDT2014-07-31 01:12:13 GMT
The tattoo has not previously been seen widely by the public because cameras are not allowed inside Indiana courtrooms. The Indiana Office of the Courts released the photo on July 30 as part of evidence logged in by police and presented to the court by the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office.more>>
The tattoo has not previously been seen widely by the public because cameras are not allowed inside Indiana courtrooms. The Indiana Office of the Courts released the photo on July 30 as part of evidence logged in by police and presented to the court by the Floyd County Prosecutor's Office.
Saturday, July 26 2014 2:09 PM EDT2014-07-26 18:09:07 GMT
A mysterious 'Woman in Black' has been spotted around the Tri-State in recent days, causing social media to erupt with questions about her identity. According to WATE in Tennessee, the Sullivan Countymore>>
A mysterious 'Woman in Black' has been spotted around the Tri-State in recent days, causing social media to erupt with questions about her identity.more>>
How good is Drew Brees? This good. A Vine post of Drew Brees ‘skeet shooting' is possibly the most impressive thing to come out of Saints Training Camp yet. Brees shows off his incredible accuracy bymore>>
A Terrebone Parish woman has been arrested, accused of raping a young boy she used to babysit. Officers say that 23-year-old Denise Lapeyrouse, of Dulac, was arrested on aggravated rape charges. Investigatorsmore>>
A Terrebonne Parish woman has been arrested, accused of raping a young boy she used to babysit.more>>
Fox 8 WVUE-TV
Louisiana Media Company, LLC.
1025 S. Jefferson Davis Parkway
New Orleans, LA 70125