NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The New Orleans Pelicans are just under a month away from tipping off their season.
After making the NBA playoffs last season and hiring Alvin Gentry as their new head coach, the Pelicans now carry their highest expectations of the Anthony Davis era.
Davis is the face of the franchise, an MVP candidate and a full out star.
"That whole locker room and this whole coaching staff is excited. This city is excited," Davis said. "Hopefully, we can keep this thing going, and do the same as last year, but a little better."
But the addition of Alvin Gentry, who helped Golden State win it all, and his up-tempo style of play is what the Pelicans believe will lead them to the next level.
"I wanted the team back together, I saw potential, I think this team has great depth," Gentry said. "These guys truly believe that they should have had an opportunity to be in the playoffs. But they went into it, thinking they could win the series and that's the first battle you have to overcome."
The team brought back nearly its entire roster from last year, saying continuity and team chemistry are crucial. The players held their own workouts this summer and cannot wait to get started.
Both Gentry and General Manager Dell Demps are preaching a sense of desperation and urgency to begin camp, and if the team maintains that throughout the season, they can compete for a championship.
"On paper at least, it looks good. But that's going to be key to us also is that how do we handle the expectations, the praise, the pats on the back, the blue collar mentality, because that's when I thought we were at best, playing with urgency and desperation," Demps said. "Sometimes it got ugly and scrappy, but that's going to be important to us, focusing on the task."
The Pelicans leave Monday for camp in West Virginia at the Greenbrier, just like the Saints.
Point guard Jrue Holiday will be on a minutes-restriction to start the year, but says he is pain free, and overall the Pelicans are hoping for an injury-free campaign.
The regular season tips off Oct. 27 for the Pelicans. They face the defending NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors.