Thursday, 18 April 2013 11:38
End of New Orleans Hornets era, will Benson find old-Saints in new Pelicans
Written by 

benson-boogie1Today's theme, at least in New Orleans, is out with the old and in with the new. The Hornets lost to the Dallas Mavericks Wednesday night to end a dismal 27-55 season, but on Thursday morning the New Orleans Pelicans are undefeated and looking skyward. At midnight, the Hornets turned into a pumpkin likely to be returned to Charlotte, and Tom Benson's new Pelicans franchise officially opened for business.

Those of us familiar with Benson's purchase of the Saints in 1985 see some juicy similarities between then and when he bought his way into the NBA. When Benson bought the Saints from John Mecom Jr., he kept the football staff, including Coach Bum Phillips, in place until another Bum season led Benson to purge the closet. Benson wasted no time in putting his own team together, hiring Jim Finks shortly before the Super Bowl. Finks hired Jim Mora, Billy Kuharich and an enthusiastic young contracts guy from the NFL Management Council and it was wall-to-wall football in New Orleans. Benson did not have to reach so far in putting together a management team to run the basketball operations, having the luxury of solid leadership in the persons of Mickey Loomis and Dennis Lauscha who are responsible for overseeing GM Dell Demps and Coach Monty Williams.

Having the right management team in place did not mean instant success for the Saints. The team went 7-9 in Mora's first year, but the Saints led in the fourth quarter of four eventual losses. First-year rookies such as Dalton Hilliard, Reuben Mayes, Pat Swilling and Jim Dombrowski matured rapidly the next year joining veterans Bobby Hebert, Eric Martin, Morten Andersen and Stan Brock in a dream 12-3 season and the first playoff appearance in team history.

The first season of Benson's NBA ownership revealed similar flashes of optimism such as the addition of a young franchise player in Anthony Davis and the emergence of solid starters such as Greivis Vasquez and Ryan Anderson. Eric Gordon has the ability, but his injury situation and his attitude are both troubling. His value might come in a trade for a contributing veteran. Austin Rivers is young and might develop into a solid starter, and the team will have another lottery pick in the upcoming draft. An addition such as power forward Anthony Bennett of UNLV could provide another young stud to build around.

The Pelicans probably will go through a season similar to the Saints' first year under Finks and Mora, showing improvement with a record hovering around .500. And then the next year, playoffs and beyond. That was Benson's formula with the Saints, and it would be a good one to replicate with the Pelicans.



His new book, "Where the Water Kept Rising," is now available in local bookstores, at Amazon.com and at his website: www.JWMillerSports.com

Login to post comments
  • Cat Fights on the Hot Cement Confederate New Orleans statues
  • Ex-Saints, Bears, Bills, NFL Exec, Jim W. Miller discusses NFL Draft tomorrow
  • Trump's new plan; Curtains on tax returns release; 40% say Trump-Russia; Probing Obama admin
  • Watch Louisiana Governor Edwards talk about CAT Tax failure

catRarely, have I seen few issues that have generated as much raw heat, tension, and passion than the Confederate monuments controversy. 

Just as existed during the real civil war, where brothers battled brothers, social media is the battleground, particularly Facebook, pitting friend against friend.

On one side of the tense divide, there are those who are protecting the New Orleans civil war era monuments.  Burnt in effigy, forever, is the symbol of Mayor Mitch Landrieu for up-ending what the monument protectors consider to be the loving civil society of New Orleans.

Lately, events have turned somewhat militaristic.

Some protectors of the Confederate monuments have been staying vigilant, in person and online, even surveilling during the wee hours of the morning, waiting for the next Mayor Landrieu attack. On Sunday morning, with protections of snipers, masked workers and a dumbstruck audience, the worst of all of the monuments was cut and carried., the Liberty Monument. 

Read More

miller nfl live2 5It’s D-Day or Draft Day tomorrow in the NFL.

More specifically, Thursday represents the first day of the NFL draft 2017.

Read More

 

trump curtainsThe major President Trump news of the day focuses upon taxes, not only the tax cuts he is proposing but his own taxes, which he obviously, refuses to unveil.

 

Read More

edwards play money 1

At a press conference today, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said the CAT Tax did not pass the House Ways and Means Committee.  The Governor, in addressing the media said that "the fate of that bill was decided long before we unveiled it".

Read More

latter-blum2

Sen. Appel talks budget, economy

TRUMP TALK

Dead Pelican

Optimized-DeadPelican2 1 1